Two local middle school students will head to Western Oregon University next month to participate in Oregon's state-level National Geographic Bee, having won out in their school bees and the qualifying test that followed.
Daniel Stockton, an eighth-grader at Logos Public Charter School, and Cole Shiffer, who attends Cascade Christian Middle School as a seventh-grader, are representing Southern Oregon at the state competition.
The students' teachers said they are thrilled to see the boys' success in getting to the state level.
"It’s just neat for our students to have the opportunity to test themselves against not only the other students in the school, but also the ones they’re not seeing on a regular basis in the district," said Emily Swift, events coordinator at Logos.
Both Daniel's and Cole's moms said their sons displayed interest in history and geography long before competing in a geography bee for the first time this year.
"He reads constantly," said Michelle Stockton about Daniel. "And he's always looking up places in the books that he’s reading."
Robyn Schiffer, Cole's mother, said her son's geography class at Cascade Christian, in which teacher Debby Swope tells stories about the places they study, also helped him practice and memorize information.
"He remembers really quickly, so those stories really stick in his mind," she said.
Both students have previously competed in academic challenges such as Brain Bowl, where teams win by giving the fastest answers to questions about various subjects.
Daniel said he doesn't have any set expectations about his success in the state geography competition.
"I just want to enjoy myself while I’m there," he said.
To celebrate the event's 30th anniversary, National Geographic will double the cash prize for the top three students in each state. State champions will receive $200 and the National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World, 2nd Edition. They'll also go on a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship, to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters May 20-23. Students finishing second in state will receive $150, and the third-place prize will be $100.
— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at 541-776-4497 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ka_tornay.