National Geographic Bee: State Winners Earn Their Titles

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A 2002 survey co-conducted by the National Geographic Society polled more than 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds in nine countries. Americans scored second lowest, beating only their counterparts in Mexico.

(Read "Survey Reveals Geographic Illiteracy.")

But for the students participating in the Bee, geographic knowledge is a way of life.

Stephen Cunha, a geography professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, served as the coordinator for the California competition.

In that state contest, he said, 19 students scored a perfect eight out of eight correct answers in the preliminary rounds.

"State finalists come in all shapes and sizes," Cunha said. "We see star athletes and musicians, computer wizards and artists, introverted kids and class clowns.

"They all love geography and share an insatiable curiosity about the world around them."

All states used the same questions, which are divided into core sub-categories, such as physical geography and commerce.

"The Bee may look like a giant Trivial Pursuit contest to the uninitiated, but really the kids who understand the patterns that order our world are the ones that prevail over 25 rounds," Cunha said.

Test Yourself

Some of the state-level questions included:

• Name the peninsula in the Middle East that separates the Gulf of Suez from the Gulf of Aqaba. (Sinai Peninsula)

• A Mexican state that borders Arizona shares its name with a desert. Name this Mexican state. (Sonora)

• Which capital city located on the Suriname River has distinctive Dutch colonial architecture? (Paramaribo)

The national championship round of the National Geographic Bee will be moderated for the 18th year by Jeopardy! quiz show host Alex Trebek.

The finals will air nationwide on May 24 on the National Geographic Channel and will be broadcast later on public television stations.

National Geographic Bee
2006 State Winners

Alabama: Lowell Van Ness, Bumpus Middle School, Hoover

Alaska: Andrew Lee, IDEA, Anchorage

Arizona: Kelsey Schilperoort, Heritage Christian Home Educators, Prescott

Arkansas: Devin Leigh Matthews, Lake Area Homeschool Association, Heber Springs

California: Ryland Lu, Pressman Academy, Los Angeles

Colorado: Autumn Hughes, Chec, Colorado Springs

Connecticut: Liam McCarthy, Middlesex Middle School, Darien

Delaware: Matthew Heitmann, Gunning Bedford Middle School, New Castle

Department of Defense Dependents Schools: Husain Mogri, Bahrain School, Bahrain

District of Columbia: Benjamin Geyer, British School of Washington

Florida: John Kim, Oslo Middle School, Vero Beach

Georgia: Yeshwanth Kandimalla, Simpson Middle School, Marietta

Hawaii: Guthrie Angeles, Kaleiopuu Elementary, Waipahu

Idaho: Ryan Bovard, Jenifer Junior High, Lewiston

Illinois: Bonny Jain, Woodrow Wilson Middle School, Moline

Indiana: Jonathan Hielkema, Highland Christian School, Highland

Iowa: Drew Coffin, Northwest Junior High, Coralville

Kansas: Suneil Iyer, Havencroft Elementary, Olathe

Kentucky: Matthew Hensley, Beaumont Middle School, Lexington

Louisiana: Lee Winkler, Kehoe-France, Metaire

Maine: Alexander Homer, Ellsworth Middle School, Ellsworth

Maryland: James Plamondon, St. John Regional Catholic School, Frederick

Massachusetts: Krishnan Chandra, West Middle School, Andover

Michigan: Matthew Vengalil, Parcells Middle School, Grosse Pointe Woods

Minnesota: Simon Smedberg, Jefferson Community School, Minneapolis

Mississippi: Taide Ding, Central Elementary, Oxford

Missouri: Christopher Winston, Crestview Middle School, Ellisville

Montana: Hannah Goodman, Helena Area Christian Home Education, Helena

Nebraska: Preston Bradley, Lux Middle School, Lincoln

Nevada: Paige dePolo, Little Flower School, Reno

New Hampshire: Neeraj Sirdeshmukh, Fairgrounds Middle School, Nashua

New Jersey: Evan Meltzer, Central Middle School, Stirling

New Mexico: Luis Baca, Albuquerque Academy, Albuquerque

New York: Jonathan Katz, Scarsdale Middle School, Scarsdale

North Carolina: Michael Narup, Myrtle Grove Middle School, Wilmington

North Dakota: Conrad Eggers, Horizon Middle School, Bismarck

Ohio: Nirbhay Jain, Ottawa Hills Junior High, Toledo

Oklahoma: Anthony Gonzalez, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow

Oregon: Michael Ling, Meadow Park Middle School, Beaverton

Pacific Territories: Ian Farley, South Pacific Academy, American Samoa

Pennsylvania: Michael Luo, Eagle View Middle School, Mechanicsburg

Puerto Rico: Francisco Vargas, Saint Johns School, San Juan

Rhode Island: Laura Kulm, Archie Cole Middle School, East Greenwich

South Carolina: Andrew Brill, Anderson Homeschool Association, Easley

South Dakota: Joey Knofczynski, Georgia Morse Middle School, Pierre

Tennessee: Mark Arildsen, University School Of Nashville, Nashville

Texas: Jiawei Li, Beck Junior High, Katy

Utah: Jeffrey Bennett, Midvale Middle School, Midvale

Vermont: Lucas Earl, Randolph Union High, Randolph

Virgin Islands: Sean Marin, St. Croix Country Day School, St. Croix

Virginia: Jose Antonia dela Pena, Families In Support Of Home Education, Oak Hill

Washington: Caitlin Snaring, Family Learning Center, Redmond

West Virginia: Joshua Hamrick, Webster Springs Middle School, Webster Springs

Wisconsin: Oliver Buchino, Marshall Middle School, Marshall

Wyoming: James Mothersbaugh, Park Elementary

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