The National Geographic Bee, an educational program of the National Geographic Society, was developed in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. The Bee, a geography competition for fourth- through eighth-graders, is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the subject and increase public awareness about geography. Each year, more than 4 million students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and US territories take part in the contest. The top ten finalists compete in front of a live audience in Washington, DC, for top prizes of college scholarships totaling $85,000.This year, award-winning journalist, speaker, producer and television host Soledad O’Brien will be the new moderator of the National Geographic Bee finals. O’Brien replaces “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, who moderated the National Geographic Bee from its inception.
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