Southampton Academy student named National Geographic Bee semifinalist

Published 10:28 am Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The National Geographic Society has named a Southampton Academy student as a Virginia National Geographic State Bee semifinalist. Eighth-grade student Knox Butler competed in Southampton Academy’s local National Geographic Bee held Jan. 30 through Feb. 3, earning the top score of all the eighth graders in the school, as well as one of the top 100 scores in Virginia.

As a state-level semifinalist, he will have the opportunity to compete in the 2017 Virginia National Geographic State Bee, which will be at Longwood University in Farmville on Friday, March 31.

The State Bee is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 29th year. According to a release from the National Geographic Society, State Bees will be in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories, with each state’s champion receiving $100, the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, fourth edition, and a trip to Washington D.C. to represent his or her state in the national championship.

Butler said he chose to participate in the school-level competition because it seemed like a fun thing to do, and a way to utilize the knowledge he had gained from his recently cultivated interest in geography, which began last year.

“I just wanted to know where things are in the world,” Butler said, adding that he felt participation in the competition would look good on his college application when the time comes for him to apply.

However, he said if and when he does go on to college, he would likely not major in a geography-related field. Instead, he would likely choose one of the other science disciplines or a computer-related field of study.

“Geography is interesting but I don’t think I want a career in it,” Butler said.

According to his geography teacher, Debbie Dunn, following his win at Southampton Academy, Butler had to complete a timed qualifying exam on the computer before he could go on to the state competition.

“He had one hour from the time he logged in,” Dunn said.

According to her, at the state-level competition, students from across Virginia will be broken into groups, the members of which will compete against themselves until 10 finalists remain, who will go on to the national championship. She added that Butler is the third student from Southampton Academy in the school’s history to have made it to the state competition.

The national championship will be held at the National Geographic Society’s headquarters May 14-17 and be broadcast on the National Geographic channel and Nat Geo WILD on Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. eastern time, moderated by journalist and humorist Mo Rocca. The national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society and subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all-expense paid expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour II, sponsored by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.