Kate Ireland ’05 Captures 2005 GeograBee Crown

Farsi is a language primarily spoken in what country? If you were in Chicago, Illinois, would you be closer to the Tropic of Capricorn, the Tropic of Cancer, the equator, or the Arctic Circle? These questions (the answers to which are Iran and the Tropic of Cancer, respectively) and many others were posed to Phillips Academy students at the eighth annual GeograBee. After the qualifying rounds held in school dormitories and cluster finals held during last week’s cluster munches, the six finalists, Connor McKinnon ’08 (Day Student representative), Dawson Gage ’06 (Pineknoll representative), Cecile Yu ’07 (Abbott representative), Ben Schley ’08 (West Quad South representative), Katherine Ireland ’05 (Flagstaff representative), and Prateek Kumar ’07 (West Quad North representative), squared off against each other last Monday evening in Commons at the GeograBee finals. After a heated preliminary round, the GeograBee headed into the final five questions with three contestants within three points of each other. Coming in first was Flagstaff Cluster representative Kate Ireland with 20 points. Day Student representative Connor McKinnon was able to answer the final question correctly to seal his second place finish with a score of 15 points. Dawson Gage finished third with 14 points, Cecile Yu fourth with 11 points, Prateek Kumar fifth with 10 points, and Ben Schley sixth with three points. Winner Katherine Ireland received a $100 check from the school, as well as a framed globe with her name engraved on it. Runner-up Connor McKinnon received a $50 check, and third place finisher Dawson Gage received $25. “I definitely did not expect to win,” said Ireland after her victory, “I was surprised to even get to the cluster round.” Ireland added, “It was pretty nerve-wracking up there with all the buzzers and the competition.” Ireland attributes her victory to her love for travel, as well as to the importance her family places on education while traveling. “I love to travel, and I’ve always been interested in learning about other cultures and countries,” she said. “My family really believes in the importance of travel as an education, so whenever we travel, we always end up learning a lot along the way.” Faculty Emeritus Hal McCann and Nels Frye ’99 introduced the GeograBee to Phillips Academy in 1996, and Phillips Academy held its first annual GeograBee in 1997. The questions come from books, internet resources, magazines, and other reputable reference materials. To receive the full three points issued for a correct answer, the contestant must press a buzzer and then respond with the correct answer to the question. Incorrect answers resulted in a one point deduction from the contestant’s score. If a contestant answered incorrectly, the remaining contestants had the opportunity to buzz in and respond until someone answered correctly. The audience had the opportunity to guess the answer if none of the contestants was able to answer the question correctly. History and Social Sciences Department Chair Victor Henningsen read the questions, and Dean of Community and Multicultural Development Bobby Edwards kept score. GeograBee Coordinator and International Student Coordinator Aya Murata commented, “I think that the GeograBee is important because much attention is given to world geography these days, as well as the fact that it is the only opportunity for cross-campus academic competition.”