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JU to host Florida Geographic Bee April 5; state title, Washington trip on line for young scholars

National Geographic Bee host Alex Trebek with the two finalists from the 2012 Bee.

Young geography whizzes from throughout Florida will come together at Jacksonville University on Friday, April 5, 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 13 years; geography professor Ray Oldakowski is the coordinator.

First Coast students participating in the competition are:

  • Walker T. Miller, seventh grade, James Weldon Johnson Middle-Jacksonville
  • Dorrian J. Regan, seventh grade, San Jose Catholic-Jacksonville
  • Alexander J. Lazzara eighth grade, Palmer Catholic-Ponte Vedra Beach
  • Zachary G. Graves, seventh grade, Fruit Cove Middle-St. Johns
  • Raymond A. Pace, seventh grade, Callahan Middle

Organized by the National Geographic Society, the 25th annual competition for fourth- through eighth-graders is sponsored nationally by Google and on the state level by Plum Creek. With a first-place prize of a $25,000 college scholarship – and other prizes in additional scholarships and cash – the national competition is designed to encourage the teaching and study of geography.

Each state winner receives $100, “The Complete National Geographic “on DVD and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals.  A three-person U.S. team will represent the United States at the national Geographic World Championship in July in St. Petersburg, Russia.

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 App Store on iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Google Play.