HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ --  Question: The island of Santorini is one of the more popular vacation spots of this country along the Mediterranean.

Answer: Greece.

That was the winning answer of Hasbrouck Heights Middle School student Matthew Fermin took first place in sixth round the Fifth Annual Hasbrouck Heights Middle School Geography Bee at Kiefer Auditorium. This is the first time in the Bee's history that a sixth grader has won. All previous winners have been seventh graders.

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Aditya Vij came in second place and Dylan Fermin, Matthew's twin brother, finished third place. 

Hasbrouck Heights Middle School principal Joseph Mastropietro welcomed the parents to evening and congratulated the students for qualifying.

"Remember to have fun and try your best," he told the students. "I would like to congratulate each of you for participating in tonight's Bee. Please remember that you are all top achievers."

Mastropietro introduced the judges for the Geography Bee, including Jesse Coffey, middle school writing teacher, Pat Caruso, Hasbrouck Heights Board of Education trustee, Mimi Hui, Director of the Hasbrouck Heights Library, and social studies teacher and Geography Club advisor James Muska. He also recognized teachers Eileen Drago and Zachary Cocozzo, and vice principal Frank D'Amico, who were in attendance.

The topics included the United States (states, capitals, landmarks, mountains, lakes), Europe (countries, capitals, landmarks, rivers), Asia, South America, and Miscellaneous. Students qualified the same way that they did with the spelling bee, through a pretest given in social studies classes.

Mastropietro shared some fun facts about the Geography Bee:

  • There have been four seventh grade winners of the Geography Bee;
  • Six of the eight Spelling Bee winners have been female; a female has never won the Geography Bee;
  • Last year's winner, Ryan Hopson was again on stage;
  • The brother of the Geography Bee's very first winner, Tanner Hansen in 2016, Trey Hansen was competing.
  • Three students Wednesday night has qualified for the Geography Bee all three years in middle school: Ryan Hopson, Patrick Lambe, and Diego Mancini.

Here is a complete list of qualifying students:

Dylan Fermin
Matthew Fermin
Ryan McGurran
Brooke Maddalena
Paul Mosheqaj
Pavitra Patel
Clara Pietri-Munoz

Aditya Vij
Olivia Bates
Tommy Nilaj
Trey Hansen
Luis Ndocaj
Jaeden Sanchez
Joseph Russo
Alyssa Riedweg
Leah Kest

Ryan Hopson* (Last year's winner)
Patrick Lambe
Diego Mancini
Madison Natoli


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