WASHINGTON (May 9, 2011)—Fifty-four of the nation’s brightest young geography brainiacs will gather in Washington, D.C., on May 24 and 25 to take part in the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee. The fourth- to eighth-graders, ranging in age from 10 to 14, will be vying for the Bee crown and three 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 islands’ wildlife and landscape. Travel for the Galápagos trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and the National Geographic Society.
The 54 finalists, all winners of their state-level geographic bees, have triumphed over a field of nearly 5 million students to earn a place in the national championships. They represent the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
The preliminary round of the National Geographic Bee will take place on Tuesday, May 24. The top 10 finalists will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 25, which will be moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
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. The May 25 finals will also be broadcast later on public television stations, presented by Maryland Public Television. Check local listings for viewing dates and times.
Eight of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners; one of the eight is competing for the third time. Alex Kimn represented South Dakota at the 2009 and 2010 championships. Isabella Contolini of Colorado, Stefan Petrović of Kansas, James Anthony Stoner of Louisiana, Jacob Tanner of Michigan, Joshua Vogel of Missouri, Tine Valencic of Texas and Anthony Cheng of Utah were state winners in 2010.
The top 10 national finalists from both 2010 and 2011 are eligible to be selected for the three-person team to represent the United States 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.
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 are on their school’s honor rolls; many have won math, science and spelling contests; a number play musical instruments; and most play a variety of sports.
Teachers and grandparents top the list of people the students admire (apart from their parents), followed by Barack Obama and other U.S. presidents. While many of the kids said they are perfectly content being themselves, sports star, U.S. president and diplomat head the list of other people they might choose to be.
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; in the Android Market; and for Nook Color. National Geographic will offer the app for free in all stores the week leading up to the Bee, May 19-26, and again June 9-16 to coincide with the National Geographic Channel airing of Bee programming.
John Fahey, National Geographic Society chairman and CEO, said, “National Geographic’s mission is to inspire people to care about planet. Through the National Geographic Bee and everything else we do at the Society, we hope to foster a lifelong passion for learning about the wonders of the Earth and its diverse lands and cultures.”
Google Inc. is sponsoring the Bee for the third year. “The National Geographic Bee provides an incredible opportunity to inspire a future generation of leaders and innovators to learn more about the world around them,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of Google Earth and Maps. “I have always been impressed by the caliber of students that make it to the national finals, and this year is no different. We are thrilled to be partnering with National Geographic again on this year’s competition and delighted to be hosting the 2011 World Championship finals at Google’s headquarters. Good luck to all the finalists.”
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 2010 National Geographic Bee champion was Florida’s Aadith Moorthy, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Palm Harbor Middle School in Palm Harbor, Fla. The winning question was: The largest city in northern Haiti was renamed following Haiti’s independence from France. What is the present-day name of this city? Answer: Cap-Haïtien.
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 400 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 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
NOTE: Profiles of the 54 state winners can be found on National Geographic’s online press room at http://bit.ly/GeoBee2011 (username: press | password: press), and videos of many of the finalists will be posted at http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic.
The http://bit.ly/GeoBee2011 press room site will be updated on Wednesday, May 25, with the names and pictures of the 2011 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up, as well as the winning question.