Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Haiti answers help Florida boy win National Geographic Bee
WASHINGTON — Knowing a thing or two about Haiti helped Aadith Moorthy, 13, of Palm Harbor, Fla., win the 22nd annual National Geographic Bee Wednesday morning.
By correctly answering that Cap-Haïtien is the largest city in northern Haiti that was renamed following Haiti's independence from France, Moorthy received a $25,000 college scholarship, free trip to the Gálapagos Islands and lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society.
Ten competitors ages 10 to 14 answered dozens of difficult geography questions in the final round of the bee, held in Washington, D.C.
Oliver Lucier, 13, of Rhode Island, took second place and won a $15,000 college scholarship, while Karthik Mouli, 12, of Idaho came in third and won a $10,000 scholarship.
Moorthy beat nearly 5 million students who competed at their school and state levels for a chance to participate in the national competition sponsored by Google and moderated by Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek.
Of the 54 students who made it to the preliminary round, 10 boys advanced to the finals. Many spent months poring over maps and atlases.
Moorthy's father, Subramaniam Satyamoorthy, says the trips he took his son on to U.S. national parks, Europe and Australia helped him prepare for the bee. Now, he and his wife look forward to traveling with Aadith to the Gálapagos Islands.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience," he says.
Moorthy's history teacher, Michelle Anderson, also was present at the bee. In the week leading up to the bee, Anderson helped Moorthy prepare by sending geography questions to his other teachers at Palm Harbor Middle School. His teachers would then quiz him throughout the school day to help him retain information. For four months, Moorthy also studied 20 facts each day.
Moorthy said he was grateful that his parents took him around the world and bought him geography books. Winning the bee "feels really great," he says, "and all my hard work paid off."
"It was easier than I thought it would be," he added.
The National Geographic Society started the bee in 1989 to promote students' geography knowledge and encourage learning about the world.
The bee airs tonight at 6 p.m. ET/PT on the National Geographic Channel.