Greencastle-Antrim eighth-grader advances to PA Geography Bee

Bob McCune will represent Greencastle-Antrim Middle School at the 2016 Pennsylvania National Geographic State Bee. He became a semi-finalist after shining at the school contest, and through an online quiz.

Robert “Bob” McCune likes math and history at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School, but he is pretty good at geography, too. He was named champion of the G-AMS Geography Bee, and then took an online qualifying test for the National Geographic Society Bee state competition.

He was selected as a semi-finalist for the Pennsylvania Bee, held April 1 at the State Museum in Harrisburg.

No results from the state competition were available as of presstime.

Bob, 14, was one of six eighth-graders and four seventh-graders to compete at the school level. He is also the first student to ever advance to the state level.

“This is quite an achievement for Bob,” said G-AMS coordinator Megan Long. “We do not offer a geography course at this time, so a student who successfully makes it to this level is one who has committed himself to independent, individual time learning about geography.”

She was joined by fellow social studies teachers Richard Richardson, Matthew Beckering and Shane Marville, who served as judges.

The questions were not particularly hard for Bob, who said he had trouble hearing one of them. His answer “cranberries” was still correct, as something grown in bogs in Canada.

For the online test he knew one response was wrong as soon as he advanced to the next page, and could not go back. He remembered the United States belonged to NAFTA, and OPEC membership was reserved for Middle Eastern oil producing countries.

Bob prepared for states the same way he did for the local challenge.

“I look at maps in an atlas, a little bit each day.”

Bob was accompanied by Long, and his parents John and Cindy McCune, for the next step. There were 100 students at the Bee. It had a preliminary round, a tie-breaker if needed, and then the finals. Students finishing in first through third place and their schools received awards. Every contestant gets a T-shirt.