The Edmond Sun

April 3, 2013

Locals make it into state Geographic Bee


Special to The Sun

OKLA. CITY — On Friday, young geography whizzes across the United States and U.S. territories will participate in state-level Geographic Bees, competing for a spot in the 25th annual National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., in May.

Organized by the National Geographic Society, the 2013 National Geographic Bee is sponsored by Google. At the state level, the Bee is also sponsored by Plum Creek.

One hundred bright students from across Oklahoma will be competing Friday in the state-level competition of the 25th annual National Geographic Bee at University of Oklahoma in Norman. Preliminary rounds will begin at 10 a.m. and the final round will begin at 12:45 p.m.

Those from the Edmond and Deer Creek-Edmond area include: Jace M. Pevey, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, seventh-grade; Paul R. Hardt, Northern Hills Elementary, fifth-grade; Cal Shaklee, Grove Valley Elementary, fourth-grade; Saba N. Rashid, Mercy School Institute, eighth-grade; Tariq A. Ebrahim, Summit Middle School, eighth-grade; Joseph Pitzer, Edmond Home Educators, sixth-grade; Dane C. Farris, Deer Creek Intermediate, fifth-grade; Ari J. Papahronis, Sequoyah Middle School, eighth-grade; Robert S. Whittington, Oakdale, eighth-grade; and Nate J. Siress, Deer Creek Middle School, eighth-grade.

The winner will represent the state in the national competition May 20-22 in Washington, D.C.

Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees. Each state winner will receive $100, “The Complete National Geographic” on DVD and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 20-22 and the chance to be crowned the 25th National Geographic Bee champion.

First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. Additionally, the national winner will travel (with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography first-hand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscapes 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 top 10 national finalists for 2013 along with last year’s top 10 will be eligible for selection for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship in July, to be in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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.”

The state Bees are the second level of the annual National Geographic Bee. The first level began last November with contests in nearly 11,000 U.S. schools, in which millions of students participated.

The preliminary rounds of the national contest will take place on May 20. The championship round featuring the top 10 finalists — moderated by “Jeopardy!” quiz master Alex Trebek for the 25th year — will be May 22 at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. For the first and only time, tickets for the national finals are on sale to the public at nglive.org/geobee. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round at 7 p.m. May 23. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

Visitors to the Bee section of the National Geographic Society website at www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee can hone their geography skills with the GeoBee Challenge game.

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 on Google Play.

National Geographic developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.