Jackson County will have two representatives in the upcoming National Geographic GeoBee state competition.
Brownstown Central Middle School eighth-grader David Pate and Seymour Middle School seventh-grader Benton Smith will be among the 100 students competing March 29 at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
They recently were notified by the National Geographic Society that they were semifinalists eligible to compete in the state competition.
This is the second level of the National Geographic GeoBee competition, which is now in its 31st year. GeoBees were conducted in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion.
School champions then took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the state GeoBees.
This year, National Geographic increased the prize money for all state GeoBees. State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 in cash and other prizes as well as a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the national championship set for May 19 through 22 at the National Geographic Society headquarters. Students who come in second and third place will receive cash awards of $300 and $100, respectively.
Each state champion will advance to the national championship and compete for cash awards and college scholarships.
This year, the national champion will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll.
Second place will receive a $10,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash, third place will receive a $5,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash and seven runners-up will receive $1,000 in cash each.
The National Geographic GeoBee was developed by the National Geographic Society in 1988 to promote geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Students from nearly 10,000 schools participate annually.
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For information on the National Geographic GeoBee, visit natgeobee.org.
Follow the national competition at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 19 through 22 at natgeoed.org/experiences.