A 14-year-old boy, Pranay Varada, has won the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition, becoming the sixth consecutive Indian-American to win the title. He bagged a medal, $50,000, a family trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society including a subscription to the National Geographic magazine, and an all-expenses-paid expedition for four to the Galapago Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour II.Thomas and Veda received 25,000 dollars and 10,000 dollars, respectively. Following the preliminary round which was held on Monday morning, each of the top ten winners were awarded 500 dollars.
It is noteworthy that the original pool of Geography Bee participants comprised 2.6 million students from more than 10,000 schools in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia, Union Territories and Department of Defense Departments Schools. A total of 54 state bee winners, 21 of Indian origin, who participated in the preliminary were selected from a pool of over 4,600 students in grades four through eight. The figures are staggering when one considers that out of this original pool of millions, only ten advanced to the Championship round and 60 percent of the finalists were of Indian origin in a country where Indian-Americans comprise one percent of the population. We queried Pranay’s parents about the dominance of Indian-origin kids in the competition. Pranay was completely focused on the geography competition and in his spare time, we learned, he plays the piano and cello and even composes music.