Two students from Rota and Tinian are the top winners in this year's Public School System Geography Bee and will advance to the statewide competition against counterparts in the Pacific region.
Jacelynn Atalig and Craig Crisostimo bested 16 contenders from public and private schools during a written examination administered to all Commonwealth students in January.
Atalig is a sixth-grade student at Sinapalo Elementary School. She is the daughter of Jason and Gracia Atalig. She is the second eldest among four siblings and has been attending Sinapalo Elementary School since kindergarten.
Atalig enjoys geography and learning about culture and other places. She is also into music, dancing, animé, and reading. She is one of the officers of the Animé Club that she and other students founded.
Crisostimo is a sixth-grader at Tinian Elementary School and is the son of Gerald and Ann Marie Crisostimo. According to his principal, Dionne Santos, this is Crisostimo's second time to qualify to the regional level. He has been participating in-and topping-the school-level geography bee competitions since fourth grade.
According to Santos, Crisostimo has consistently received academic awards for achieving proficiency across all content areas, good citizenship, and perfect attendance. He is also an excellent model for other students.
PSS assessment coordinator Rey Tigilau said that Atalig and Crisostimo will be competing with other geography bee winners from the Pacific islands, including Guam and American Samoa, at the regionals. If they make it through, they will be the region's representative to the National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C. in May.
Tigilau said all regional contenders will simultaneously take the examination prepared by the National Geographic Society on April 5 at their respective schools. Whoever gets the highest score will advance to the nationals.
CNMI private and public schools had their school-wide geography bee in December. The top winners of individual schools are the participants in the CNMI-wide competition.