Education

SCASD students impress in state/national competitions

Prithvi Narayananm was among three SCASD students to participate in the state finals of the National Geographic Bee on March 31 in Harrisburg. He placed fifth overall.
Prithvi Narayananm was among three SCASD students to participate in the state finals of the National Geographic Bee on March 31 in Harrisburg. He placed fifth overall. Photo provided

State College Area School District students are making a name for themselves at a young age.

State High junior Joey Feffer was named to the U.S. national linguistics team for an international competition this summer in Dublin, Ireland. He also was named a semifinalist in the U.S. Presidential Scholarship program.

Prithvi Narayanan, a fifth-grader at Radio Park Elementary School, finished fifth out of 105 participants in the state Geography Bee in Harrisburg, and was the highest-ranked finisher among elementary school students.

Joey Feffer

According to a press release from the district, Feffer was named a team member by the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad competition.

He’ll represent the country in the 15th International Linguistics Olympiad held July 31 to Aug. 4, and compete on one of two four-person teams.

To qualify, Feffer passed two rounds of NACLO tests, SCASD spokesman Chris Rosenblum said.

More than 1,500 students from North America competed in the open round, where the objective was to solve linguistic puzzles about Tshiluba, Vietnamese, Turkish, Persian, Tamil and central Alaskan Yup’ik languages.

Other subjects, Rosenblum said, included neural networks, regular expressions and finite-state transducers.

About 160 students then advanced to the invitational round on March 9.

Rosenblum said they “tackled problems addressing topics such as automata rewriting, context-based semantic inference, and recursive grammar, and languages such as Basque, Norwegian, Abkhaz, Maori, Bulgarian, Khakas and Proto-Algonquian.”

The top-eight students made the national team and will compete against 30 countries.

According to a separate release from the U.S. Department of Education, Feffer was also named a semifinalist for a government scholarship program.

The U.S. Presidential Scholarship program honors students for academic and artistic achievement, leadership qualities, character and community and school involvement.

Feffer is among 722 finalists from a total pool of almost 5,100 candidates, the report said.

Scholarship recipients will be named later this month.

Prithvi Narayanan

Prithvi was among three SCASD students to participate in the state finals of the National Geographic Bee on March 31 in Harrisburg.

He placed the highest among them, at fifth overall.

The National Geographic Bee is a competition for elementary and middle school students that quizzes students on North American and world geography, including physical geography, food crops, westward expansion, trees, migration, mountainous terrain, highways and more.

A report said about 3 million students in fourth to eighth grades from almost 10,000 schools across the country participated in National Geographic school bees, then took a qualifying test to participate in the state competition.

Only a few thousand from that group then make it to the state level.

The bee allows representatives from schools to register students in the competition, of which about 30 students from Radio Park participated in the preliminary school competition.

School geography bee competitions involve multiple rounds of questions. Winners from all registered schools then take a written examination — the top 100 qualify for states.

Once at the state final, a preliminary round includes eight oral questions. The top 10 participants from the preliminary round then head to the final round.

According to Prithvi’s mother, Priya Baboo, he received a perfect score during the preliminary round.

Other State College Area students who participated in states were eighth-graders James Connelly, from Park Forest Middle School, and Megan Doucette from Mount Nittany Middle School.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

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