MSS student qualifies as a semifinalist in the New Jersey National Geographic State Bee for third year in a row

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For the third year in a row Mustard Seed School student and Hoboken resident Luke Rostan has qualified to compete as a semifinalist in the annual New Jersey National Geographic State Bee. On April 6, 2018, Rostan will compete against other New Jersey fourth-eighth grade semifinalists at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ.

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition. Rostan won the Mustard Seed School geography bee, then took a qualifying test. Now he studies throughout the week to prepare for the semifinals. Obscure facts that stick in his mind are his favorite things to study, like the fact that the Musandam Governorate is an enclave of Oman.

“I like that geography is a really broad topic,” says Rostan. “There are so many new places that I’ve never heard about. Then once I learn about a place, I’ll often hear it mentioned somewhere and I’ll know something about it. I can make real-world connections.”

As an experienced three-time semifinalist, Rostan has some advice for the other competitors: take pride in your work, keep an open mindset, and focus on the questions. Finally, listen to the questions asked of the other competitors. Think about them, answer them mentally, and use the competition for more practice and learning.

The prize for winning the New Jersey National Geographic State Bee is $200, the National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World, 2nd Edition and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent New Jersey in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 20-23, 2018. Students that come in second place will receive $150 and those that come in third will receive $100. The first-place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. Visit for more information on the National Geographic Bee.

National Geographic will stream the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship starting May 24, 2018, at

View the press release.

Abby Liu

ABBY LIU, Director of Marketing and Communications

Ms. Liu loves to tell the Mustard Seed story. She’s the parent of a current MSS student and a recent alum.