A record number of Indian American tweens and teens will compete in the 2012 National Geographic Bee May 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
Fifty-four state geography bees were held throughout the U.S. Mar. 30, determining the contestants who will face off at the national championships next month. Seventeen Indian Americans will represent their states in the tough, nail-biting, annual competition, which is aimed at incentivizing teachers and schools to include more geography lessons in their curriculum. Students in 4th to 8th grade are eligible to compete.
Indian Americans have always featured prominently in the National Geographic Bee finals, hosted in the nation’s capitol by “Jeopardy’s” Alex Trebek. Last year, Nilai Sarda of Atlanta, Georgia took second place in the 2011 Bee. Karthik Karnik, of Norfolk, Mass., took 5th place. Karnik is competing again in this year’s competition.
In 2010, 13-year-old Aadith Moorthy of Palm Harbor, Fla., adeptly won the National Geographic Bee, taking home a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
The 2012 National Geographic Bee Indian American state winners are:
• Raghav Ranga, 8th grade, St. Gregory College Preparatory School, Tucson, Ariz.
• Varun Mahadevan, 7th grade, Prince of Peace Lutheran School, Fremont, Calif.
• Pranit Nanda, 6th grade, Aurora Quest K-8 School, Aurora, Colo.
• Maya Patel, 8th grade, Liberty Middle School, Tampa, Fla.
• Sahr Singh, 7th grade, Dodgen Middle School, Marietta, Georgia
• Ganesh Aruna, 8th grade, Overland Trail Middle School, Overland Park, Kansas
• Nikhil Krishna, 6th grade, Corbin Intermediate School, Corbin, Kentucky
• Karthik Karnik, 8th grade, King Philip Regional Middle School, Norfolk, Mass.
• Gopi Ramanathan, 8th grade, Sartell Middle School, Sartell, Minn.
• Neelam Sandhu, 7th grade, Ross A. Lurgio Middle School, Bedford, New Hampshire
• Siddharth Kurella, 8th grade, Crossroads North Middle School, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey
• Aparna Nair-Kanneganti, 8th grade, Henry H. Wells Middle School, Brewster, New York
• Pragyna Naik, 6th grade, Franklin K-8 School of Choice, Corvallis, Ore.
• Arnav Jagasia, 8th grade, Radnor Middle School, Wayne, Penn.
• Krish Patel, 6th grade, Pinewood Preparatory School, Summerville, South Carolina
• Rahul Nagveker, 8th grade, Quail Valley Middle School, Missouri City, Texas
• Vansh Jain, 8th grade, MHLT Elementary School, Minocqua, Wisc.
The first National Geography Bee was held in 1989. Each year, thousands of students compete from November to January at the school level, then move on to state championships in March. The National Geographic Web site features a new geography quiz each day, plus a study guide and apps to help students prepare for the Bee and to encourage a general interest in the subject.