Top Geography Students Set Sights on 2018 National Geographic Bee Champion Title And $85,000 in College Scholarships: 30th annual competition to take place in Washington, D.C., May 21-23, and will air online at starting at 11am on May 24

Fifty-four geography whizzes from across the United States will gather in Washington, D.C., from May 21 to 23 to take part in the 30th 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 2018 national champion and win one of three college scholarships.

The 2018 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 National Geographic Endeavour ll. Travel 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 2018 National Geographic Bee will take place on Monday, May 21. The top-10 finishers will each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 23, moderated by humorist, journalist, and actor Mo Rocca. The final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship will air online at starting at 11am on May 24.

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. Eight of the students taking part in this year’s National Geographic Bee are repeat state winners.

“The National Geographic Society furthers global understanding and supports educators to empower their students to become the next generation of changemakers. We are honored to welcome 54 amazing students to our headquarters as we celebrate 30 years of the National Geographic Bee,” said National Geographic Society Interim President and CEO Mike Ulica. “Through the National Geographic Bee, students – and their teachers, families, and friends – learn geographic concepts and understanding. They will use these skills throughout their school and professional careers to make the world a better place.”

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 2017 National Geographic Bee champion was Pranay Varada of Texas, a 14-year-old eighth grader at DeWitt Perry Middle School in Irving. The final question, which clinched the win for Pranay after an intense six-question tiebreaker round, was: “What large mountain system that stretches more than 1,200 miles separates the Taklimakan Desert from the Tibetan Plateau?” Answer: “Kunlun Mountains”

Note to Editors: 2018 National Geographic Bee press resources can be found at

The press room site will be updated at noon on Wednesday, May 23, with names and photos of the 2018 National Geographic Bee champion and the two runners-up, as well as the winning question.


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