Qing Yi Yu ’09 Sweeps GeograBEE Competition

The thirteenth annual GeograBee Final attracted a large crowd in Uncommons on Tuesday as winner Qing Yi Yu ’09 displayed her knowledge of global geography. Yu earned 57 of the possible 90 points. Many audience members described Yu’s sweeping victory as impressive. Throughout the competition, Yu answered questions before the moderator had finished asking them. The other GeograBee finalists included Krishnan Chandra ’10, Cassius Clay ’09, Ben Elder ’09, Eric Kanter ’09 and Stephen Levy ’09. Levy followed Yu in second place with 12 points, and Elder finished in third place with three points. The GeograBee questions ranged in difficulty. One question asked what country had a tradition of kilts and bagpipes (Scotland). A more difficult question asked what African country had high cashew exports (Tanzania). The contestants answered some of the geography questions, but some found it difficult to compete with Yu. Levy, last year’s GeograBee champion, said, “It was obvious [Yu] prepared well. It was impressive. I hold no grudge.” Elder, who is a four-year GeograBee finalist, said, “Qing Yi came and ran away with it, so I’m satisfied with that. I was kind of bored because there wasn’t much to do.” Kanter said, “Most of the [other contestants] answered before [the moderator] finished asking the question. I didn’t want to answer until I knew what to say. I’d say the other people were strong, stronger than myself.” Susanne Torabi, International Student Coordinator and Coordinator of the GeograBee, said that Yu lost in her GeograBee dorm final last year on a question specific to the United States. Torabi added that she thought the question was difficult for Yu because she is an international student. Torabi decided to make sure the competition focused on international geography this year to be fair for all members of the Andover community. She gathered questions of varying difficulty from the National Geographic website over the past year. The National Geographic website posts 10 questions and answers every day. Torabi suggested that Yu study National Geographic questions. “Retaining all of that information is very impressive,” said Torabi. “It is amazing because I took [the questions] not from one month but all year.” Most of the GeograBee finalists thought that an interest in history helped them qualify for the school-wide competition. Levy said, “[Geographical knowledge] came along with my studying history. I always thought they tied in really nicely.” Kanter said that he believes that his education at Andover helped him reach the GeograBee finals. Although Kanter did not have the chance to answer a GeograBee question, he said he was pleased with himself for making it past the cluster finals and facing strong opponents. There were 30 total questions. Contestants were awarded three points for each correct answer and one point was deducted for every mistake. The first GeograBee took place in 1997 after Nels Frye ’99 introduced the competition to Andover. Frye established the GeograBee with the help of his International Student Advisor Hal McCann, said Torabi.