by Dennis Dalman
As of May 22, Gopi Ramanathan of Sartell was among the 10 finalists in the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. The final rounds of the Bee were expected to take place starting at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, May 24, too late for the Sartell Newsleader’s May 23 deadline.
His academic-extension advisor, Lori Dornburg, called the Newsleader from Washington, D.C. just before noon Tuesday to announce the good news.
Ramanathan is an eighth-grader at Sartell Middle School who competed in the National Geography Bee once before — in 2010. He is the son of Jagan and Vasugi Ramanathan of Sartell. His parents and his brother, 10-year-old Janagan, are in Washington, D.C., along with advisor Dornburg. Janagan also competed, along with Gopi, at the Minnesota Geography Bee in early April.
On the morning of May 22, 54 contestants from the nation competed in the preliminary rounds. They were asked nine geography-related questions. Nine students had perfect scores, and 12 other students were tied and had to go on to tie-breaking rounds. Ramanathan was one of those 12 students, and after several rounds of elimination, it came down to Ramanathan and another boy. Ramanathan won as the 10th finalist when he was asked, “What is the only freshwater lake that has an island within an island?”
Answer: Lake Huron.
“Those rounds were real nail-biters,” Dornburg said.
A story on how Ramanathan did in the finals will be published on the Sartell Newsleader website and in the June 1 edition of the Newsleader.