SJP II sixth grader runner up in state GeoBee competition

Thomas Germain, Latin School bound

Thomas Germain, a sixth grader at Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy in Neponset, finished second in the National Geographic GeoBee State Competition held on Fri., March 29 at Elms College in Springfield.

The GeoBee is an academic competition meant to promote geographic knowledge in grades 4-8. The competition includes three levels – school, state, and national.

Schools hold their own GeoBee and name a school champion, who then takes a proctored and timed qualifying exam. More than 1,000 students across the state took the exam, but only the top 100 ranked from each state were selected to represent their school at the state competition.

Germain placed first at the SJP II school-wide tournament. He had competed in the GeoBee before, but this was his first time making it to the state finals.

“I’m glad I got to represent my school and that I made it to No. 2 in the state,” he said. “The finals were challenging, but the semifinals were not. I prepared by reading books about geography and looking at maps and globes. I’d like to compete again but I have to see if my new school participates. I’m going to Boston Latin School next fall.”

Germain has had an active interest in maps and flags since kindergarten, making questions like, “This UNESCO world heritage site was a Roman and Greek outpost but it is threatened by conflict in what North African Country?” a no-brainer. Libya is the answer, which 11-year-old Germain gave at the GeoBee competition.

“Thanks to my teachers, Mrs. Roach, Mr. Kolton, and my principal, Mr. Cuomo for allowing me to compete,” said Germain. “Thanks to my parents and sister for supporting me.”

Germain continues to read and study geography – his main hobbies – but also remains active in school choir, soccer, archery and rowing.