Top Geography Students Set Sights on 2017 National Geographic Bee Champion Title And $85,000 in College Scholarships: 29th Annual National Geographic Bee to Take Place in Washington, D.C., May 14-17

Fifty-four geography whizzes from across the United States will gather in Washington, D.C., from May 14 to 17 to take part in the 29th annual National Geographic Bee. The fourth- through eighth-graders, who range in age from 10 to 14, will be competing for the chance to be the 2017 national Champion and win one of three college scholarships.

The 2017 National Geographic Bee champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.

The preliminary rounds of the 2017 National Geographic Bee will take place on Sunday, May 14 and Monday, May 15. The top-10 finishers will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 17, moderated by humorist, journalist and actor Mo Rocca. National Geographic will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 19. It will air later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

The 54 finalists, winners of their National Geographic State Bees, represent the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools. These finalists used their geographic knowledge to rise above millions of fourth- through eighth-grade students across the United States and territories to earn a place in the national championship.

Eighteen of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners, including five repeat top-ten finalists: Nicholas Monahan of Idaho, Lucas Eggers of Minnesota, Ashwin Sivakumar of Oregon, Pranay Varada of Texas and Thomas Wright of Wisconsin.

The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting Geo Bee Quiz, an online geography quiz at, which poses 10 new questions a day.

The 2016 National Geographic Bee champion was Rishi Nair of Florida, a 12-year-old sixth-grader at Williams Magnet Middle School in Seffner. The final question, which clinched the win for Rishi, was: “A new marine sanctuary will protect sharks and other wildlife around Isla Wolf in which archipelago in the Pacific Ocean?” Answer: “Galápagos Islands.”

Note to Editors: 2017 National Geographic Bee press resources can be found at

The press room site will be updated at noon on Wednesday, May 17, with names and photos of the 2017 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up, as well as the winning question.


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