2009 Geography Bee

21st annual National Geographic Bee

by Beth Rowen
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Eric Yang, a seventh grader at Griffin Middle School in The Colony, Texas, answered every question correctly to win the 21st annual Geography Bee in May 2009. Two other contestants also boasted a perfect score, necessitating a tie-breaker round. Organizers called the Bee the hardest contest to date.

Yang won by correctly answering "Romania" to the following question: "Timis County shares its name with a tributary of the Danube and is located in the western part of which European country?" By placing first, Yang won a $25,000 scholarship and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. He said he enjoys reading history books, cookbooks, and travel guides.

The National Geographic Bee was open to 55 contestants: one from each state, plus one apiece from Washington, D.C.; Pacific Territories; Puerto Rico; the Virgin Islands; and U.S. Department of Defense schools. The final round, for the top ten finalists, was moderated by Alex Trebek, host of the popular game show Jeopardy! It was broadcast live on the National Geographic Channel.

Arjun Kandaswamy, 14, an eighth grader at Meadow Park Middle School in Beaverton, Ore., won second place and a $15,000 college scholarship. Shantan Krovvidi, 13, a seventh grader at Ligon Middle School in Raleigh, N.C., took third place and a $10,000 college scholarship.

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