October 21, 2021

Eighth-grader from Homer set for GeoBee

Destination: 42.7 degrees N, -73.8 degrees E*

Catherine Wilde/contributing photographer

Randolph “Nik” Kruman, an eighth grader at Homer Junior High School, looks at a map last week. He made it to the state semifinals for the National Geographic GeoBee, scheduled for March 29 in Albany.

Eighth-grader Randolph “Nik” Kruman is both nervous and excited about being a finalist for a state-level geography bee competition next week.

On March 29, the Homer Junior High School student will go to Albany where he will face off against other top-scoring students in the state for the state National Geographic GeoBee competition.

Kruman is the only student from the greater Cortland area to go, with the next closest districts that are sending students being Ithaca and Marcellus, according to National Geographic.

The winner will go on to the national competition, but Kruman is mostly looking to have fun.

“I’m really glad I could do this and I want to have a fun time,” Kruman said.

To get to the second level state competition, students had to outperform their classmates in a school-level competition then take an online qualifying test, which was submitted to the National Geographic Society.

Kruman did all that and found out last week he was accepted to the state semi-finals — news that excited both him and his family.

Test yourself

Here are the types of questions asked in the National Geographic Geography Bee:
Which state is closer to the Gulf of Mexico — Virginia or Arkansas?

It takes about 90 days for a drop of water to travel the length of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River starts in Minnesota and flows 2,340 miles south to its outlet in which state — Louisiana or South Carolina?

The Magdalena River, the principal river of Colombia, flows through the city of Barranquilla near the Caribbean Sea on which continent?
South America

Which animal famous for its tusk spends most of the winter months under the sea ice in Baffin Bay between Canada and Greenland — emperor penguin or narwhal?

Which country does not include part of the Kalahari Desert — Namibia, Botswana, or Eritrea?

Constructed during the reign of Ivan the Terrible, St. Basil’s Cathedral is located in Moscow in which country?

The Alboran Sea and the Ionian Sea are both part of which larger sea?
Mediterranean Sea

SOURCE: 2019 National Geographic GeoBee New York State competition press release

Van Kruman, Nik Kruman’s father, said he was proud when he heard his son had made it to the state competition.

“He’s a real studious guy,” said Van Kruman, adding his son excels at history, geography, “everything.”

History has always been Nik Kruman’s favorite subject.

“It’s just really cool to see how our world ended up this way,” he said. That’s why he joined the school history club in the fourth grade, which got him into geography.

He also plays soccer and tennis.

Kruman will study maps and review geography with his friends who are also interested in geography.
He will focus on an area that he’s not so strong in: “certain cities and their economies and what they produce and things like that.”

The National Geographic Society developed the GeoBee in 1988, a release states. It’s an academic competition for students in grades four to eight and nearly 10,000 schools participate annually.

This year, state champions will receive a medal, $1,000 and other prizes, as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., for the national championship May 19 to 22 at National Geographic Society headquarters.

Second- and third-place winners will receive $300 and $100, respectively.

Homer Junior High School Principal Kara Schneider said Kruman, who also participated in the recent 55th annual spelling bee for Cortland County sixth, seventh and eighth graders — is a good student with a passion for competitions.

“He’s just a go-getter, he is going to try different experiences and demonstrate his knowledge,” Schneider said.

* Albany, NY