GRANGEVILLE – It was the second time that was definitely a charm for two Grangeville students last week.
On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Sts. Peter and Paul student Jack Bransford and Grangeville Elementary Middle School’s Cole Ruklic each took their school’s National Geographic Bee championships for the second year in a row.
Students at each school in grades four through eight participated in classroom bees until 10 schoolwide finalists were left.
At SPPS, fourth graders Syringa Wells Sanford, Elijah Miller and Kalli Klement; fifth grader Madison Pardue; sixth graders Parker Garmin, Cressis Holes and Siena Wagner; seventh graders Cody Klement and Bransford; and eighth grader Diego Ramirez all qualified.
SPPS went through three rounds before Bransford was declared champion. Ramirez took second place and Holes third.
Questions ranged from an array of those on state capitals to world geography questions including clues laced with information on skiing, mountain formations and explorers.
At GEMS, the top 10 finalists were sixth graders Keri Musick and Kieran Gallagher; seventh grade students Ben Lindsey, Karl Spencer and Tyler Zechmann; and eighth graders Kaylee “Bob” Sullivan, Elvis Hooper, Natalie Long, Shea Morris and Ruklic.
It took eight rounds to get to the championships where Spencer ended up in third place before Zechmann and Ruklic went head to head.
After three challenging championship round questions where each young man missed one, the tie breaker question was “What is the Norwegian term for a long, narrow sea inlet carved out by a glacier?” Ruklic answered correctly with “fjord.”
New to the bee this year was a critical thinking/explanatory question using a map of the fictional town called “Neuville.” Participants had to decide, based only on the map and their own knowledge, where to best locate a community garden.
For the Ruklic family, this year’s event draws to an end about eight years of attending the geography bee. Sons Ryan and Owen also competed.
“But only Cole has won,” smiled Karen Ruklic.
Both Bransford and Ruklic will now take a computerized geography test along with other school level winners throughout the state of Idaho. From there, the top 10 percent will be invited to take part in the state bee in Boise this spring.