And then there were two.
Ten of Friday Harbor Middle School’s best and brightest geography students took center stage Tuesday with the school’s annual Geo Bee title up for grabs.
The student body, assembled for the competition, buzzed with anticipation. The winner earns a chance to compete with middle-school champions from across the state for the 2009 state title, as well as an opportunity to represent Washington state at the finals of the National Geographic Society’s annual Geography Bee in Washington, D.C.
It may seem like a Mount Everest-sized obstacle to scale. But that trail has been blazed for local geography buffs by Friday Harbor’s Zachary Reshovsky. Zachary, a four-time state qualifier, won the state competition this past spring, qualifying as an eighth-grader at Griffin Bay School, and then competed at the nation’s capitol in the national Geo Bee finals.
Tuesday, the field of 10 competitors had been whittled down to two after four rounds of questioning. Seventh-grader Kasey Rasmussen was greeted by thundering applause three questions later as she slipped past eighth-grade challenger Nicholas Falls in the finale, answering one of the three questions correctly, to take home the title for the second straight year.
Kasey, daughter of Kris and Scott Rasmussen of Friday Harbor, won the competition a year ago in becoming the first-ever sixth-grade middle school Geo Bee champion.
This is the sixth year Friday Harbor’s middle and elementary schools have participated in the National Geo Bee. The finals at the elementary school will be conducted Dec. 18. The Geo Bee competition is open to students ages 8-14.
To qualify for the state competition, Kasey, as well as the elementary school champ, must still take a written test and score among the top 100 in the state to secure a slot. It’s a feat, however, that Kasey, along with Zach, accomplished a year ago.