April 16, 2005 – A sixth-grade student from St. Thomas has been chosen to represent the Virgin Islands at the National Geographic Bee. Diamond Ash, 11, was chosen along with 54 other students from U.S. states and territories.
To qualify for the national contest, students from about 15,000 schools compete in school geography bees and complete a series of written tests. Diamond, a sixth grader at the Joseph Gomez Elementary School, has been preparing for this chance for two years, according to Frieda Farrow, the principal at the school.
"Diamond is an excellent student. Since the 4th grade, she has been preparing for this competition. So when she emerged victorious as our champ, we were not surprised at all," Farrow said.
For the last 17 years, the National Geographic Bee has been promoting student's knowledge of world topography and the location of different countries and landmarks. It's sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Winners of the state competitions get an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. Diamond is scheduled to make that trip with Jamon Liburd, who teachers the Gifted and Talented Program at Gomez School.
Depending on how well she does in the nationals, Diamond's competition could be seen on television. Organizers plan to air the championship round on National Geographic Television May 25.
Diamond's winning the statewide bee gives Gomez school a winning tradition, Farrow said. A few years ago, Charles Brown, who at the time was a student at Gomez, also was chosen by National Geographic to represent the Virgin Islands. Brown is now a student at the Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School.
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