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Briar Middle School students compete in National Geographic Society’s 31st annual GeoBee

Perkins Local School District students in grades six through eight will compete in the National Geographic Society’s 31st annual GeoBee at 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, at Briar Middle School, 3700 South Ave., Sandusky. The GeoBee is designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world.

The competition at Briar Middle School is part of a national competition among students across the United States and five U.S. territories, as well as students in Department of Defense Dependents Schools around the world.

The champion of the Briar Middle School GeoBee will advance to the next level of competition, a qualifying test to determine state competitors. Up to 100 of the top test scorers in each state become eligible to compete in their state GeoBee.

The winner of the state GeoBee receives an all-expenses-paid trip next May to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., to participate in the GeoBee national championship.

At the national championship, qualifying students will compete for cash prizes, scholarships and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll.

The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic GeoBee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. More than 120 million students have participated in the annual GeoBee in the past three decades.


Briar students see legal system up close

ELYRIA, Ohio -- More than 90 students from the enrichment classes at Briar Middle School found themselves in a Lorain County courtroom on Thursday, Dec. 6. It was all in the spirit of learning as they played the roles of prosecutors, defense attorneys, witnesses and jurors in the annual Mock Trial competition at the Lorain County Justice Center in Elyria.

The competition requires students to research the roles they play and prepare for simulated court cases before a real judge and jury of their peers. Students must use critical thinking and analytical skills during the trials while speaking articulately and confidently.

Ten fifth-graders, 30 sixth-graders, 25 seventh-graders and 26 eighth-graders, and each of the teams from Perkins won their court cases. The teams were coached by Mary Darr and Amanda Wolf.

Here are their cases:

  • The fifth-graders had a civil case, Cavanaugh v. Cup of Joe, where a customer was burned by hot coffee.
  • The sixth-graders had a civil case, Parker v. Paradise County School District, where a parent was suing a school district over a student getting burned in a science project. Perkins students played both prosecution and defense.
  • The seventh-graders had a murder trial, State v. Martin, where a high school student was found dead after a rock climbing incident and the defendant, a student, was accused of murdering the rock climber because he was going to turn him for cheating on a test.
  • The eighth-graders were involved in the People v. Andrew Jackson, over the Treaty of the New Echota Indian Removal Act (aka, Trail of Tears) where Native Americans were forced from their land in Georgia and moved west. Perkins students played the defense and represented Andrew Jackson.


For the eighth-grade case, here are the roles the students played:

  • Bailiff, Drew Peiffer
  • Defense, opening statements, Greta Gros
  • Defense, cross-examine first witness (John Ross), Kennedy Schnittker
  • Defense, cross-examine second witness (Rev. Worcester) - Emma Manley
  • Defense, cross-examine third witness (John Marshall), Aaron Geise
  • Defense, cross-examine fourth witness (John Burnett), Emily Mitchel
  • Defense, cross-examine fifth witness (Samuel Cloud), Jonathan Normington-Slay
  • Defense, call first witness (Andrew Jackson/Madalyn Thayer ) for Direct Examination, Kennedy Schnittker
  • Prosecution, cross-examine first witness (Andrew Jackson/Madalyn Thayer)
  • Defense, call second witness (Major Ridge/Quinci Bliss) for Direct Examination, Emma Manley
  • Prosecution, cross-examine second witness (Major Ridge/Quinci Bliss)
  • Defense, call third witness (Elias Boudinot/Ashlyn Beatty) for Direct Examination, Aaron Geise
  • Prosecution, cross-examine third witness (Elias Boudinot/Ashlyn Beatty)
  • Defense, call fourth witness (Gen. Scott/Peighton Corso)  for Direct Examination, Emily Mitchel
  • Prosecution, cross-examine fourth witness (Gen. Scott/Peighton Corso)
  • Defense, call fifth witness (Gov. Lumpkin/Noelle Showalter) for Direct Examination, Jonathan Normington-Slay
  • Prosecution, cross-examine fifth witness (Gov. Lumpkin/Noelle Showalter)
  • Defense, closing arguments, Greta Gross