April 17, 2002 – Babatunde Lewis, an 11-year-old sixth grader at Eulalie Rivera School on St. Croix, will represent the territory in Washington, D.C., at the National Geography Bee on May 21 and 22.
"I'm excited," Babatunde said.
An all-around good student, he's been hitting the books to cram even more geographic information into his head since taking first place in a written test given in March to the winners of geography bees at the territory's schools.
"Lots of students are cheering him on," his teacher, Nikki Harris, said, adding that winning the territorial competition has boosted Babatunde's confidence.
Harris and Babatunde's father, Lawrence Lewis, will accompany the youngster to Washington. The all-expense trip is funded by the National Geographic Society.
Fifty-five students representing the states and territories are expected to take part in the national competition. Those who make it to the top 10 will face off in the finals that will be moderated by "Jeopardy" television show host Alex Trebek and televised on PBS and the National Geographic Channel. The top three winners will receive college scholarships of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000, respectively.
The first national Geography Bee was held in 1989. Competition is open to students in grades four through eight.
Last year's territorial winner was Maxwell Hoffman of St. Thomas. The national winner was Kyle Haddad-Fonda, 14, of Shoreline, Washington.
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