EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 23, 2012

Islamic Academy students win geography bee

METHUEN — Hard work paid off for five students from The Islamic Academy for Peace who won first place at the Jowdy World Geography Bee for the second time in the school’s 11 year history.

They won the first time in 2007 and came in second place three years in a row, from 2009 to 2011.

“Before, we were so close and finally we can say we did it,” said Leena Hamad, the team’s captain. “It feels good knowing you accomplished something”.

Jowdy Challenge is a series of contests, entertainment, and food, made possible by the continuous support of Theresa Jowdy, in memory of her husband Edward Jowdy. The Jowdys suggested a contest to promote geography education. Students had three rounds of 35 questions.

The students compete against area public school as well as Catholic schools including St. Michael School in North Andover and Blessed Bellesini Academy in Lawrence.

Teacher Amanda Cudmore was the geography bee coach. Cudmore tested fifth- to eighth-graders at the school using questions from the geography bee and students with the top five scores were chosen to participate. They were: Leena Hamad, the team’s captain, and Nadha Illikkal, both eighth-graders; Mahdi Hamad, fifth grade; Moumina Khan and Kelthoum Fathi, both sixth-graders.

“Knowing we survived one round helped us do better on the second one because we became more confident,” Moumina said.

In addition to world geography, there was a series of questions on sites in Lawrence, including City Hall, Campagnone Common, the soldier’s and sailor’s monument dedicated to Lawrence men who died during the Civil War, the Casey Bridge, and the Ayer Mill Clock.

In addition to preparing for the competition after school, Cudmore said students also took work home to study.

“The students worked very hard and were willing to put a lot of time to prepare,” Cudmore said.

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