Minster 7th Grader Sweeps Geography, Spelling Bees

Staff Writer


Nate Hanson proved to be the king of the bees, sweeping the the Minster spelling and geography competitions last Wednesday and Thursday.

His win in the geography bee on Thursday afternoon at Minster Elementary School came after he outlasted sixth-grader Ryan Halpin in the three-question final round. “I always liked looking at maps when I was young,” said Hanson, who is the son of Joe and April Hanson.

The curiosity paid off, as he correctly answered the three final-round question to emerge as the winner.

“I didn’t expect to win this,” said Hanson, who wore University Cincinnati Bearcat apparel for both wins. “I thought maybe I’d be runner-up.”

With questions given by social studies teacher Mike Wiss, geography bee participants answered questions on notecards as a group and individually out loud to winnow down the 12 contestants from grades 5-8.

“I’m not Alex Trebek, but some of these questions are as difficult as you’re going to see on ‘Jeopardy,’ Wiss said before the event began.

The first round proved to be a doozy for Minster students, with all but three of the contestants missing their first question, jitters and what proved to be tough opening questions in play.

The questions tested the students’ knowledge of civil war battle fields (Antietam is located in Maryland), bordering rivers (the St. Croix in Minnesota), mountains ( Big Horn is in Montana) and even cherry production (Grand Traverse Bay in Michigan). Students had the aide of a overhead projected roadmap of the United States for one round and had to relay on their ability to visualize in others.

Hanson and Halpin moved on to the finals, where Hanson emerged the winner.

The night before, Hanson won the spelling bee after 17 rounds and 189 words, correctly spelling the word “celerity” to earn the win in the 20-student competition for students in grades 4-8. The word means a “swiftness of movement.”

Paige Schulte, the daughter of Craig and Pam Schulte finished second. Lexi Hanson, Nate’s sister and the winner of last year’s spelling bee as a fourth grade student, took third.