NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- Approximately 70 students from Isaac E. Young Middle School and Albert Leonard Middle School answered tough quizzes about mountain passes, rivers and state boundaries when they participated in the first round of the 30th annual National Geographic Bee competition, held Jan. 29 and 30.
Brian Hernandez, an Isaac E. Young Middle School eighth-grader, and Nikhil Mukraj, an Albert Leonard Middle School seventh-grader, won their respective schools' competition and have a chance for a $50,000 college scholarship, should they win the national competition.
Both students took a qualifying test to see if they would be among up to 100 top test scorers statewide to be eligible to compete in the New York State bee on April 6.
At IEYMS, eighth-grader Alexander Cross won second place; with seventh-grader Nate Morris taking second place at ALMS.
Secondary Schools Social Studies and Business Chairperson Gustavo Barbosa reinforced that knowledge of geography knowledge has significance in society.
"Geography plays important roles in the evolution of people, their ideas, places and environments," said Barbosa. "It's not about a map or today's GPS software. Knowing and understanding a mental map of your community, country or any part of the world allows you to understand the 'where' of places and events and have better knowledge of why things happened as they did."
The National Geographic Bee, held since 1989, is open to students in the fourth through eighth grades at 10,000 participating schools.
The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for state winners to participate in the bee's national championship rounds from May 20 to 23.
In addition to a $50,000 college scholarship, the first-place national champion will receive a lifetime membership in the society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll.