A team of 5 students from South Windsor High School won the 26th  annual Connecticut High School Geography Challenge at UCONN in Storrs on Tuesday, May 16.  The Connecticut High School Geography Challenge is an annual statewide interscholastic academic team competition hosted by the Connecticut Geographic Alliance.  The theme of this year’s highly competitive event was “Fresh Water”.

A team of five students from Fairfield Warde High School finished second, one point behind the South Windsor High School team on a tie breaker question of the day’s final event.  Last year’s winning team from Lyme—Old Lyme High School finished a close third this year.  The South Windsor High School team was composed of students Jacob Bogoslofski, Noah Frank, Parth Patel, Vishal Patel, and Aaron Yao, and their coach was SWHS social studies teacher Erin Simcik.

Eighteen high school teams from around Connecticut competed in events focused on this year’s theme of “Fresh Water”.  In the morning students scoured the central campus in a modified orienteering event or a geo-caching activity that used GPS technology, read traditional maps and online GIS information in the map reading activity, and hunted for a gang of spies in a virtual scavenger hunt problem-solving activity.   In the afternoon all teams competed in a geography quiz bowl in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on campus.  These events all had thematic “Fresh Water” -related questions for students to solve and answer.  For example,

  • THE TIE-BREAKER QUESTION: The confluence of the Blue Nile and the White Nile Rivers lies near what African capital city?*

The Connecticut high schools that competed were—

  • Bacon Academy, Colchester (Kristie Blanchard, teacher)
  • Bethel High School (Jessica Christensen, teacher)
  • Howell Cheney Regional Vocational-Technical High School, Manchester (Anthony Urciuoli, teacher)
  • Danbury High School (Jose Machado and Christine Riter, teachers)
  • Fairfield Warde High School (Robert Mendenhall, teacher)
  • Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Falls Village (Peter Vermilyea, teacher)
  • Lyme—Old Lyme High School (Glenn Elliott, teacher)
  • Ridgefield High School (Eileen Stewart, teacher)
  • Edwin O. Smith High School, Storrs (Russ Niederwerfer, teacher)
  • South Windsor High School (Erin Simcik, teacher)
  • Two Rivers Magnet High School, Hartford (John Limeburner, teacher)
  • Wethersfield High School (Michael Ferrell and Kelly Zaleski, teachers)


For additional information on the Connecticut High School Geography Challenge, contact the Connecticut Geographic Alliance at Central Connecticut State University,, or contact CGA teacher consultant Kathleen Ryan at

* Khartoum, Sudan


Listen to Kathleen Ryan and two students who have competed the last three years on a radio interview from May 10th!
Kathleen Ryan
Teacher Consultant, Connecticut Geographic Alliance
Chairman, 26th annual CT High School Geography Challenge