Rowan to host state finals of National Geographic Bee

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For the second consecutive year, Rowan University will host the state's top young geographers in the New Jersey finals of the National Geographic Bee.

For the second consecutive year, Rowan University will host the state's top young geographers in the New Jersey finals of the National Geographic Bee.

The state finals, which will be held on Friday, April 1, in Boyd Recital Hall (Wilson Hall), will include 103 students from throughout the state. Preliminary rounds will be held in classrooms of Wilson Hall starting at 10:30 a.m. The final round begins at 12:30 p.m. in Boyd Recital Hall. The final round is free and open to the public.

The National Geographic Bee is open to fourth- through eighth-grade students in participating American schools.

The winner of the state competition will advance to the national finals May 24-25 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek will moderate the finals. The state winner also receives $100 and a copy of the "National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World."

Zachary Moore, assistant professor of geography in the University's College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, has worked to bring the bee to Rowan the past two years. A 2006-07 Grosvenor Scholar for the National Geographic Education Foundation in Washington, D.C., Moore will be assisted by a cadre of 25 dedicated Rowan student volunteers who will help handle on-campus logistics for the day.

The bee has seen an increase in local participants this year, which Moore believes is due to Rowan's involvement.

"We have more student participants from South Jersey in the bee this year than in past years," says Moore. "We'd love to see New Jersey bring the national championship home this year."

Rowan History Professor Bill Carrigan will serve as the moderator for the final round, while University faculty members will serve as readers for the bee's preliminary rounds.

South Jersey participants include: Scott Brice of Bordentown Regional Middle School, Bordentown; John Lorenz of Resurrection Catholic School, Cherry Hill; Zachary Umstead of Cinnaminson Middle School, Cinnaminson; Michael Rozanski of St. Michael The Archangel School in Clayton; Thomas Van Veldhuisen of North Burlington County Regional in Columbus; Brendan Ruskey of Hartford Upper Elementary School, Mount Laurel; Jason Thorpe of Orchard Valley Middle School, Sewell; Donald Carter of Thomas Wallace Middle School, Vineland; Luis Enriquez of Pleastantville Middle School, Pleasantville; and Kyle Bright of Gateway Regional High School, Woodbury Heights.

A New Jersey student last won the national title in 1996.

For information on the National Geographic Bee, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee/.

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