Alice Early wins GA Geo Bee


By Rob Adams

Sentinel Broadcasting Manager/Reporter

When a student takes the SAT test, it is often said they get points just for writing their name.

By the same logic, a student should get credit for simply finding their way to participating in a geography bee.

Alice Early didn’t just get to the bee. She won the Greenwich Academy middle school bee. Alice, a fifth grader at GA, has earned a chance to take a test to see if she can qualify for the state bee, with a goal of $50,000 scholarship from National Geographic.

The national bee will be held May 15 to 17 at the National Geographic Society Headquarters in Washington, DC. Twelve-year-old Rishi Nair of Florida took the top honor in 2016 when he answered that the Galapagos Islands is the archipelago that a new marine sanctuary will be built on to protect sharks and other wildlife around Isla Wolf.

In other words, not simply asking what the capital of Connecticut is.

Alice, the daughter of Joe and Angela Early of Greenwich, said it was an exciting experience.

“It was my first ‘Geo Bee,’” she said. “It was pretty stressful since the questions were so varied. While I was glad to have done well, I was more excited that it was over.”

How excited was Alice to have it over? She remembers that the Red Sea was the winning answer, but chuckles as she says she doesn’t remember the question.

Alice credited her teacher at GA for pointing her in the right direction.

“In my social studies class, we are all given an atlas for school assignments,” she said. “Mrs. Popescu, my social studies teacher, really likes geography and is in charge of the Geo Bee at GA.”

Alice and her family, including her brother Quinn, moved to Greenwich from Vermont in 2015, where Alice only participated in spelling bees.

“Both bees are challenging,” she said, comparing geography to spelling. “The spelling bee was based on spelling lists, which I could study at home. The Geo Bee was simply the whole world. There wasn’t much to do except hope I know the question I was being asked.”

According to National Geographic, 11,000 schools will participate in the Geo Bee, with students in grades four through eight eligible. Schools pay an entry fee of to be a part of the bee, though National Geographic does say that financial support is also available. Last year’s bee included participants from all 50 states, as well as Atlantic and Pacific territories. The final round aired on the National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, and other local public channels.

In all, nearly three million students took part in the bee.

Back in the southwest corner of Connecticut, Greenwich’s own Alice Early hopes to visit Washington, DC later in 2017, with the hope of winning that national title. Her family recently went to the Nation’s Capital to see the various monuments, memorials, and museums.

Those tired legs paid off with the knowledge of places far and wide, and the pride of her parents and brother.

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