Hardest National Geographic Bee Yet Goes to 13-Year-Old

Christine Dell'Amore
National Geographic News
May 20, 2009

Don't mess with Texas seventh grader Eric Yang—at least when it comes to geography.

Today the 13-year-old swept the toughest National Geographic Bee to date—with a perfect score.

Yang, of Griffin Middle School in The Colony, Texas, won the annual competition during a tie-breaker round with this question: "Timis County shares its name with a tributary of the Danube and is located in the western part of which European country?"

The answer, Romania, comes with a U.S. $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a trip to the Galápagos Islands with Jeopardy! host and Bee moderator Alex Trebek.

The Bee finalists prepared more vigorously than in previous years, prompting organizers to make the questions more difficult for the national finals, said Bee director Mary Lee Elden.

Still, three competitors got perfect scores in the preliminary rounds of the two-day Bee, which was held at National Geographic Society headquarters this week in Washington, D.C.

Yang said this year's questions were "challenging," but that he didn't change his strategy. "I just built on what I already knew," he told National Geographic News. (The National Geographic Society owns National Geographic News.)

Video: The Final Round of Questions



Wallabies and Warriors

Yang was one of ten finalists whittled down from 55 fourth to eighth graders during the Bee, which began in 1989 in response to the lack of geographic knowledge among young Americans.

The 55 contestants had beat out nearly five million students in their state bees to earn spots in the national championships.

The kids hailed from all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Pacific territories, the Department of Defense Dependent Schools, and Washington, D.C.

Continued on Next Page >>


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