CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Andrew Braun, a student at Hurricane Middle School in Putnam County, was among 10 finalists competing Wednesday to become the Geography Bee national champion. Braun, who was eliminated during the national finals, won the state title in April and the chance to compete in the national bee in Washington, D.C., with Jeopary host Alex Trebek as the moderator.
“Andrew should be proud of his achievement; he is a great representative of the good things going on in West Virginia public schools,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “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 countries. It is imperative that students are prepared to live in a diverse and tolerant society if they are to succeed.”
The winner was Aadith Moorthy from Florida. Oliver Lucier from Rhode Island and Karthik Mouli from Idaho finished third. Other finalists were Pranav Bhandarkar from Georgia, Stefan Petrovic from Kansas, Abhinav Kurada from Massachusetts, Anthony Cheng from Utah, James Stiff from Virginia and Vansh Jain from Wisconsin.
The National Geographic Bee was founded in 1989 in response to the perceived lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the U.S. In a 10-country Gallup survey conducted for the Society in 1988 and 1989, Americans ages 18 to 24 scored lower than their counterparts in the other countries.
This year, nearly five million fifth- to eighth-grade students vied for spots in the national championships during bees held in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools. All Top 10 finalists receive $500 each. The winner gets a U.S. $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Second and third place finalists will receive $15,000 and $10,000 scholarships, respectively.
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.
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