WASHINGTON (May 2, 2012)—Fifty-four of the nation’s brightest young geography brainiacs will gather in Washington, D.C., from May 22 to 24 to take part in the 24th annual National Geographic Bee. The fourth- through eighth-graders, ranging in age from 10 to 14, will be competing for the 2012 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 wildlife and landscape of the islands on an expedition aboard the 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 2012 National Geographic Bee will take place on Tuesday, May 22. The top 10 finalists will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Thursday, May 24, which will be moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.
National Geographic Channel (NGC) will air the final round on May 24 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT. This two-hour primetime special will be simulcast on NGC and Nat Geo WILD. The Bee also will air later on public broadcasting stations; check local listings for dates and times.
Thirteen of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners; three of the 13 are competing for the third time. Anthony Stoner of Louisiana and Anthony Cheng of Utah represented their states at the 2010 and 2011 championships; Vansh Jain of Wisconsin was his state’s winner in 2009 and 2010. Two-time returnees who participated in the 2011 national contest are Daniel Picard of Alabama, Andrew Hull of Alaska, Christian Boekhout of Arkansas, Michael Borecki of Connecticut, Benjamin MacLean of Maine, Karthik Karnik of Massachusetts, Tanner Carlson of North Dakota and Krish Patel of South Carolina. Returning for the second time since 2010 are Matthew Wilson of the District of Columbia and Gopi Ramanathan of Minnesota.
This year’s top 10 national finalists as well as next year’s top 10 may be eligible for selection to the three-person team that will represent the United States at the international National Geographic World Championship in 2013, to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia.
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 honor rolls; many have won math, science and spelling contests; a number play musical instruments; and most enjoy a variety of sports and other outdoor activities.
Teachers, grandparents and other family members top the list of people (apart from their parents) whom the students admire. While many kids said they are quite content being themselves, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, U.S. president and past Bee champion head the list of other people they might choose to be.
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 Earth and its diverse lands and cultures.”
Google is sponsoring the Bee for the fourth year. “The National Geographic Bee provides students with a unique opportunity to showcase their knowledge about the world around them. Our teams at Google are thrilled that young minds are using Google Earth as an educational tool to deepen their understanding of both natural and human geography,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering, Google Earth and Maps. “We’re proud to sponsor a competition that demonstrates the power of technology to foster learning and inspire future generations, and we wish all this year’s national finalists the best of luck.”
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, or in the Android Market.
National Geographic Books recently updated two Bee-related volumes: “The National Geographic Bee Ultimate Fact Book: Countries A to Z” (ISBN 978-1-4263-0947-2), by 2004 National Geographic Bee champion Andrew Wojtanik, and “How to Win the National Geographic Bee: Official Study Guide, 4th Edition” (ISBN 978-1-4263-0986-1), by Stephen Cunha.
The 2011 National Geographic Bee champion was Tine Valencic, 13, a seventh-grader at Colleyville Middle School in Colleyville, a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. 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.
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 10,000 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 http://bit.ly/geobee2012 (username & password: press), and videos of many of the finalists will be posted at http://www.youtube.com/nationalgeographic.
The http://bit.ly/geobee2012 press room site will be updated at noon on Thursday, May 24, with the names and pictures of the 2012 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up as well as the winning question.
Contact: Carrie Engel – firstname.lastname@example.org