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Eighth-grader returning to state geography bee

Kenith Taukolo and Nihar Kiran Kumar were the top two finishers in the Woodland Middle School geography competition.
Kenith Taukolo and Nihar Kiran Kumar were the top two finishers in the Woodland Middle School geography competition.

GURNEE – A Woodland Middle School eighth-grader achieved a three-peat, winning the school geography title Jan. 29 for the third straight year and advancing for a third time to compete at the state level for the National Geographic Bee.

Kenith Taukolo is the first Woodland student with three consecutive school wins and three consecutive opportunities at the state level.

As a sixth-grader, he scored a perfect eight in the preliminary round at the state competition before placing 17th. As a seventh-grader, he scored six out of eight in the first round, but it was not enough for him to advance. 

The second-place student in this year’s Woodland Middle School competition was Nihar Kiran Kumar. 

School champions take a proctored online qualifying test, and the top 100 ranked students in each state qualify to represent their schools at the state level GeoBee competition.

State champions travel in May to National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., to compete in the national championship.

The National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., provides transportation and accommodations for each state champion and one parent/guardian. 

The winner at the national level receives a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime subscription to National Geographic magazine, a trip to the Galapagos Islands, and $1,000. The second-place winner receives a $10,000 scholarship and $1,000. The third-place winner receives a $5,000 scholarship and $1,000. Seven runners-up receive $1,000 each. 

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