Photograph by Mark Thiessen
Since the first National Geographic Bee in 1989, millions of students have competed each year for a U.S. $25,000 college scholarship and the honor of being national champion.
The champions have come from diverse backgrounds—ranging from large cities to family farms. They have had varied interests and today are pursuing different educational paths. Among their shared characteristics are the desire to excel and an inherent curiosity about geography and the world around them.
On March 30, 2012 about 100 fourth to eighth graders in each of the 50 states, D.C., U.S. territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools faced off during the National Geographic state level bees.
The 54 winners listed below will be competing at the May 22-24 championship in Washington, D.C.
Daniel Picard, 7th Grade, Berry Middle School, Hoover
Andrew Hull, 6th Grade, Rogers Park Elementary School, Anchorage
Raghav Ranga, 8th Grade, St. Gregory College Preparatory School, Tucson
Christian Boekhout, 6th Grade, Hot Springs Intermediate School, Hot Springs
Gilberto Marxaach, 8th Grade, Academia del Perpetuo Socorro, San Juan
Varun Mahadevan, 7th Grade, Prince of Peace Lutheran School, Fremont
Pranit Nanda, 6th Grade, Aurora Quest K-8 School, Aurora
Michael Borecki, 7th Grade, Middlesex Middle School, Darien
Tomasz Mroz, 5th Grade, North Star Elementary School, Hockesin
DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE DEPENDENTS SCHOOLS
Dominik Muellerleile, 8th Grade, Wiesbaden Middle School, Wiesbaden, Germany
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Matthew Wilson, 7th Grade, Blessed Sacrament School
Maya Patel, 8th Grade, Liberty Middle School, Tampa
Sahr Singh, 7th Grade, Dodgen Middle School, Marietta
Mika Ishii, 4th Grade, John Wilson Elementary School, Honolulu
Matthew Miller, 5th Grade, Russell Elementary School, Moscow
Conrad Oberhaus, 6th Grade, Daniel Wright Junior High School, Lincolnshire
Caroline Peterson, 8th Grade, St. Joseph County Homeschoolers, South Bend
John Mahoney, 7th Grade, Stillwell Junior High School, West Des Moines
Ganesh Aruna, 8th Grade, Overland Trail Middle School, Overland Park
Nikhil Krishna, 6th Grade, Corbin Intermediate School, Corbin
James Anthony Stoner, 8th Grade, Jesuit High School, New Orleans
Benjamin MacLean, 8th Grade, York Middle School, York
Adam Rusak, 8th Grade, Lakelands Park Middle School, Gaithersburg
Karthik Karnik, 8th Grade, King Philip Regional Middle School, Norfolk
Philip Huang, 6th Grade, Wayne County Home Educators, Farmington Hills
Gopi Ramanathan, 8th Grade, Sartell Middle School, Sartell
Josh Waldbieser, 8th Grade, Margaret Green Junior High School, Cleveland
Jack Langen, 8th Grade, West Junior High School, Columbia
Rosie McCormack, 8th Grade, St. Joseph Catholic School, Missoula
Jack Nussrallah, 6th Grade, Mary Our Queen School, Omaha
Nikolas Papameletiou, 8th Grade, St. Anne Catholic School, Las Vegas
Neelam Sandhu, 7th Grade, Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, Bedford
Siddharth Kurella, 8th Grade, Crossroads North Middle School, Monmouth Junction
Gabriel Cuneo, 6th Grade, Shepherd Lutheran School, Albuquerque
Aparna Nair-Kanneganti, 8th Grade, Henry H. Wells Middle School, Brewster
William (Frank) Kenny, 8th Grade, Charlotte Latin School, Charlotte
Tanner Carlson, 7th Grade, Horizon Middle School, Bismarck
Hayden Toftner, 6th Grade, Olentangy Berkshire Middle School, Galena
Ari Papahronis, 7th Grade, Sequoyah Middle School, Edmond
Pragyna Naik, 6th Grade, Franklin K-8 School of Choice, Corvallis
Leonard Calvo, 7th Grade, Bishop Baumgartner Memorial Catholic School, Guam
Arnav Jagasia, 8th Grade, Radnor Middle School, Wayne
Maxwell Levine, 6th Grade, Wheeler School, Providence
Krish Patel, 6th Grade, Pinewood Preparatory School, Summerville
Adam Wiegert, 7th Grade, Patrick Henry Middle School, Sioux Falls
Alexander Wilaniskis, 7th Grade, East Ridge Middle School, Whitesburg
Rahul Nagveker, 8th Grade, Quail Valley Middle School, Missouri City
Anthony Cheng, 8th Grade, Midvale Middle School, Midvale
Christopher Gish, 8th Grade, Sharon Academy, Sharon
Kevin Zhan, 8th Grade, George H. Moody Middle School, Henrico
Nicholas Helmer, 8th Grade, Discovery Middle School, Vancouver
Andrew Christy, 6th Grade, St. Francis Central Catholic School, Morgantown
Vansh Jain, 8th Grade, MHLT Elementary School, Minocqua
August Prevedel, 8th Grade, Rock Springs Junior High School, Rock Springs
Fifty-four of the nation's brightest young geography whiz kids gathered in Washington, D.C., last spring to take part in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee.
For Teachers and Parents
Learn more about the new online registration process for qualifying schools: U.S. schools with any grade 4-8.
Every competition has rules—read ours, then let the fun begin!
Wondering how to register for the Bee or how to prepare? Our "Frequently Asked Questions" have the answers!
What's the best way for students to prepare for the Bee? Here are some tips from the National Geographic Bee.
Answer sample questions from the National Geographic Bee, and get ideas on how to look for clues within the questions that can help you figure out the right answers.
The latest from the National Geographic Store will help you prepare for the Bee.
More Travel Quizzes
Teachers can use these activities in the classroom to prepare students for the bee!
Simply memorizing terms and place locations can be tedious and even boring. One solution is to make the task fun with an atlas-based scavenger game.
The movement of people, goods, or ideas from one place to another is a process known as diffusion, which plays an important role in shaping the characteristics of where we live.
Springtime brings the possibility of extreme weather, including violent thunderstorms and tornadoes.