Krishnan Chandra ’10 Wins 14th Annual Geograbee

An eager crowd of students watched Krishnan Chandra ’10 win first place in the final round of the 14th Annual Geograbee last Thursday. Chandra represented the Day Students and won over the five cluster finalists. The cluster finalists were Charlie Cockburn ’11 of Abbot Cluster, Uday Singh ’12 of Flagstaff Cluster, Mark Adamsson ’11 of Pine Knoll, Sophie Gould ’11 of West Quad North and Kim Sarnoff ’12 of West Quad South. Susanne Torabi, GeograBee Coordinator, said, “There was an interesting mix of finalists. Usually the majority of contestants are seniors, but there was a better representation of the student body; we had two lowers, two Uppers and one Senior who all had strong geographical skills.” Chandra exhibited the depth of his knowledge of geography and competition strategy skills at the finals, staking a clear lead after 20 questions. Chandra has participated in the Geograbee every year since he has been at Andover. “[After junior year], Krishnan was not able to win again until his senior year, but it was a great way to wrap up his time here,” said Torabi. “Krishnan has a very solid knowledge of the world, its regions and geographical locations. During the contests, he would never be satisfied by just answering 10 questions, he would want to do all 30 of them,” Torabi continued. Chandra entered Phillips Academy with a strong foundation in geography skills, having competed at the national level during middle school. His interest in geography began in the third grade, and has kept up with current events and news ever since. His excellent knowledge of geography facts helped him win his first year, but he struggled with speed and strategy his Lower and Upper year. Chandra said, “My finalist competitors [Sarnoff and Adamsson] were competent, but one of the things that people often overlook is strategy. If you don’t know the answer you don’t buzz in.” Even though Sarnoff is a new Lower, she managed to grab second. Sarnoff said that her interest and knowledge of geography sparked from watching the Travel Channel. “Watching [the Travel Channel] proved to be helpful during the GeograBee,” Sarnoff said. Adamsson, who came in third, said that his success was due to his “interest in geography and ability to keep up with current events.” None of the top three contestants studied for the GeograBee this year, while last year’s winner Qing Yi Yu ’09 did. Torabi said that because of Yu, she switched up the GeograBee question topics for this year’s competition. “Last year, [Yu] worked all year finding any information she could on geography,” Torabi said. Yu read numerous National Geographic magazines, the source of questions for the contest. Torabi said she bases her questions off of National Geographic because “it’s a good source that has educational questions that aren’t too difficult for students.” Torabi thinks that it is essential to know about issues that hold interconnected global importance across many regions of the world. Issues include global warming, politics, and culture This year, a few questions raised controversy due to their unclear origins. Felicia Jia ’12 questioned whether or not Taipei is the capital of Taiwan. Audience members also argued that the correct term for the continent of Europe was Eurasia. Torabi encourages this kind of controversial discussion. She said, “it’s good to create discussion because our community can learn from it.” Some of this year’s questions came from past GeograBees, but Torabi also came up with new questions to keep up to date with world issues. From Torabi’s point of view, the GeograBee serves as an annual reminder to keep up with current events, and to become more aware of global matters. Torabi hopes that students will not be ashamed to admit that they do not know much about the world outside of the continent of North America. “More activity and involvement in the GeograBee helps students become more aware of international issues,” she said. This year’s winner for the GeograBee cluster munch for 100% participation and highest percentage of correct answers during dorm competitions is Pine Knoll.