Chandra ’10 Takes First Place in 2007 Phillips Academy Geograbee

In Andover’s 11th annual Geograbee, Krishnan Chandra ’10 held onto a commanding lead throughout. Other finalists included Jim Elder ’07, Colleen Thurman ’07, Carly Villareal ’07, Sara Wallace ’08, and Ben Elder ’09, who was last year’s runner-up after narrowly losing to Andy Zhou ’09 in overtime. Hosted by the office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD) and conducted in quiz-bowl format, the final competition was moderated by Peter Drench, History Department Chair, while Marc Koolen, Biology Department Chair, kept score. Three points were awarded for a correct answer and one was subtracted for an incorrect answer. When none of the contestants could answer the warm-up question—how many counties are in the state of New Jersey—5th grader Cooper Hurley, son of Dale and Elizabeth Hurley, answered correctly from the audience amid cheers and whistles. After the comedic warm-up round, Chandra took a controlling lead that he maintained for the rest of the competition. Ben Elder was shaky at first after buzzing in prematurely and answering incorrectly, but he was quick with his buzzer later in the competition and answered many tough questions correctly. His performance propelled him to second place with 18 points while Villareal came in third with 11. Nevertheless, Chandra outdistanced all competition with a total of 38 points and answered only one question incorrectly. He received $100 and a framed map that will be hung in the day student lockers while Elder received $50 and Villareal, $25. When asked about his thoughts on the new champion, Drench said, “Krishnan is very good and he’s only a Junior. By the time he’s a senior, he could be the king of geography!” Chandra is a three-time Massachusetts Geography Bee winner and in the 2006 National Geographic Bee held in Washington, D.C., he placed 5th. Chandra said, “I didn’t really prepare for this competition but I did do a lot for nationals.” He was able to name the longest river in Europe, the location of the Atacama Desert, where the largest population of Muslims resides, and a multitude of other questions. With a lead that outpaced his fellow competitors, Krishnan Chandra gave a spectacular performance that impressed the large crowd gathered in upper right in Commons as he answered the 30th and last question: Which Southeastern Asian country is among the very richest and what is its capital city? Chandra deftly answered “Brunei, and Bandar-Seri-Begawan” which evoked gasps and cheers from the audience. Chandra said, “I [was interested] in geography because I started when I was very young and I was good at it.” The Phillips Academy Geograbee originated in 1997 when former Spanish instructor, Nels Frye ’99 and former International Student Coordinator Hal McCann wanted to create an event that included the entire student body. Drench said, “I think the best part of the Geography Bee is that it was made by a student and how popular it has become. Just look at how many people came to watch today.” When asked to comment on Chandra’s performance, Andi Zhou, last year’s winner, said, “I just think he was the best man to win. He’s good and he proved it today. He deserved the win and he got it.”