Middle Schools Clash in the THS Geography Competition

Cy Pavlov ’24
EE Staff Writer

May 20th saw the kickoff of the First Annual Middle School Geography Competition between students of Madison and Hillcrest Middle School at the Trumbull High School campus. After much hard work and dedication by both sides, Madison’s team came out on top with a very narrow victory.

The competition was started in response to Central Connecticut State University’s decision to cancel their geography challenge for high school students, which the Trumbull High School Geography Club regularly takes part in. Under the guidance of Advisor Mrs. Brienza and Officer Matthew Wick (‘23), the club started its own local competition between middle schools to keep the club active during the unprecedented cancellation.

The Middle School Geography Competition came in good timing as well, since the geography bee that middle school students would regularly participate in was canceled ever since the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the competition would provide Trumbull middle school students with a new opportunity to demonstrate and nurture their knowledge of geography. 

Much like the CCSU competition, the Middle School Geography Competition has three stages: acrostics, orienteering, and the quiz bowl. The acrostics stage functions much like a crossword puzzle with students answering with interlocking terms for successive questions. The orienteering phase sees students navigate around the Trumbull High School campus, locating landmarks by using a compass and pacing themselves to measure their distance. Finally, all students reconvene for the quiz bowl where questions are read off and each group of students gives an answer which is judged by an advisor sitting at each group’s table.

Also akin to the high school competition, the middle school competition has a central theme which most of the questions are based around. The theme chosen for this year was pop culture, which discusses famous people, topics in entertainment, current events, and other cultural phenomena all around the world.

Almost the entire competition and all of the events that lead up to it were organized by the students participating in the Geography Club. Such activities included making the questions that would be featured on the day of the challenges (some of which even came from yours truly), setting up decorations, and signing, as well as hosting informational meetings at both Madison and Hillcrest Middle School to generate interest.

The ACE Foundation, which normally supports the high school geography challenge, also provided funding for various resources needed for the project to get off the ground. 

The day of the event went without a hitch (despite the rain threatening to hamper the orienteering activities), with Hillcrest and Madison students neck-and-neck the entire day. Ultimately, Madison’s team won the day by only 1/3rd of a point (581 vs 580.67) with the highest-achieving groups for each middle school being Team 3 from Hillcrest and Team 5 from Madison, scoring 151 and 157.5 points respectively. After Madison won, a trophy was presented to the principal which is now located in Madison Middle School’s lobby. 

After the success of the inaugural Trumbull Middle School Geography Competition, the Geography Club has announced that they plan to rerun the competition next year with a new theme. This will be in conjunction with supporting preparations to return to the Connecticut High School Geography Challenge at CCSU which the club has participated in during previous years (most recently in May of 2022).

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