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2012.04.02 > For Immediate Release
contact: Charley Reed - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2129 - email: cdreed@unomaha.edu

Omaha Sixth Grader Wins Nebraska Geographic Bee

Omaha - Jack Nussrallah, a sixth-grade student from Mary Our Queen School in Omaha, took top honors Friday, March 30, at the Nebraska State Geographic Bee, hosted by the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

Nussrallah's first-place win included a cash prize of $100, the “Complete National Geographic on DVD” and a trip to Washington, D.C., where he will represent Nebraska in the national finals of the Bee at National Geographic Society (NGS) headquarters, May 22 to 24, 2012. The National Geographic Bee is organized by the National Geographic Society. This year’s state sponsors are Google and Plum Creek.

Akshay Rajagopal was the last Nebraska native to win the national title, a feat he accomplished in 2009. Rajagopal was also in the sixth grade at that time.

Max Curry, a seventh-grade student from Lux Middle School in Lincoln, was the runner-up for Nebraska. Third place went to Marguerite Nichols-Byll, a seventh-grade student at Fillmore Central Middle School in Fairmont, Neb.

The bee, conducted by the NGS, is a nationwide event with participants from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools. It was developed in 1989 in response to a concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.

Those taking part in the UNO state bee competition include Nebraska students in grades four through eight who won their respective school bees and earned top scores on a written exam prepared by the NGS. The state bee is the third level of the national competition, which began last fall with competitions in thousands of schools nationwide.

First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships. The national winner will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands. The winner will experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of Galápagos.Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee, moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, on Thursday, May 24, at 8 p.m. ET/PT. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for date and time in your area.

A full list of winners can be found below:

10th Place - Elise Saniuk - St. Cecilia Grade School – 8th Grade

9th Place - Jon Deardoff - Mt. Calvary Lutheran School – 8th Grade

8th Place - Peyton Zyla - Marrs Magnet Center – 7th Grade

7th Place - Nathan Luchsinger - Valentine Middle School – 8th Grade

6th Place - Joseph Collins - Logan Fontenelle Middle School – 8th Grade

5th Place - Tate Peterson - Wahoo Middle School – 7th Grade

4th Place Connor Husa - Beatrice Middle School – 8th Grade

3rd Place - Marguerite Nichols-Byll - Fillmore Central Middle School – 7th Grade

2nd Place - Max Curry - Lux Middle School - 7th Grade

1st Place - Jack Nussrallah - Mary Our Queen School - 6th Grade

For more information on the National Geographic Bee, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee. For more information about last week's competition, contact Brenda Todd, staff assistant for the Department of Geography/Geology, at (402) 554.2662.

National Geographic Society


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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urB.A.sn, regional, national and gloB.A.sl life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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