Vermillion seventh grade student competes in state geographic bee Thomas Walker, a seventh grade student at Vermillion Middle School, participated in the South Dakota National Geo-graphic Bee, held April 4, at South Dakota State University in Brookings. Thomasâ�?�? score in the Vermillion Middle School geography bee, held Jan. 18, qualified him for the trip to the State Geography Bee. He competed against close to 90 other fourth through eighth grade students. The championship round consisted of the top 10 scores, and although Thomas did not qualify for the championship round, he did answer several rounds correctly. The school-level bee, held in Vermillion, in which students answered oral questions on geography, was the first round in the 20th annual National Geograph-ic Bee. The bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society. The kickoff for this yearâ�?�?s bee was the week of Nov. 12, with thousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories participating. The school winners, including Thomas, also had to take a written test and up to 100 of the top scorers in each state advanced to compete in their state bee on April 4. The National Geographic Society provides an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state champions and teacher-escorts to participate in the National Geographic Bee national championship on May 20-21. The first-place national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and a lifetime membership in the Society. Jeopardy host Alex Trebek will moderate the national finals on May 21. The program will air on television. Check local listings for dates and times. Anyone can brush up on geography with GeoBee Challenge, an online geography quiz at www.nation algeographic.com/geobee which poses 10 new questions a day from previous National Geographic Bees. The GeoBee Challenge board game also provides geography fun for the whole family. The board game won the prestigious Parentsâ�?�? Choice Award. The National Geographic Society is one of the worldâ�?�?s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888, the society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 300 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines, National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, music, radio, films, books, DVDs, maps, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 8,000 scientific research projects and supports education combating geographic illiteracy.