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Anchorage eighth grader to represent Alaska in National Geographic Bee

Kenny Petrini, an eighth grader at Central Middle School in Anchorage, took top honors at the 2013 Alaska Geographic Bee April 5 at the Egan Center.

Petrini received $100 and the “Complete National Geographic on DVD” and will represent Alaska in the national finals at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., May 20-22. Petrini topped 88 other students in Friday's event.

"I was half nervous but the confidence I felt played a role," he said. Petrini had been studying for the Bee since October. This is his fourth and last year to compete, as the competition is for fourth- through eighth-graders.

The winning question was: "Which Russian city, home of the Heritage Museum, lies on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland?" The answer was "St. Petersburg."

The other top 10 contenders were:
• Brendan Gerdts, Rogers Park Elementary, Anchorage
• Anthony Cole, Begich Middle School, Anchorage
• Joseph Hogenson, Randy Smith Middle School, Fairbanks
• Kallie Kenner, Soldotna Middle School, Soldotna
• Marley Archer, Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, Juneau
• Ben Ng, Auke Bay Elementary School, Juneau
• Justin Smith, Montessori Borealis, Juneau
• Andrew Hull, Goldenview Middle School, Anchorage
• Alex Courtney, Midnight Sun Charter School, Wasilla

The National Geographic Bee is organized by the National Geographic Society. This year’s state sponsors were Google and Plum Creek. The geography department at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences helped with the event.

First prize in the national competition is a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society. Second- and third-place finishers receive $15,000 and $10,000 college scholarships. The national winner will also travel (along with one parent or guardian), all expenses paid, to the Galápagos Islands. The winner will experience geography firsthand through up-close encounters with the wildlife and landscape of Galápagos. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic. For additional information on the National Geographic Bee, visit www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee.

National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo WILD will air the final round of the 2013 National Geographic Bee, moderated by “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, on Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. ET/PT. It will be aired later on public television stations; check local television listings for date and time in your area.

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