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3 BCS Students Head to State GeoBee
3 BCS Students Head to State GeoBee
Posted on 03/15/2019
Ethan Walls (left) of Valley Springs Middle School, Agnes Calloway (center) of North Buncombe Middle School, and Abi Kaufman (right) of Clyde A. Erwin Middle School.By Tim Reaves
BCS Communications Department

Global education, a BCS priority, has paid off well for three middle school students who made it into the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee North Carolina State Competition.

Abi Kaufman, of Clyde A Erwin Middle; Ethan Walls, of Valley Springs Middle; and Agnes Calloway, of North Buncombe Middle, are semifinalists in the state competition, which takes place on Friday, March 29. Teachers describe them as curious, driven students.

“I like to know stuff about everything,” Kaufman said. “I have very supportive parents and enthusiastic teachers. I’m nervous about the competition, but I’m gonna study a lot.”

“I’ve always been fascinated with geography and history, but I never thought I would be able to accomplish this,” Walls said. “I’m proud.”

"My fifth grade social studies teacher Ms. Cripps from North Windy Ridge taught us a lot of geography and it was pretty fun," Calloway said. "That's what first got me interested."

School GeoBees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion.

Preparation requires college-level focus and work ethic, Walls said. 

"You study alone, using books, online links, whatever you can find," he said.

And it's complicated, Kaufman added. Geography is more than countries and capitals.

"You have to know about tourism sectors, the output of rivers, what the economy is like in different parts of countries," she said. "It's a lot."

The three BCS students, along with other school champions, took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools, and U.S. territories to compete in the State GeoBees.

State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 in cash, and other prizes, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 19-22, 2019. Students that come in second and third place will receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively.

View the complete list of North Carolina winners.

Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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