A Crespi Carmelite High School senior endured an intense 31-round academic competition on Saturday to earn first place and $500 in the San Fernando Valley-Ventura County region of the California Citizen Bee contest.
Joe Erlinger of West Hills defeated 31 students from 11 schools when he correctly named the European nation that controlled the settlement conquered by the English in 1664 and renamed New York.
The answer? The Netherlands.
The regional contest--one of five held throughout Southern California--included students from Santa Clarita and Antelope Valley high schools, as well as Eagle Rock High School.
The competition, designed to test high school students' knowledge of subjects ranging from American history to current events, was sponsored by The Times and the Close Up Foundation, a nonprofit group devoted to promoting civic education.
Erlinger and the other two top students--Steve Rauser, a senior at Chaminade College Preparatory, and Maureen Wan, a senior at Eagle Rock High--will participate in the state competition April 27 at a still-undetermined location. The top three contestants from the state in June will take an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, where they will compete for thousands of dollars in college scholarships in the national competition.
In another academic competition, Jobert Barin, an eighth-grader at Woodrow Wilson Junior High School in Glendale, won first place in the fifth annual Daily News Spelling Bee held at Reseda High School auditorium.
Barin defeated 43 other junior high champions from schools throughout the San Fernando and surrounding valleys by correctly spelling "menagerie." He won a trip to Washington to compete in May at the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.