Friday, March 30, 2007

Wood River brothers know geography

National Geo Bee contestants head to Boise

Express Staff Writer

Do you know the capital of the West African nation of Senegal? The Pfeiffer brothers do, and today the geographically inclined duo will be representing the Wood River Valley in Boise for the state semifinals of the 2007 National Geographic Bee.

Andrew Pfeiffer is an eighth-grader at Wood River Middle School, in Hailey, and Stephen Pfeiffer is a fifth-grader at Hemingway Elementary, in Ketchum. Each won his school's geography competitions and then placed in the top 100 in Idaho on a written exam.

"We are really proud they're doing it. They both read a lot and are good students," said Greg Pfeiffer, the father of the two boys.

The semifinal contest is the second for Andrew Pfeiffer, who also qualified for semifinal competition when he was in fourth grade, his father said.

The Geo Bee pits students from thousands of schools across the nation in a battle of, well, worldly proportions. Students from grades four through eight are eligible for the competition, but only one student from each of the 50 states and U.S. Territories will be going on to the finals in Washington, D.C.

The National Geographic Bee is an educational program of the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to encourage the teaching and study of geography in the hopes of sparking a student's interest in the subject while increasing public awareness about geography.

In preparation for Friday's event, young Stephen Pfeiffer has been diligently "filling in maps and just studying an atlas."

"My grandparents will be driving out to Boise to watch me, so I want to do well," Stephen Pfeiffer said.

Andrew Pfeiffer's approach is two-pronged as well.

"I read a lot and we travel as a family," Stephen Pfeiffer said. The Pfeiffer's last trip was to Las Vegas, ensuring that any Hoover Dam-related question should be a lock.

The 2007 Idaho Geographic Bee will be held in the Jordan Ballroom of the Student Union Building at Boise State University today, March 30. The winner will receive $100 and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Idaho in the national finals in May. The national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship.

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