NORMAN — Those who have ever watched “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader” know America’s youth aren’t dummies. They are much smarter then video game, couch potato stereotypes might have one think.
Friday, young geography whizzes across the United States and U.S. territories participated in state-level Geographic Bees and competed for a spot in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee.
Oklahoma competitors, fourth-eighth grade, gathered at the University of Oklahoma’s Memorial Union and proved that Oklahoma is up on geographic knowledge. Billy Rodely, director of communications at Cassidy Financial Group, moderated the final round of competition and Dr. Mark Micozzi, East Central University, served as head judge. There were three rounds of competition. Questions ranged from knowing a county’s bordering states to identifying countries based on historical facts.
After a full day of competition that came down to the question, “What Sea in the Artic Ocean separates the Taimyr Peninsula from the Novaya Zemlya archipelago?” Aniket Dehadrai answered “Kara Sea” and won the state title for the Oklahoma State Level National Geographic Bee.
First place winner Dehadrai is an eighth-grader at Whittier Middle School. He is the son of Gautam and Pallavi Dehadrai.
Jan Filbeck, sixth grade social studies teacher at Whittier Middle School, introduced the idea of the Geographic Bee to Dehadrai, who competed in his sixth and seventh grade competitions but never made it to the state level until this year.
Friday’s competition was tough even for the state champion, and Dehadrai said the last question was particularly difficult.
“I was divided between the White Sea and the Kara Sea, and I marked out the White Sea at the last moment,” Dehadrai said.
Dehadrai also competes in math competitions and will head to the National Math Counts competition in Orlando, Fla., in May. Additionally, Dehadrai competes with his school’s academic team and was named MVP at the seventh and eighth grade academic team state competition this year.