WASHINGTON (May 2, 2013)—Fifty-four of the nation’s brightest young geography geniuses will gather in Washington, D.C., from May 20 to 22 to take part in the 25th annual National Geographic Bee. The fourth- through eighth-graders, ranging in age from 10 to 14, will be competing for the 2013 Bee crown and three college scholarships worth $50,000. Google is the sponsor of this year’s contest.
The National Geographic Bee champion will win the top prize of a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers will be awarded college scholarships of $15,000 and $10,000. Additionally, the national winner will travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of the islands on an expedition aboard the Lindblad ship National Geographic Endeavour. Travel for the Galápagos voyage is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The 54 finalists, winners of their state-level geographic bees, have beaten millions of students to earn a place in the national contest. They represent the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
The preliminary round of the 2013 National Geographic Bee will take place on Monday, May 20. The top 10 finalists will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 22, moderated for the 25th year by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek. This will be Trebek’s last year as Bee moderator.
To mark the Bee’s 25th anniversary, Wednesday’s final round will be held at The National Theatre in Washington, D.C., and for the first and only time, tickets to the finals are on sale to the public at http://nglive.org/geobee.
National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 23. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.
Ten of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners; three of them are competing for the third time. Christian Boekhout of Arkansas, Michael Borecki of Connecticut and Krish Patel of South Carolina represented their states at the 2011 and 2012 Bees. Two-time returnees who participated in the 2012 national contest are Pranit Nanda of Colorado, Conrad Oberhaus of Illinois, Andrew Christy of West Virginia and Neelam Sandhu of New Hampshire. Sandhu was a top-10 finalist last year. Returning for the second time since 2011 are Tuvya Bergson-Michelson of California, a top-10 finalist; Andrew Anderton of Hawaii; and Harish Palani of Oregon.
Both this year’s and last year’s top 10 national finalists are eligible for selection to the three-person team that will represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship, to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia, from July 28 to 31. Nineteen national teams will participate.
Three of this year’s state winners are following in their sibling’s footsteps. Wisconsin’s Asha Jain’s brother, Vansh, was a three-time state winner, taking second place at last year’s National Geographic Bee and finishing in the top 10 in 2010. Massachusetts’ Sathwik Karnik’s brother, Karthik, was a two-time state winner, finishing in the top 10 in both 2011 and 2012. Also a two-time state winner, in 2007 and 2008, was Milan Sandhu, brother of New Hampshire’s Neelam Sandhu. He finished in the top 10 in 2008.
A survey of this year’s state and territory Bee winners shows that they have numerous talents in addition to their prodigious geography knowledge. Many have won math, science and spelling contests; a number play musical instruments; and most enjoy a variety of sports and other outdoor activities. Grandparents and teachers top the list of people (apart from their parents) whom the students admire.
John Fahey, National Geographic Society chairman and CEO, said, “2013 is a special year for us as we celebrate two important anniversaries: the Society’s 125th and the National Geographic Bee’s 25th. As we look to the future — and an exciting new age of exploration — our work of fostering young talent who will be the scientists, explorers and brightest minds of tomorrow is more important than ever. Through the National Geographic Bee and our other activities, we hope to encourage a lifelong passion for learning about the world and its many wonders, challenges and opportunities for exploration and discovery.”
Google is sponsoring the Bee for the fifth year. “Because maps are such an integral part of how we live and do business, it’s important that we invest in geographic literacy and education,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering, Google Earth and Maps. “The students who participate in the National Geographic Bee have demonstrated an impressive understanding of the world around them, and we’re thrilled that young minds across the globe are using Google Geo products to learn and collaborate. In this 25th year of the competition, we’re proud to sponsor the program and encourage the next generation of explorers and innovators.”
The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.
The National Geographic GeoBee Challenge app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past Bees, is available from the App Store on iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, and on Google Play.
The 2012 National Geographic Bee champion was Rahul Nagvekar of Sugar Land, near Houston, a then-14-year-old eighth-grader at Quail Valley Middle School in Missouri City, Texas. The winning question was: “Name the Bavarian city located on the Danube River that was a legislative seat of the Holy Roman Empire from 1663 to 1806?” Answer: Regensburg.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 450 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and also funds programs that promote geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
Note to Editors: Press resources and profiles of the 54 state winners can be found at the press room site http://bit.ly/GeoBee2013 (username & password: press). Videos of many of the finalists will be posted at http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic from May 13.
The press room site will be updated at noon on Wednesday, May 22, with the names and pictures of the 2013 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up as well as the winning question.