Geography Bee Girl Buzzes


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This girl!
I am so proud of her.
She studied over the past three weeks for her school geography bee – there were a few rough moments where she was not happy with me pushing her to study, but she did it anyway. In the end, I believe she tried really hard.
She had left this weekend to go to Grandma Ionno’s on a sour note. I had told her that she should take her geography book with her to study. She sighed at me and barked in an exasperated tone “how much do I have to study?” I explained to her that she needed to study to the point where she felt that she had tried her hardest. I didn’t know when that point would be reached but I knew she should put some time in since the bee was Monday. She rolled her eyes and turned to get in the car.
I was sad when she left. I questioned how strict I should be about studying. Should I demand she study for 2 hours a night? Or should I give her the freedom to study as she feels necessary? I felt like I had taken the middle road and required her to study at certain times over the three weeks but also given her the option to study or do something else (which usually ended up being “something else”).
When she arrived home from Grandma Ionno’s on Sunday, the first thing she said to me was “Guess how much I studied, Mom?!”
I asked her how much and she exclaimed “Two and a half hours!”
I was heartened to see that she had taken time away from playing with her cousin to study.
On Monday, I think I was more sick to my stomach about the bee than was she. All my nerves were on high alert. She was a cool cookie about the bee from the day she found out she was in it. Her nerves did get shaken a bit the night before and the morning of but I kept reiterating how Jon and I were proud of her no matter what.
“You studied hard and you will give it your all and that is a win for us no matter the outcome.”
When I walked in the room Monday afternoon, she sat in the middle of the long table between two fifth grade boys. She was stoic. She gave Jon and I a quick smile but then was all business. The moderator asked all ten kids (2 girls and eight boys) individual questions and then a group one where each of them had to write the answer on a white board like Jeopardy. Hilarious.
Ri got all of the answers correct! She and four others (3 fifth grade boys and 1 fourth grade boy) got them all correct so they got to move into the final round. The final round consisted of seven questions that Jon and I could not even answer (“which Mediterranean country produces the most cotton?”). One of the boys got lucky and answered one of the questions correctly so he became the finalist. Ri was gracious and smiled at him. Then she leaned over and consoled the boy next to her who was crying. She possesses such a warm soul.
Her teacher congratulated her on how well she did. She smiled and said thanks. Then she walked out the door with us, looked at a box of canned goods, and immediately started gabbing about the 4th grade can food drive. I loved how she already moved on to a new subject and didn’t wallow in despair over not winning the bee. She gave it her best shot and was on to new things. Yep, she continues to teach this grown-up many a life lesson.

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