Young geography aces from all across Florida will come together at Jacksonville University on Friday, April 4, to compete in the state Geographic Bee and a spot in the national championship in Washington, D.C.
JU has hosted the Florida Geographic Bee for 15 years. JU Geography Prof. Ray Oldakowski, the coordinator for Friday’s event, said the competition encourages the teaching and study of geography.
Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees.
First Coast students participating in the competition are John Khovri; River City Science Academy, Jacksonville; Christopher Stearman, St. Joseph Catholic, Jacksonville; Walker Miller, James Weldon Johnson, Jacksonville; Raymond Pace, Callahan Middle School, Callahan; and Joshua Kelley, Orange Park Junior High School, Orange Park.
At last year’s JU event, Walker Miller, a seventh-grader from James Weldon Johnson Middle School, beat out dozens of others to become the state’s National Geographic Bee champion, the first Jacksonville student to win the competition. On the final question, Miller correctly answered “Japan” when asked the name of a large coal importer that is an Asian constitutional monarchy made up of many islands.
This year’s event begins with a welcoming ceremony at 1 p.m. in JU’s Terry Concert Hall, with the final round starting at 3:45 p.m. and the awards presentation at 4:45 p.m.
Organized by the National Geographic Society, the 2014 National Geographic Bee is sponsored by Google. At the state level, the Bee is also sponsored by Plum Creek. The winner of the national competition receives a $50,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively. Additionally, the national winner will travel (with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands to experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscapes of the islands on an expedition aboard the National Geographic Endeavour. Travel for the Galápagos voyage is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.
The top 10 national finalists for 2014 along with next year’s top 10 will be eligible for selection for the three-person team to represent the United States at the National Geographic World Championship in July 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden.
Each state winner will receive $100 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals May 19-21 and the chance to be crowned the 26th National Geographic Bee champion.
The preliminary rounds of the national contest will take place on Monday, May 19. The championship round featuring the top 10 finalists — moderated for the first time by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien — will be held on Wednesday, May 21, at the National Geographic Society. National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round of the Bee at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Thursday, May 22. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.
O’Brien succeeds “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek as moderator. Trebek moderated the National Geographic Bee for 25 years, from its inception in 1989 to 2013.
Visitors to the Bee section of the National Geographic Society website, www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee
, can hone their geography skills with the GeoBee Challenge game. The National Geographic GeoBee Challenge app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past Bees, is available from the Apple® App Store℠ on iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
Media contact: Phillip Milano, JU Director of News and Publications, firstname.lastname@example.org, (904) 256-7042.
About Jacksonville University
Jacksonville University works to prepare each of its more than 4,000 students for lifelong success in learning, achieving, leading and serving. Its nearly 200-acre riverfront campus is just minutes from downtown Jacksonville and the Atlantic Ocean. It has been named one of “America’s Best Colleges” for 10 straight years, and ranks in the top 1% among all Florida colleges for Return on Investment for its graduates. With a 12 to 1 student-faculty ratio and full-time faculty percentage of 80 percent, it offers small class sizes, inviting campus grounds and engaged faculty and staff in a setting that promotes community, ambition and responsibility. JU has nearly 190 full-time faculty and offers more than 70 majors, programs and concentrations. Additionally, it offers graduate degrees in business, choreography, education leadership, marine science, mathematics, nursing, speech-language pathology and orthodontics. JU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) and Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).