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NRI kids top in US quiz contest

Nearly five million kids take part in the Bees organised by National Geographic Society every year at US schools.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 11:12 IST

Indian-American students have made a clean sweep of this year's National Geographic Bee by winning the top three places in the prestigious quiz contest.

Twelve-year-old Bonny Jain of Moline, Illinois, emerged the winner in the Bee on Wednesday, clinching a $25,000 college scholarship and also a lifetime membership of National Geographic Society.

Neera Sirdeshmukh, 14, of Nashua, New Hampshire, came in second place, while 13-year-old Yeshwanth Kandimalla from Georgia came third.

Jain managed to answer 26 out of the 27 questions posed to him. For the winning question, he was asked to name the mountains that extend across much of Wales, from the Irish Sea to the Bristol Channel, to which he correctly answered "Cambrian Mountains."

Jain, who represented Wilson Middle School, had finished fourth in the Geography bee last year. The eighth-grader is also a three-time winner of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus' Regional Spelling Bee and will compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington next week.

Nearly five million kids take part in the Bees organised by the National Geographic Society every year at schools across the US. The competition is aimed at generating interest in Geography among students and also increase public awareness about the subject.

However, various surveys have pointed to "an astounding lack of geographic knowledge" on the part of the American public. A recent study by the National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs found that half of Americans between 18 and 24 could not locate the state of New York on a map.