Tine Valencic, 13, a seventh-grader at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas, took top honors at the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee held in Washington, D.C., today. He won a $25,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip for two to the Galápagos Islands provided by National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions.
Second-place winner and recipient of a $15,000 college scholarship was Georgia’s Nilai Sarda, 11, a seventh-grader at The Westminster School in Atlanta. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to Kansas’ Stefan Petrović, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at South Junior High School in Lawrence.
The winning question was: Thousands of mountain climbers and trekkers rely on Sherpas to aid their ascent of Mount Everest. The southern part of Mount Everest is located in which Nepalese national park? Answer: Sagarmatha National Park.
Fifty-four state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2011 National Geographic Bee on Tuesday, May 24. The top 10 finishers in the prelims met in today’s final round, which was moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. The seven other finalists, who won $500, were Andrew Hull, 10, of Alaska: Luke Hellum, 13, of Arizona; Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, 10, of California; Kevin Mi, 13, of Indiana; Karthik Karnik, 13, of Massachusetts; Alex Kimn, 13, of South Dakota; and Anthony Cheng, 12, of Utah.
National Geographic Channel will air the Bee competition as well as the journey of the finalists from the state competitions through the finals over four nights beginning Monday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Today’s finals also will be broadcast later on public television stations, presented by Maryland Public Television. Check local listings for viewing dates and times.
The top 10 national finalists from both 2011 and 2010 are eligible to be selected for the three-person U.S. team at the National Geographic World Championship to be held at various locales in the San Francisco area in July 2011, with the finals taking place at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 5 million students from more than 12,000 schools took part in the 2011 National Geographic Bee, which was sponsored by Google
For b-roll of the winning moment and the award presentation, go to http://press.nationalgeographic.com/downloads/bee_2011 (username: press | password: press).
Profiles of the 54 competitors can be found on National Geographic’s online press room at http://bit.ly/GeoBee2011 (username: press | password: press). For videos of many of the finalists, go to http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic.
For first-place winner: Stephanie Montgomery, (202) 857-5838, firstname.lastname@example.org
For second-place winner: Anna Kukelhaus, (202) 775-6717, email@example.com
For third-place winner: Anna Irwin (202) 862-8267, firstname.lastname@example.org