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Quick, which countries border Panama? These students know

Youths from across the Sunshine State sweated it out Friday, April 5, as Jacksonville University hosted the state Geographic Bee in a packed Terry Concert Hall. The event gives the winner a spot in the national championship in Washington, D.C. (See photo gallery below.)

JU has hosted the Florida Geographic Bee for 13 years, with JU geography professor Ray Oldakowski as the coordinator.

First Coast students participating in the competition were:

  • 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.