Sparta - Following a preliminary geography bee in which all Sparta Middle School 6th-8th graders participated, a top ten was established, and those ten students competed for the title of school champion in the school-level competition of the National Geographic GeoBee on Jan. 25, 2019. Vaiden Pollard, a 7th grader, won first place, with Ian Bellush, a 7th grader, winning second place and Mathew Vassalo, also in 7th grade, finishing in third place.The school-level competition is the first round in the annual National Geographic GeoBee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students’ curiosity about the world. Questions cover not only geography, but also cultures, physical features, history and earth science. The National Geographic Society developed the GeoBee in 1989 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. Over more than three decades, 120 million students have learned about the world through participation in the GeoBee. School champions, including Vaiden Pollard, will take an online qualifying test; up to 100 of the top test scorers in each state then become eligible to compete in their State GeoBee. The winners of the State GeoBees receive an all-expenses-paid trip to National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., next May to participate in the GeoBee national championship, competing for cash prizes, scholarships and an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll. Learn more at www.natgeobee.org.