"The Bab el Mandeb, a strait between the Arabian Peninsula and mainland Africa, connects the Gulf of Aden to what large body of water?" This question determined the winner of the school-level National Geographic Bee held Jan. 10 at Peacham Elementary School.
After a 90-minute competition, Zeb Kane, a fourth-grade student, became the winner of this year's Bee. Sixth-grader Kieran Fletcher was the runner-up. Eight rounds of preliminary round questions narrowed down the field of eight participants to four finalists, which also included fifth graders Hunter Brown and third-place winner Logan Young. Moderator Claire Mead was assisted by community members Charlie Browne and Sean Markey, who served as judge and timer/scorekeeper.
The school-level Bee, in which students answered oral questions on geography, was the first stage in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee for students in grades 4 through 8. The Bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Google.
Since the kickoff for this year's Bee in November, thousands of schools around the United States and its five territories have participated. The school winners, including Zeb, take a written test; up to 100 of the top scorers in each state and territory become eligible to compete in their state Bees on April 4.
The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state champions to participate in the national championship Bee in May. The first-place national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, and a trip to the GalÃ¡pagos Islands. Award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien will moderate the national finals on May 21. The program will air on television.
Last June "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek stepped down after 25 years as moderator of the National Geographic Bee. He demonstrated his dedication to this event by pledging $1 million toward the creation of an endowment to help ensure the program will continue for years to come.
The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge," the Society's mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its many publications, programs, television documentaries, and electronic media. For more information, including an online geography quiz of the day, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee/.
By the way, the answer to the opening question is "the Red Sea."