SOMERSET, NJ - A sixth-grade student at Central Jersey College Prep (CJCP) came one step closer towards a chance to win a $50,000 college scholarship last Thursday.  

Varun Ramanathan prevailed against his opponents during the school's National Geographic Bee competition. Students tested their geography skills in what was the 30th annual National Geographic Bee. The competition is designed to inspire and reward student’s curiosity about the world, according to its website

"We were very excited to host the National Geographic Bee for our students at CJCP," CJCP Social Studies Teacher, Dina Abdelhamid said. "We believe land and human geography play a critical role in the development of our students, and we wanted to provide them with that platform. We congratulate the efforts of all our middle school students,  especially CJCP’s first place school champion, Varun Ramanathan." 

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Adam Briakli came in second place, and he was followed by Arushi Ramaka who came in third. 

Many schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories participate every year in the National Geographic Bee. Ramanathan along with other school champions will take a qualifying test; up to 100 of the top scorers on that test in each state will then be eligible to compete in their state Bee on April 6, 2018.

State winners will receive an all expense paid trip to to Washington D.C.,  to participate in the Bee national championship rounds May 20-23, 2018. The first-place national 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 Galapagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour II. 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.

National Geographic will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship in May 2018. It will air later on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

More about the National Geographic Bee

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Geographic Bee. 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. Over three decades, 1,583 state champions have traveled to D.C. to participate in the finals and more than $1.5 million in college scholarship money had been awarded to winners of the competition by the National Geographic Society.

Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting Geo Bee Quiz, an online geography quiz at poses 10 new questions a day and with the National Geographic Geo Quiz Alexa skill, which releases six new questions a day. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Bee, National Geographic has also published an updated National Geographic Bee book: “How to Ace the National Geographic Bee: Official Study Guide, 5th Edition, “by Stephen Cunha.

The National Geographic Society is a leading nonprofit that invests in bold people and transformative idea in the fields of explorations, scientific research, storytelling and education. Through our grants and programs, we aspire to create a community of change, advancing key insights about our planet and probing some of the most pressing scientific questions of our time while ensuring that the next generation is armed with geographic knowledge and global understanding. Our goal is measurable impact: furthering exploration and educating people around the world to inspire solutions for the greater good. For more information, visit

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