Scottsdale 6th-grader wins geography bee, moves to nat'l finals

2013-04-06T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T08:47:33Z Scottsdale 6th-grader wins geography bee, moves to nat'l finalsAlexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 06, 2013 12:00 am  • 

A daylong competition that tested the skills of 100 young Arizona geography whizzes came down to a tiebreaker between two boys - one from Scottsdale, the other from Tucson's Wilson K-8.

Cameron Danesh, of Scottsdale's Mountainside Middle School, came out on top, over Ronald DeSouza - one of 15 Tucson-area fourth- through eighth-graders competing in the 2013 National Geographic Bee.

Danesh will now represent the state at the national finals in Washington, D.C., in May. The final round of the national contest, will be moderated by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek. It will be aired on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Wild on May 23.

Aside from the television appearance, a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime of membership in the National Geographic Society are up for grabs in the national contest.

All of the students who participated in the state geography bee won their school bees and were top scorers in a qualifying exam.

Danesh, a sixth-grader, and DeSouza, an eighth-grader, made it to the championship round, both answering two of three questions correctly, leading to the tiebreaker.

In the tiebreaker, the pair answered the first question correctly but DeSouza was stumped by the second question: "Walvis Bay, one of the largest ports in Namibia, was ruled by what country until 1994?" DeSouza responded incorrectly with Germany, while Cameron answered South Africa for the win.

In preparation for the competition, DeSouza took an online geography quiz daily through the National Geographic Bee website.

This was the fifth time the 14-year-old has competed in the contest, but was pleased that, with this being his last showing, it was also his best.

In the past he has placed fifth, 10th and one year didn't even make it past the preliminary round.

DeSouza's love of geography comes from looking at maps. He travels often throughout the United States, but dreams of one day going to western Europe, specifically Switzerland to ski in the Alps.

The competition was developed in 1989 in response to concerns about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States.

The National Geographic Bee is sponsored by Google. State-level competitions were also sponsored by Plum Creek.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

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