Now in its 29th year, the state bee will be March 31 at Illinois State University, where participants will be asked a series of geography-related questions during several rounds.
Among those competing are Lyric Engelbrecht, a sixth-grader at Lundahl Middle School; Serena Huberty, an eighth-grader at Richard Bernotas Middle School; and Connor Comein, an eighth-grader at Nippersink Middle School.
The three are the only representatives from McHenry County who will compete, and they will go up against more than 100 competitors from Illinois.
Lyric said he’s been studying every day to prepare for the upcoming bee. His study methods include looking at maps and trying to match capitals to their countries. In doing so, he said he has learned more about foreign countries and has developed an interest in Korea and Japan.
“I tried teaching myself Japanese, but found out that’s really tough,” Lyric said. “Instead, I learned the Korean alphabet and can now write English words in Korean. I’ve learned I can memorize things quickly.”
“We are very proud of Lyric and find it amazing that he is competing in the state bee as a sixth-grader,” Lundahl Principal Angie Compere said.
Also representing Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 in the geographic bee will be Serena, who recently won the McHenry County Spelling Bee and will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., later this year.
The state contest is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, as school bees were held throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, and the top-scoring students were selected to take part in the state bee.
The winner of the National Geographic State Bee will receive $100 along with a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent the state in the National Geographic Bee Championship from May 14 to May 17.
The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship.