Student wins national geography bee with Harry Potter question

Base Info
Gwendolyn Baxter-Oakley, principal of Arnn ES, congratulates Rushton Kovaleski, fifth grader and winner of the 27th annual school-level National Geography Bee, held at Arnn ES Jan. 14 inside the school's library. (U.S. Army photo by Candateshia Pafford)
Gwendolyn Baxter-Oakley, principal of Arnn ES, congratulates Rushton Kovaleski, fifth grader and winner of the 27th annual school-level National Geography Bee, held at Arnn ES Jan. 14 inside the school's library. (U.S. Army photo by Candateshia Pafford)

Student wins national geography bee with Harry Potter question

by: Candateshia Pafford, U.S. Army Garrison Japan Public Affairs | .
U.S. Army | .
published: January 23, 2016

CAMP ZAMA, Japan --"Harry catches the train to Hogwarts, at King's Cross Station, in what major European city?"

"London," Rushton Kovaleski, fifth-grader at Arnn Elementary School, bravely shouts out for the win!

Who knew details from the famous J. K. Rowling's series, "Harry Potter," would gain one student the chance of advancing to compete on the state-level and possible national-level geography bee?

Rushton, along with 10 other students, including one alternate, participated in the 27th annual school-level National Geography Bee Jan. 14 held inside the school's library.

"I liked the questions; it came down to the end... the one question I guessed on and got it right because I thought -when watching Harry Potter- I saw Big Ben in the background; so I guessed London, and it was right," said Rushton.

The 10 finalists and one alternate student from Arnn's fourth through sixth grade had about one month to study geography bee packets sponsored by the National Geographic Bee Society.

Rushton said he prepared by looking in his geography bee books, using the packets and study-guides while studying with his sister, who also participated in the geography bee.

"I studied weeks for this," said Josue Santana, fifth grader and second place finisher.

Josue said he thinks the questions were not too hard, except for the ones he didn't get correctly, of course.

The overall competition consisted of three six-question preliminary rounds and a championship round, which was broadcast live in the classrooms allowing fellow classmates the opportunity to cheer on the finalists.

Ben Greenman, literacy support specialist at Arnn ES, said events like geography bees are ways the school systems can measure how well-rounded students are.

"Our students here in DoDEA [Department of Defense Education Activity] are worldwide citizens," said Greenman.

Many of the students have background knowledge and experiences from some of the places mentioned in the geography bee, he continued.

"Every student that qualified today- it shows them that they can be successful," said Greenman.

"Students are able to build their confidence and showcase their talents in areas they are very interested in," said Gwendolyn Baxter-Oakley, principal of Arnn ES.

"Some of the questions were really hard, and when you have so much to study for, you never know what will be asked," she said.

"The students did very well; they were fabulous."

Rushton will take a test to qualify for the state competition, and if he succeeds, he will qualify of the national competition, which will be held in Washington, D.C.

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