Glenwood Jr. High student qualifies for Ohio State Geography Bee

Geography bee showcases students who are ...

By Bruce Walton


Someday, Glenwood Junior High School seventh-grader Brendan Butler hopes to travel the world, visiting each nation and continent he’s only studied about.

He said his favorite country is Switzerland, but he’d also like to visit Ireland and tour through Europe.

Brendan’s passion for world travel has propelled him to the 2017 Ohio State Geography Bee at the Fawcett Center on the campus of Ohio State University. Starting March 31, he’ll compete with 99 other Ohio middle-school students.

Brendan first won his school’s geography bee exam, where he outlasted more than 100 seventh-graders in their social-studies classes and an exam of 80 questions.

From that preliminary round, the top 10 scoring students entered the school championship round exam of 100 questions. Brendan then took the state qualifying online exam from the National Geographic Society.

Vince Carnevale, a school social-studies teacher, has trained Brendan since his victory in the school championship.

“He is definitely a student that really astounds me with how much knowledge that he has already,” he said. “His base [knowledge] is there, and all I’m trying to do is build up from that base.”

Brendan said he loves geography. A couple of years ago, he began browsing Google Maps to find exciting places. He used the application to travel virtually to faraway lands and wanted to learn more about the people who live there.

Carnevale said the exam’s questions consist not just of the locations and names of city’s and nations, but also historical geography, culture and other questions solved at a high-school senior level.

In the past 10 years of teaching at the school, Carnevale said Brendan is his fourth student he’s trained for the state geography bee, and Brendan is one of the only two students from the Mahoning Valley to qualify this year.

The other local qualifier is Luke Martinucci, an eighth-grader from the Lewis School for Gifted Learning, affiliated with Valley Christian Schools, located in downtown Youngstown on West Front Street.

“For me and the years that I have been here, for us to send four students there is really just a tremendous compliment to our district and our parents who are supportive of our kids, it’s really just something we can all be really proud of,” Carnevale said.

Those who place in the top three at the geography bee will receive scholarships and cash prizes. First place receives a $50,000 scholarship and a $500 cash prize. Second place receives a $25,000 scholarship and a $500 cash prize. Third place receives a $10,000 scholarship and a $500 cash prize.

The winner of the state bee will advance to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C., from May 14 to 17.

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