Alabama's top geography students will compete in the State Geographic Bee at Samford University Friday, April 4. The final round of competition will begin at 3 p.m. in Brooks Hall auditorium.
The 101 competitors, all in grades four through eight, represent schools in 22 Alabama counties. Each qualified for the state competition after winning contests in their schools and placing among the top scorers in Alabama on a test administered by the National Geographic Society.
The winner of Friday's state competition will receive $100 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the national finals in May. The national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and other prizes.
Sharon Christman with Homewood city schools is coordinator of the state event. Communications consultant and former Birmingham broadcaster Rick Journey will emcee the final round. The Samford geography department and its chair, Dr. Eric Fournier, host the competition.
According to information from the National Geographic Society, the contest is designed to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, to spark student interest in the subject and to increase public awareness about geography.
Last year's state winner, Chris Lough of Prattville Christian Academy, correctly answered "Japan" to identify "one of the largest coal importers in the world and an Asian constitutional monarchy that is made of many islands" to win the 2013 championship round. The eighth-grader will compete Friday for his second state title.