Fourteen year old Zachary Ward from Albuquerque will represent the state of New Mexico in the 23rd annual National Geographic Bee competition. There will be 54 competitors vying for the title of champion as they gather for the first round of competition in Washington, D.C. on May 24 and 25.
Zachary is a 14 year old 8th grader representing the Albuquerque Area Home Educators. He likes to build robots, camp, hike and play both the piano and violin. He directs movies and took first place in the national Reading Rockets Write It! Film It! video contest.
The fourth to eighth graders range in age from 10 to 14. The Bee crown and three scholarships worth $50,000 will be the final winnings. Top prize is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. The Bee champion also travels to the Galápagos Islands to experience the wonders of geography firsthand. All expenses are paid for a parent or guardian as well. Second place wins a $15,000 college scholarship, and third place wins a $10,000 scholarship.
Nearly 5 million students have competed in the Bee. The 54 finalists are all winners of their state-level geographic bees, and represent the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.
The National Geographic Bee's preliminary round takes place Tuesday, May 24. The top 10 finalists each win $500 and advance to the final round on Wednesday, May 25. The final round will be moderated by "Jeoparday!" host Alex Trebek.
Congratulations, Zachary! Albuquerque is proud of you, and wishing you good luck.
Follow me on Twitter.