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Joey Kocher wins CMMS National Geographic Bee Moves One Step Closer to $50,000 College Scholarship

Joey Kocher wins CMMS National Geographic Bee Moves One Step Closer to $50,000 College Scholarship

Clinton-Massie Middle School Geographic Bee 2017-2018

All students at Clinton-Massie Middle School recently competed in a National Geographic Bee Preliminary Competition in their Social Studies/American History classes to determine the school’s Top 10 finalists for the school competition.  School finalists were sixth grader Micah Wissman; seventh graders Jarren Gale, Luke Goodwin, Joey Kocher, and Owen Trick; and eighth graders Jacob Conard, Ethan Johnson, Malachi O’Leary, Ben Smith, and Abbey Steed.


School finalists then competed in a school-wide Geography Bee competition. Joey Kocher, a seventh-grader at Clinton-Massie Middle School, won the school competition of the National Geographic Bee and a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship.  Eighth-grader Ben Smith finished runner-up in the competition. The competition was an intense and suspenseful event for the participants and audience, alike, as both Kocher and Smith answered 23 rounds of questioning in the preliminary, finalists, and championship rounds, battling back and forth through 10 rounds in the final championship.  The school Bee, which students answered questions on geography, was the first round in the 30th annual National Geographic Bee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world.

(First row, left to right: 6th grade Social Studies teacher Betsy Wellman, Malachi O’Leary, Abbey Steed, Micah Wissman, Ethan Johnson, Jarren Gale, and 8th grade American History teacher Jim Wagner.  Second row, left to right: school champion Joey Kocher, Owen Trick, Jacob Conard, runner-up Ben Smith, Luke Goodwin, and 7th grade Social Studies teacher Jen Henderson.)


Curt Bradshaw, Coordinator of Gifted Services for the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, moderated the event.  Social Studies teachers Betsy Wellman, Jen Henderson, and Jim Wagner served as judges for the competition.  Jill Binau, Gifted Intervention Specialist with the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center, helped to organize the event.


Thousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories are participating in the 2018 National Geographic Bee.  The school champions, including Kocher, have recently completed a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scores on that test in each state will then be eligible to compete in their state Bee on April 6, 2018.


The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state winners to participate in the Bee national championship rounds May 20-23, 2018.  The first place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour II.  Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Society.  Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.


National Geographic will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship in May 2018.  It will air later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Geographic Bee.  The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.  Over three decades, 1,583 state champions have traveled to D.C. to participate in the finals and more than $1.5 million in college scholarship money has been awarded to winners of the competition by the National Geographic Society.


Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting Geo Bee Quiz, an online geography quiz at, which poses 10 new questions a day and with the National Geographic Geo Quiz Alexa Skill, which releases six new questions a day.  In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Bee, National Geographic has also published an updated National Geographic Bee book, “How to Ace the National Geographic Bee: Official Study Guide, 5th Edition,” by Stephen Cunha.


The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative ideas in the fields of exploration, scientific research, storytelling, and education.  Through their grants and programs, they aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding.  Their goal is a measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good.