In the biographies section of Montgomery Village Middle School’s library, 15 students tested their geography smarts in the annual National Geographic Bee.
About 30 minutes into the competition on Wednesday afternoon, only a few students had been eliminated. Don Milner, the school’s humanities content specialist, doled out questions such as “Which state is known as the ‘Sunshine State?’” and “The Liberian Sea borders which continent?”
The students — some confident, some confused — responded with their heads bent down over clipboards, scribbling out their answers.
After six rounds, only two students were left, transforming the game into sudden death between seventh-graders Devin Jameison of Montgomery Village and Diego Al-Rukaby of Gaithersburg.
Al-Rukaby answered the last question correctly and gave Jameison a smile and a long, enthusiastic handshake.
When asked how many hours Diego spent studying for his first bee, his sister, 14-year-old Zeanab Al-Rukaby, laughed.
“He watches the History channel,” she said.
Milner said Montgomery County Public Schools students mostly are taught world geography in sixth grade and some state geography in elementary school. But, “there’s something to be said for these students,” especially those who put in the effort to compete academically, he said.
Diego Al-Rukaby can advance to the state level of the National Geographic Bee after taking a written test.