For the fourth time in five years, the Duda family from St. Clare School in Southwest Portland competed in the Oregon Geographic Bee, sponsored by the National Geographic Society. Eighth-grader Dominic Duda placed in the top 25 percent at the March 31 bee.
Earlier this year, Dominic won the St. Clare School competition — his third win. Prior to Dominic’s three-peat, his older sister Clare won the school bee, but her hopes at a longer winning streak were cut short when Dominic beat her in an epic tie-breaker three years ago, when he was a sixth-grader and she was in eighth grade.
It’s a friendly competition in the Duda family. Dominic’s parents say they’ve never pushed their children to learn geographic facts, but do “encourage them to read, read, read.”
“I like history,” says Dominic. “It is my favorite subject.” When asked about his preparation for the big day he replied: “I don’t really study geographic facts, I just like to read what is interesting to me, … and I remember the facts.”
But what makes this geographic winning streak for Dominic and the Duda family even more exceptional is that winning at the school level isn’t enough to qualify contestants for the state bee. School winners must then take a qualifying test to assess their knowledge. Only the top 100-ranked students in each state qualify to represent their school in the state-level bee. The high scores from Dominic and his sister Clare have qualified them for the state competition every year.
The Oregon Geographic Bee was held on the Western Oregon University campus.
Around 3 million students in almost 10,000 schools across the country participated in their school bees and took the qualifying test to participate in the state competition. The top three state qualifiers received a monetary reward.
The champion from each state and territory will travel to Washington, DC, to compete in the National Geographic Bee Championship at National Geographic Society headquarters. The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.