SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Memorial Middle School eighth grader Andrew Capran is headed to the semifinals of the 2020 National Geographic GeoBee State Competition at Rowan University on Friday, March 27. This is the second step to competing in the finals of the 32nd Annual National Geographic Bee in Washington D.C.
Capran won the 2020 Memorial Middle School Geographic Bee back in January. It was the second time in two years the eighth grader was the school's champ. Capran was one of 10 finalists in the school competition that began with an online test completed by more than 300 Memorial Middle School students. The 10 finalists were chosen following an after school competition that included 17 students. Capran was the Memorial champ in 2018 as well and was one of 10 finalists in last year's competition.
To qualify for the state competition, Capran needed to complete an online test that included questions like identifying which state is located west of Lake Huron, Minnesota or Vermont. The top 100 scores from school champions throughout the Garden State qualified to join the March 27 competition at Rowan. According to a press release from National Geographic Society, 2.4 million students took part in the 2020 GeoBee with more than 8,000 fourth through eighth graders becoming school champions nationwide. Winners of the state competition move on to the finals May 18 through May 21 in Washington D.C.
State champs earn a medal, a $1,000 prize, a free trip to the Washington D.C. finals in addition to other prizes. The second place finisher receives a cash prize of $300 and the third place finisher earns a $100 cash prize. At the May finals, the ultimate National Champion earns a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. The second-place finisher receives a $10,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash while the third place finisher receives a $5,000 college scholarship and $1,000 in cash. Seven runners-up from the final competition will be awarded $1,000 in cash.
The National Geographic Bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The non-profit organization began the extremely popular geography competition in 1989 after a mounting concern over the lack of geography knowledge in American students. Since the inaugural geography bee, more than 1,000 middle schoolers have participated in the national championships in Washington D.C. The organization has also awarded over $1.5 million in college scholarship money to participants.
2020 marks the fifth year Memorial has participated in the National Geographic Bee. Memorial's school competition is organized and implemented by Memorial Middle School History, World Geography and Public Speaking teacher, Jackie Martinez. Dylan McCoy won the school's first-ever competition in 2014. Ryan Miller was the 2015 champ. Memorial had a two-year layoff from the competition before returning in 2018. Brandon Bolger won the competition in 2019 as a seventh grader. Capran was the Memorial champion in 2018 as a sixth grader and in 2020 as an eighth grader. He is the first Memorial Middle School champion to qualify for the state portion of the National Geographic Society's GeoBee.