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Mill Creek Elementary student advances to state geography competition

Having placed first at the classroom and first in the regional competition, Mill Creek Elementary School student Sorin Bulgannawar advances to the Washington State National Geographic GeoBee competition to be held on March 27, 2020.
From left to right: Andy (Ji Hoon) Park, Sorin Bulgannawar, and Maddy Swanson. Photo courtesy of Everett School District.

From a March 9, 2020, Everett Public Schools news release.

The National Geographic GeoBee is a rigorous academic competition challenging students in grades four through eight (4 – 8) to learn and apply geography concepts.

Mill Creek Elementary School was one of the 10,000 schools that competed nationwide.  

Through a generous grant from the Everett Pubic Schools Foundation and the support of Principal Brenda Fuglevand, students in Emily Brunswick-Nelson’s 4/5 Highly Capable classroom were able to purchase study resources and pay the entry fees for the competition.

The rigorous competition tests students’ knowledge of both the United States as well as the world. Students compete in seven rounds of questions before moving to the semifinals.

At the classroom level, three students were selected as first, second and third place winners.

Student Maddy Swanson said, “It was hard to answer seven rounds of questions, but I felt more relaxed as each round passed.”

Swanson finished third in the classroom competition behind Andy Park, who finished second.

Placing first at the classroom level and first in the regional competition, Sorin Bulgannawar stated, “I felt so happy, I could cry, and I did!”

Fellow student Sherry Zhu commented that they were tears of joy.

The competition takes months of preparation and studying both in and out of class for students to learn the materials necessary to be competitive.

Brunswick-Nelson added, “I am proud of the determination students show in learning the complex material over the few short months of preparation.”

She went on to say, “The National Geographic GeoBee teaches students so much more than geography. Through the competition, students learn about persevering in difficult subjects, utilizing deductive reasoning skills and applying critical thinking when evaluating answers.”

As for the next step, Bulgannawar will advance to the March 27th state competition.

He will compete as one of the top 100 ranked students in Washington state, which has been switched to an online format ensuring all qualifiers have a safe and fair opportunity.

The designated state champion from each state will advance to the National Championship and compete for cash awards and college scholarships.

Bulgannawar is nervous about the next step but he is most excited about the chance to compete nationally.

Assuredly, his teacher and classmates will be cheering for him throughout the entire process.