PMS 8th grader Sebastian Fisher wins schoolwide Geography Bee


Each year, National Geographic holds the National Geographic Bee, where students from each state answer high-level geography trivia and compete for the chance to be crowned national champion. This year, Sebastian Fisher was on the path to do just that, winning the Pelham Middle School bee and placing high enough on the written test to qualify for the New York State bee, which is held in Albany.

The road to the national level is long, as students must win first win their school and state bees to make it to nationals. The process itself is extremely selective: participating in the state bee means you not only won your school bee, but are one of the top 100 scorers in your state on an online geography trivia exam administered by National Geographic.

This year is, disappointingly, the exception. After initially making the decision to switch to an online format for the state bees due to the spread of Covid-19, National Geographic announced last week that all bees would be canceled outright. While this decision certainly isn’t surprising, it marks a disappointing end of the road for this year’s participants.

When speaking with Sebastian about this recent development, he acknowledged that it was the right decision to make.

“I understand it, we’d be at home and you could cheat easily, so it wouldn’t really be fair. Plus, they couldn’t hold the national bee anyway [so there wouldn’t be a point to do state bees].” Still, he told me, he would have preferred to compete at the state level.

When asked about his experience competing in the schoolwide bee, he commented that he was “nervous going into it, but after the first round, kind of settled in.” He admits the pressure mounted again when he got to the final round, but that ultimately, he was able to finish strong. Asked about his initial reaction to winning, he simply stated, “I was very happy with myself.” Clearly, this was for good reason.

While Sebastian will unfortunately not have the chance to compete further, his accomplishments thus far deserve to be celebrated. Congratulations!