Two Carroll County middle school students will put their knowledge of geography to the test as they advance to the statewide competition of the National Geographic Bee on Friday, March 27.

Veronica Cardosa, 14, an eighth-grader at North Carroll Middle School, and Brenna Connell, 13, a seventh-grader at Shiloh Middle School, are champions at their respective schools, and will compete with a pool of 100 top students for the title of state champion.


School bees were held for students in grades four through eight to determine a school champion. Those students took a qualifying test, which is sent to the National Geographic Society. The top 100 ranked students then progressed to the statewide competition.

State champions earn $100, the "National Geographic Atlas of the World, 10th Edition," a medal and a trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition.

Veronica, who was part of the school bee last year, said she was excited to move to the next round.

"I wasn't expecting it," she said.

Brenna, who also participated in last year's school bee, expressed excitement about continuing to the statewide competition.

"It's kind of scary because there are so many people and some of them are older than me, but I think that I'm really going to enjoy it," she said.

Her winning question was a tie-breaker, asking where the Yukon, the westernmost territory of Canada, is located, she said.

Both girls said that they plan to study to edge out competitors in the next round.

Brenna is preparing with books lent to her by eighth-grade teacher Michael Chrvala and flash cards she found online, she said. Veronica said she will study using the National Geographic study materials available on the organization's website.

Marsha Unekis, Veronica's eighth-grade social studies teacher at North Carroll Middle, said she's proud of her student.

"It's always wonderful when you have a student who rises up to the state level," she said.

Shiloh Middle Principal Scott Lavender said the school is looking forward to watching Brenna compete against others in the state.

"This is just an outstanding accomplishment for Brenna to make it this far. I'm excited to go — I've never watched the geo bee," Lavender said.

The national championship in Washington is May 11-13. The final round of the competition will be aired on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD, with journalist Soledad O'Brien as moderator, on May 15.


Reach staff writer Lauren Loricchio at 410-857-7862 or email lauren.loricchio@carrollcountytimes.com.

Are you smarter than an eighth-grader?

Here is the question North Carroll Middle School eighth-grader Veronica Cardosa answered correctly to win her school's spelling bee.

"Manu National Park protects rainforest wildlife, including more than 850 species of birds and is partially located in part of Cusco in what country?"