EIGHTH GRADER ELI FLICKER took fourth place in the state level of the National Geographic Geography Bee held at St. Cloud State University last week. Eli and his brother, Jack, are the only two students from Big Lake to make it into the top 10 round of the state contest. (Submitted photo).

Eli finishes high in state geography bee

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Big Lake Middle School student Eli Flicker won the Big Lake Middle School National Geographic Geography Bee and went on to compete at the state competition at St. Cloud State University, April 4, where he took fourth place.
Eli is the second person in his family to compete in the state Geography Bee. Last year, his brother, Jack, won the school competition and went on to compete at the state level. He also took fourth place.
Eli is the middle child in his family. Parents Marcia and Dean have four sons. Oldest son Ben also competed in the School Geography Bee but lost a close contest to Jett Weiand to become first runner up. Next year, Eli’s younger brother, Isaac, enters sixth grade. Younger sister Anna is still in elementary school.
To get to the state Geography Bee, Eli first had to take a test to become one of 10 students to compete in the school bee. This year, 93 Big Lake students took the test.
“It’s a lot of work to take the test,” says Social Studies Teacher Jeff Vogel, who coached Eli. “I was glad so many students volunteered.”
The school bee was also a close competition for Eli, who went head to head with Alex Prom, going through several rounds of tie-breaking questions to take first place.
“Alex was very gracious in defeat. We have some very bright students,” said Mr. Vogel. “I am happy to see students get excited about geography.” After winning the school bee, Eli was invited to take another test to compete at the state level. While somewhere between 300-400 public schools, private schools and home school cooperatives compete, only 100 are invited to participate at the state competition.
“At the state level, all the students are divided into groups of 20,” said Vogel. “They have to answer another eight questions.”
Fifteen students of the 100 answered all eight questions correctly. There were more rounds of elimination questions to get the number down to the final 10 who took their seats on the stage of the Kimberly Ritsche Auditorium.
The winner goes on to compete in the national competition in Washington, DC in May.
Eli said he spent plenty of time studying for the competition, at least half an hour a day, leading up to the state event. Mr. Vogel was his ally. After 15 years of participation, he has study books of questions from the last 15 years of geography bees.
Eli says he likes to read a lot. His favorite author is Erin Hunter and he enjoys action adventure stories. He has travelled out of state to Wyoming and Montana on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and hopes to travel more widely in the future.
Eli is the sixth student from Big Lake to reach the state level in the Geography Bee. Jake Rossman was the first to get there when he was in seventh grade, Vogel recalled. Jack and Eli are the only two to reach the top 10.
“I was really proud of Eli,” Mr. Vogel said. “He looked so relaxed up there.”
Sample Questions from The National Geographic Geography Bee
The North Atlantic current brings warm waters from the tropics to the west coast of which continent? Answer: Europe
What is the term for a part of an ocean or sea that cuts far into the bordering landmass and may contain one or more bays?
Answer: Gulf
Which Canadian province produces more than half of the country's manufactured goods?
Answer: Ontario.
To visit the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient ceremonial capital of Persia, you would have to travel to what present-day country?
Answer: Iran.


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)