Asha Jain, an eighth-grader at Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School, finished as one of the top 10 finalists in the preliminary round of the National Geographic Bee Monday, May 19, and competed in the finals Wednesday, May 21, in Washington, D.C.
Akhil Rekulapelli of Dulles, Va., a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Stone Hill Middle School in Ashburn, took the top honors, winning the grand prize of a $50,000 college scholarship, lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and a trip to the Galápagos Islands.
The second place winner ($25,000 scholarship) was Ameya Mujumdar from Florida, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Turner Elementary School in Tampa. Third place ($10,000 scholarship) went to Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at The Nueva School in Hillsborough, near San Francisco, Calif.
For finishing in the top 10, Jain wins $500.
The winning question was: The discovery of a major shale oil deposit in the Vaca Muerta formation in 2010 has led to an expansion of oil drilling in the Neuquén province in what country? Answer: Argentina.
This was the second straight year Jain reached the finals and the fifth time that a member of the Jain family has been in the top 10.
Asha’s brother, Vansh, was in the finals three years as a student at MHLT, with his best finish being second.
The 10 finalists, culled down from 54 competitors from all 50 states and several U.S. territories, competed in the final round Wednesday, May 21, moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien.
The finals were taped and aired Thursday, May 22, 7 p.m., on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD.
Jain was in the top 10 in last year’s competition and also represented the U.S. at the National Geographic World Championship.
The following is a list of the 2014 top 10 finalists:
• Tuvya Bergson-Michelson, California;
• Pranit Nanda, Colorado;
• Ameya Mujumbar, Florida;
• Ansel Ahabue, Georgia;
• Nick Rommel, Massachusetts;
• Kyle Yu, Ohio;
• Max Levine, Rhode Island;
• Krish Patel, South Carolina;
• Akhil Rekulapelli, Virginia; and
• Asha Jain, Wisconsin
More than four million students from across the United States participated in this year’s competition.