SPARTA, NJ – The Sparta Middle School Geography Bee Champion has been named.  Rising to the top through preliminary and top ten rounds of competition, Ian Bellush took the top spot, on January 24, 2020.

After preliminary rounds in which all of the sixth, seventh and eighth grade students participated, the top ten students were chosen. The top 10 were:

  • Bellush,
  • Nate Rogoff,
  • Vaiden Pollard,
  • Luke Johnston,
  • Tyler Harms,
  • Charlie Canzoniero,
  • Charlie Diamond,
  • Mathew Vassalo,
  • Ben Dykstra and
  • Christian Layman

This is not the end of the road for Bellush.  According to teacher Cherie Shefferman, Bellush will represent Sparta Middle School in an online test for the next round.  The top 100 scorers from the online test for each state will then move to the national championship.

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Should Bellush qualify for the next round, he will get an all-expense paid trip to participate in the GeoBee national championship in the spring of this year.  At that level, students compete for cash prizes, scholarships and an all expense paid Linblad expedition to the Galapagos Island aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II. 

According to Shefferman, in addition to the GeoBee, National Geographic also offers classroom resources, student experiences and professional development opportunities for educators.

Each year at Sparta Middle School, Shefferman organizes the bee, Principal Mike Gregory and Assistant Principals Brad Davis and Frank Ciaburri help as judges. Eighth grade social studies teacher Bob Gilmartin serves as the host.