In its first time at the Connecticut High School Geography Challenge, a team of five students from Lyme—Old Lyme High School won the 25th annual statewide interscholastic academic team competition hosted by the Connecticut Geographic Alliance at The University of Connecticut in Storrs on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. Lyme—Old Lyme High School students Cole Dushin, Ryan Harty, Shannon Nosal, Jacob Olson, and Natalie Rugg competed as a team and won a tie-breaker with South Windsor High School. Bethel High School finished a close third. The Lyme—Old Lyme team was coached by social studies teacher Aron D’Aquila and science teacher Glenn Elliott.
The South Windsor High School team came in second, ahead of Bethel High School, which finished third for the second year in a row. It was a close competition all day.
Eighteen high school teams from around Connecticut competed in events focused on this year’s theme of “America’s National Parks” in honor of the centennial of the National Park Service. In the morning students scoured the central campus in a modified orienteering event or a new 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 “America’s National Parks” related questions for students to solve and answer. For example,
• What Hartford neighborhood was designated in December 2014 by an act of Congress to become a National Historic Park?*
• What national park located on the border between California and Nevada experienced a “super bloom” in February 2016 when large swaths of its desert hillsides were covered with visual explosions of yellow, pink, and purple flowers due to the effects of El Niño? *
• THE TIE-BREAKER QUESTION THAT LYME—OLD LYME HIGH SCHOOL WON: This National Heritage Corridor runs from Worcester south to Providence and celebrates the birthplaces of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Name this National Heritage Corridor named for the area’s once dominant source of power, a river. *
The Connecticut high schools that competed were—
• Bacon Academy, Colchester (Kristie Blanchard, teacher)
• Bethel High School (Jessica Galbraith, teacher)
• Howell Cheney Regional Vocational-Technical High School, Manchester (Anthony Urciuoli, teacher)
• Danbury High School (Jose Machado and Christine Riter, teachers)
• Daniel Hand High School, Madison (Thomas Quirk, teacher)
• Housatonic Valley Regional High School, Falls Village (Peter Vermilyea, teacher)
• Lyme—Old Lyme High School (Aron D’Aquila and Glenn Elliott, teachers)
• Manchester High School (Ryan Jones, teacher)
• Ridgefield High School (Jessica Postlethwaite, 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)
For additional information on the Connecticut High School Geography Challenge, contact the Connecticut Geographic Alliance at The University of Connecticut, http://www.ctgeoalliance.uconn.edu, or contact CGA teacher consultant Kathleen Ryan at Ryanzenko@aol.com.
*Coltsville, Death Valley National Park, Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor