Washington State's Three-time Finalist Wins National Geographic Bee

by Reggie Royston
National Geographic News
May 23, 2001

Fourteen-year-old Kyle Haddad-Fonda of the State of Washington earned the top spot in this year's National Geographic Bee hosted at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., Wednesday.

The three-time "Geo Bee" finalist clinched the championship by identifying the region below a glacier's line of equilibrium where there is melting, evaporation, and sublimation, as "the zone of ablation."

"All the questions were hard," said Kyle after winning National Geographic 's 13th annual Bee. "A lot of kids here know a lot about geography. It just happened to work out for me."

Kyle, an 8th grader at The Evergreen School in Shoreline, a suburb of Seattle, has represented his state three times in the geography tournament that is contested each year by nearly 5 million students throughout the United States. He is also the youngest person used as a "lifeline" for the popular television show, Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.

He will receive a U.S. $25,000 scholarship for college and a lifetime subscription to National Geographic, the official journal of the Society.

Nick Jachowski from Hawaii, also 14, came in second, losing to Haddad-Fonda by four questions to two in the final round. An 8th grader at the Samuel Enoka Kalama Intermediate School in Makawao, Maui, Nick won a $15,000 college scholarship.

Jason Ferguson, a home-schooled 13-year-old from Dallas, Texas, won the third-place scholarship of $10,000.

This year's Bee was sponsored by First USA.

2001 Bee "Harder Than Ever"

Gilbert Grosvenor, chairman of the National Geographic Society, opened the contest remarking that the questions for the 2001 Bee were harder than ever.

But love of geography and the prospect of winning top honors compelled students from 18,000 schools across America to compete just the same. They represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.

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