Two Madison District Schools students to compete in State Geographic Spelling Bee - AZEdNews
Sections    Tuesday August 20th, 2019
Twitter Profile Facebook Profile LinkedIn Profile RSS Profile

Two Madison District Schools students to compete in State Geographic Spelling Bee

  • |
  • Heather Austin/The Ferraro Group

20170331geobee 08

Madison Heights Elementary 4th grade student Gavin Hoskins and Madison #1 Middle School 8th Grade student Marcus Giorza are proud to move onto the Arizona Geographic Bee on March 29 at The University of Arizona.

Both students are part of the Rigorous, Enriched, Accelerated and Curriculum for Highly Gifted (REACH) Program at their schools. The program provides highly-gifted students with the opportunity to function at an academic level that is correspondent with their abilities, while having the opportunity to interact socially with students who have similar interests and academic needs.

Marcus and Gavin had several steps to reach state competition level. The first level was the classroom competition — with the top ten students from classrooms — then competing in a school-level completion. The next step was an online quiz (70 questions in an hour) that the winning students completed online at school under teacher observation. The top 100 scores from this round qualified for the State Finals.

Giorza said he prepares for the competition with help from the geography club at his school.

“The information taught there is one of my main sources of study,” Giorza said. “In addition, I will sometimes study on my own time with videos or articles about countries. I am interested in geopolitics, current events having to do with how countries interact.”

Two Madison District Schools students to compete in State Geographic Spelling Bee marcusstatebee2019-2-898x1024
Madison Middle School eighth grader Marcus Giorza

He said if he wins the state competition, he will start preparing for nationals immediately.

Giorza’s parents said both of their sons have attended K-8 in the Madison District.

“We have appreciated the high level of excellence exhibited by teachers, administrators and staff. There are many school choices in Arizona and we have been very happy with the choice we made to send our sons to Madison schools,” the Giorzas said.

Hoskins honed his geography skills with assistance from one his REACH teachers, including Kate Andreasen, his mom and practice questions from the National Geographic Society website.

“I like learning about how geography affects the conflicts that are going on in our world right now,” Hoskins said. “My advice to other students to make geography easier or more interesting is to listen to the news a lot and look up the places from the news stories on a map.”

Two Madison District Schools students to compete in State Geographic Spelling Bee Gavin_2018-2019-bw-1
Madison Heights Elementary fourth grader Gavin Hoskins

Hoskins’ mother, Ellen, said the Madison REACH program has been great for her son.

“The teachers push him to work to his potential, but also understand that he’s just a kid who needs to have fun and have the time and freedom to explore in-depth the things that catch his attention. He’s made wonderful friends and had lots of exciting experiences in the REACH program,” she said.

Those students that qualified for the Arizona State GeoBee on March 29 will be competing for a top prize of $1,000 cash and a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National Championship.

The National Geographic GeoBee Championship is May 19-22 at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. This year, the national champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Second- and third-place winners receive a $10,000 and $5,000 college scholarship, respectively, and $1,000 cash prize.

Learn more about Madison Elementary School Districts high-performing schools at

Follow Madison Elementary School District on social media at:
Instagram: @Madison_AZ