"I have always been interested in geography. My parents got me an atlas when I was little, around 5 or 6, and I liked to look at it a lot," shares Neal Pullukat, 7th grade student and winner of the East Hills Middle School Geography Bee.
Neal brought these geography skills to the National Geographic Geography Bee in Michigan in early April, as one of 100 students throughout the state. Pullukat explains, "The first stage of the competition was done here in class. The winners of each class go to the school competition. The winner of the school-wide bee takes an online test, and the top 100 from each state make the state Geography Bee. The winner of the Michigan round will then go to Washington D.C.."
When asked what types of questions are presented, Pullukat shares, "the questions were pretty random. You just have to know maps and where everything is. A typical question is like, 'I-78 goes through this state after going through which other state?'" At the statewide bee, there were eight rounds, each covering different topics such as U.S. geography, world cities, global current events, environmental issues, and national birds. It was very broad, and Neal answered six out of eight rounds correctly. Of the 100 finalists, only eight students answered all eight rounds correctly and moved on to the top 10 Finals. Neal is hopeful to compete again next year and make the top 10. The state-wide competition was a great experience!
Kenneth Gechter, 6th grade Social Studies teacher at East Hills, and coordinator of the school-wide bee, shares that "Neal is a super-cool young guy who is a geography wiz. I couldn't be happier to see him represent East Hills. Neal brings a curiosity and excitement to learning."
Pullukat is thankful for faculty members like Gechter: "Mr. Gechter is very supportive! He runs the bee here. My parents have also been really supportive. They made me a study guide."
Congratulations, Neal, on your participation in the state-wide Geography Bee, and thank you for representing Bloomfield Hills Schools so well!