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Roberto Clemente Student Wins Third Straight Maryland State Geography Bee


In 2013, Abhinav Karthikeyan became the youngest student to win the Maryland State Geography Bee, representing Clearspring Elementary School. He would repeat the feat again in 2014.

But in 2015, Karthikeyan, now a sixth grader at Roberto Clemente Middle School, has gone on to achieve the three-peat winning three-straight Maryland State Geography Bees.

The state Geography Bee was held at the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville on March 27. He will go on to represent Maryland as he competes in the 2015 National Geography Bee, sponsored by National Geographic magazine, which will be held May 11 through May 13 in Washington DC.

“I’ve had interest in it since pre-school,” said Abhinav, who said his interest was inspired by an uncle in India who was a cartographer.

While studying maps is a large part of preparing for a geography bee, he says it is only one aspect of the knowledge needed to be successful at in the bee. Sure, knowing names of countries, capitols and cities are important, but so is knowing rivers, mountains and other topography. However, if you want to be successful beyond the school level, you also need to have a great understanding of world commerce and trade, natural resources, GDP, the Human Development Index for countries and regions, as well as major attractions such as the great monuments and roller coasters of the world.

Up to 100 fourth- to eighth-graders in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Atlantic and Pacific territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools have qualified for the state Bees, which are the second level of the annual National Geographic Bee.

The Maryland State Geography Bee and the National Geography Bee are open to students in grades four through eight. Karthikeyan says the pressure mounts as participants move on up through the ranks. “In the Nationals there is pressure,” said the sixth grader who will be seeking the national title for the third time next month in hopes of winning the $10,000 prize.