Students Compete for State Geography Championship

April 09, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A student at Hurricane Middle School in Putnam County is West Virginia's 2010 Geography Bee state champion. Andrew Braun claimed his title on Friday in Charleston. For his efforts, he received a globe, $100 from National Geographic, a binocular package and a certificate for an all expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition in May. 
Clay Fritz, a student at Petersburg Elementary School in County, finished second and received $75, a globe and the binocular package. Abel Abraham, a student at St. Francis Central Catholic School in Morgantown finished third and received $50, a globe and binoculars.
Nearly 100 fourth through eighth grade students earned their chance to compete on the state level by winning local geography bees and getting a top score on a written exam prepared by the National Geographic Society. All competitors received a National Geography Bee T-shirt, a West Virginia State Geography Bee 2010 backpack and a participant certificate.

First place in the national competition is a $25,000 scholarship and lifetime membership 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 countries,” 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 ages 18 to 24 scored lower than their counterparts in the other countries.

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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