Fifth grader Ben Taylor, a home schooled student from Monongalia County, won first place. Sreyas Menon, a fifth grade student from Morgan Academy in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, earned second place. Andrew Baker, a seventh grade student from Hedgesville Middle School in Hedgesville, West Virginia, earned third place.
Each state winner received $100, a National Geographic globe and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington for the finals. First place in the national competition is a $25,000 scholarship and lifetime members in the National Geographic Society. Second and third place finalists will receive $15,000 and $10,000 scholarships, respectively.
“Geography knowledge plays an increasingly important role in today’s global economy where students are not only competing with students in other states but those in other counties,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “It is imperative that students are prepared to live in a diverse and tolerant society if they are to succeed. These students have grasped that knowledge and will benefit from it.”
The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. In a 10-country Gallup survey conducted for the Society in 1988 and 1989, Americans 18 to 24 years old, the youngest group surveyed, scored lower than their counterparts in the other countries tested.
“A sound knowledge of geography is essential for understanding global events and their impact on the rest of the world,” said John Fahey, president of the National Geographic Society.
For more information, contact Regina Scotchie, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education, at (304) 558-5325 or the Communications Office at (304) 558-2699.