FLORHAM PARK, NJ- Florham Park’s Board of Education meeting was the site of some very happy students who were recognized for their efforts in the National Geographic Bee.

The National Geographic Bee is open to students grades four through eight in schools all across the United States. The bee got its start in 1989 and is sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The society has been a force for exploring the planet and protecting its wildlife for over a century. One of the maxims of the organization is to make sure that our grade school students are geographically literate and this competition is one of their greatest tools to do just that.

“We just wanted to take time today to recognize the students that participated in the National Geographic Bee,” began Supervisor of Curriculum and instruction, Brian Silkensen. “None of the time studied was spent in school. It was all done out of school. All of the students took time out of their schedule to do this and we wanted to recognize everyone.”

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This is a particularly important recognition as it awards those students whose appetite for knowledge extends beyond the classroom. Each student that competed gave time they could have used for sporting events, homework or just time playing in order to master the material necessary to succeed in the competition. This is no small feat for fourth through eighth graders and in and of itself is an effort worthy of praise.

Brooklake School held their competition in December and Ridgedale recently completed their own in January. The winner of each school competition took an additional online test that will hopefully see the two compete at the state level competition held in Trenton. The first place winners were Andrew Modrowsky for Ridgedale Middle School and Brooklake School’s Adam Haydoutov.

The two will hope to make it through the state competition to the national stage in Washington, D.C. this May. The first place student in the nation receives a $50,000 college scholarship and is inducted as a lifetime member in the National Geographic Society. Since 2016, the national champion also is awarded with sights of Southeastern Alaska on a trip for two that includes Glacier Bay National Park.