We got home from Ireland on Thursday evening around 7:30. I immediately repacked a bag for Peter and myself and around 8:30, he and I headed to Charlotte.
He won his school geography bee which meant he got to take an online test. The kids around the state with the 100 highest scores on the test were invited back to compete in the North Carolina National Geographic Bee. Peter qualified so off we went for the big event which was held bright and early on Friday morning.
Traffic into downtown Charlotte is an unpredictable beast which is why he and I just spent the night in Charlotte. It would have been nice to sleep in our own beds but I didn't want to risk being late. So off we went Thursday evening in the rain.
Peter was nervous as we headed into the location of the bee. We checked in and then he put on his name badge and tee shirt and we waited. At 9:30, they gathered everyone together and welcomed us and gave us a run down of how we would proceed.
All the competitors had been randomly split into 5 groups of 20. Each of the 5 groups were taken into a different room and were allowed one spectator. This was the reason that Dan and Sarah didn't come with us.
Peter was in group one. When we got into the room, they lined each competitor up by their preassigned number and seated them in that order. Rules were read and then round one was started.
There was a practice question and then the official questions began. There were 8 official questions and the score was tallied. There were two kids in Peter's group that got all 8 correct and there were 2 kids that only missed one. Peter was one of the two that only missed one.
The score keeper from our room then took the scores out and we waited to see who was going to advance to the final round. The 10 competitors with the highest scores would be in the final round. There would also be a tie breaker round if necessary.
After a long wait, our room judge came in to report that the two kids from Peter's group with perfect scores would be moving on to the final round and that Peter and the other person that missed one would be moving on to the tiebreaker round.
5 kids got perfect scores and got to move to the final round automatically and 14 kids only missed one and competed in the tiebreaker round for the final 5 spots in the top ten.
They took the 14 kids into a different room where no one was allowed but the competitors and the judges. They were given white boards and asked a series of questions. Each time someone missed a question, they were eliminated. Gradually kids started coming out of the room but Peter remained in.
I was frantically texting with Dan this whole time trying to keep him posted. I really felt like Peter was going to make it to the final round but he eventually came out of the room. He finished 12th out of 100.
The top 10 got to compete in the final round but we left. We debated staying but we were so tired from our trip and just really wanted to get home.
The winners from each state get to go to Washington, DC to compete in the National Geographic Bee in May which will be televised on the National Geographic Channel.
Win or lose, I'm still proud of Peter. It was an experience that we won't forget!