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xx Arjun Kandaswamy - 2nd place Geography Bee
« Thread started on: May 29th, 2009, 07:47am »

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Oregon Student Wins Second Place in Geography Bee
By RICHARD SPRINGER May 28, 2009 03:17:00 PM

One “educated guess” triumphed over another at National Geographic’s annual Geography Bee finals May 20 in Washington, D.C. Eric Yang of Texas edged out second place finisher Arjun Kandaswamy, 14, an eighth grade student at Meadow Park Middle School in Beaverton, Ore.

The deciding question from “Jeopardy” TV host Alex Trebek was: “Timis County shares its name with a tributary of the Danube, and is located in the western part of which European country?”

Yang later admitted to Trebek that he made an “educated guess” of “Romania,” the correct answer, netting him a $25,000 scholarship.

Kandaswamy wrote down “Hungary,” an incorrect response, but his strong showing won him a $15,000 award.

Third place and a $10,000 scholarship were awarded to Shantan Krovvidi, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Ligon Middle School in Raleigh, North Carolina.

There were 10 Indian American state champions who made it to the National Geographic’s two-day national competition. Six of the 10 made it into the top 10 and competed in the final round.

The other Indian Americans placing in the top 10 were: Florida state champ Shiva Cagayan, 12, a seventh grader at Archimedean Middle School in Miami; Illinois state winner Siva Gangavarapu, 11, a 7th grader at Thayer J. Hill Middle School in Naperville; Massachusetts champ Zaroug Jaleel, 14, an eighth grader at Jonas Clarke Middle School in Lexington; and Vansh Jain, 10, the Wisconsin winner, a fifth grader at Minocqua-Hazelhurst-Lake Tomahawk Elementary School in Minocqua (I-W, April 10).

Kandaswamy survived two tiebreaking rounds before losing to Yang. The contest was carried live on the National Geographic channel and will be repeated on PBS stations later this year.

“I never really thought of geography as a competition,” Kandaswamy told a local newspaper.

“It was more just that I liked learning about cultures. From a very young age, my dad would travel a lot. He’d come back and show me where he went on a map and bring me back a little trinket. I always thought it was cool to travel.”

“I like to layer what I study,” he said. “First I’ll put down all the basic facts. Then I’ll build up and find out what the country exports, things like that. There are going to be questions you don’t know, no matter how hard you study. But if you read this little bit here and this little bit there, you can make connections and infer the answer.”

Kandaswamy, who said he would like to get into law or politics when he is older, enjoys basketball and tennis and plays the guitar. He is a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts and enjoys mountain biking and snow boarding. His sister, Akhila, 8, told the local newspaper she would like to compete in geography bees when she’s older.
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