West Middle School student heads to state geographic bee
Ask Ryland Mahre where Bahrain is on a map and he’ll not only tell you it’s east of Saudi Arabia, he’ll tell you it’s in the Persian Gulf and that the small island had a treaty relationship with the United Kingdom before becoming an independent state.
He’ll say all this with his back to a world map.
Ryland, 14, will put his knowledge of world geography to the test Friday at the Colorado Geographic Bee in Denver.
He won the schoolwide geography bee at West Middle School in January, which qualified him and winners at all other Colorado schools that sponsored a bee to take a 70-question National Geographic Society test. He and the 99 other fourth- through eighth-graders with the highest scores on the test will compete in this week’s state bee.
Friday’s contest will weed out 90 students in five small group contests and have the remaining 10 students answer questions about places’ location, culture and topography until a winner prevails.
Ryland participated in the school geography bee last year and the year before but placed second each time.
His goal is to at least place in the top three at this week’s competition, a goal West’s geography bee coordinator, Kim Davis, thinks he has a chance to achieve.
“He could easily make it,” she said. “He’s a great student and very well-read.”
Ryland’s parents, Trish and Chris, quiz their son when he asks, but he’s also fond of engaging relatives in a round of “see how many countries you can name.”
Trish Mahre said her son has always been a geography whiz.
“He has maps all over his walls at home,” she said, adding her son has marked every city and country he’s been to on one of the maps.
The winner at the state bee will receive $100 and a trip to compete in the National Geographic Society finals May 24–25 in Washington, D.C.
“I’m going to worry about that if I win,” Ryland said. “Right now I’m going to focus on the state bee.”