WASHINGTON (May 21, 2008)—Eleven-year-old sixth-grader Akshay Rajagopal of Lincoln, Nebraska, took top honors at the 2008 National Geographic Bee held in Washington, D.C., today. He won a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Akshay, who attends Lux Middle School in Lincoln, did not miss a single question in yesterday’s preliminary rounds or today’s final and championship rounds.
Second-place winner and recipient of a $15,000 college scholarship was Alabama’s Hunter Bledsoe, 13, an eighth-grader at Hewitt Trussville Middle School in Trussville, northeast of Birmingham. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to William Lee of Massachusetts. He is a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Joyce Middle School in Woburn, north of Boston.
The winning question was: The urban area of Cochabamba has been in the news in recent years due to protests over the privatization of the municipal water supply and regional autonomy issues. Cochabamba is the third largest conurbation in what country? Answer: Bolivia.
Fifty-five state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2008 National Geographic Bee on Tuesday, May 20. The top 10 contestants met in today’s final round, which was moderated for the 20th year by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. The seven other finalists were Nikhil Desai of California; Benjamin Geyer of Washington, D.C.; Erik Troske of Indiana; Isaac Pasley of Missouri; Joseph Perea of Montana; Milan Sandhu of New Hampshire; and Taylor Morris of North Carolina.
Nearly 5 million students take part in the National Geographic Bee each year.