<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>You have 15 seconds to properly answer this question, without the aid of Google, Siri, or even a stack of maps in front of you: The largest island in Turkey lies west of the Dardanelles in which sea, an extension of the Mediterranean?
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>The clock is ticking. Did you get it right? Bear River Charter School student Gauri Garg did. Correctly answering, “the Aegean Sea” earned the 13-year old $100, the state title at the Utah-level competition of the <a href=”http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee/” target=”_blank”>National Geographic Bee</a> and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the national bee May 19-21.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>While the state bee was focused on geography, Gauri made some history with her win.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>“I am the first Utah geography bee winner that’s been a girl in its 26 years and the first geography bee winner from Cache Valley,” she says with a proud smile.
<p style=”margin-bottom: 0in;”>Since 4th grade Gauri has won the geography bee at her school and participated in the state competition. And it didn’t take her long to believe that she could be the first girl to win the state competition and advance to nationals.
“In 5th grade I got eighth place at state and after that I knew that I could win state,” she explains. “In 6th grade I just got an unlucky question and got out in the preliminaries. So that made me want to study harder. I did a lot of studying over the past year.”
Pouring over atlases, maps, and books about other countries has paid off. If she is able to make it to the top 10 at nationals, she will appear on the National Geographic Channel and National Geographic Wild cable channels that will broadcast the competition.
Gauri doesn’t want to just compete, she wants to win. She is spending as much time as she can preparing herself.
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“I’m an ice skater and a swimmer but I’ve stopped that for a few months to study a lot. So I do it whenever I can.”
She has been getting a lot of help from her mother, but her Social Studies teacher Cade Bassett (who gets to accompany Garg to the national competition free of charge) has also been finding creative ways to help prepare her.
“In my Social Studies class it’s an extra credit opportunity for my classmates where they can ask me a question. They write it down and I try to answer it.”
Besides being able to compete on the national level, Gauri hopes to someday put all this geography knowledge to use.
“With all this information I really want to use it somehow. I want to have a lot of jobs. I want to be a doctor, which this wouldn’t help with very much. I also want to be the president, which would help with foreign affairs. I also want to be a journalist, I’m not decided yet, but this would help me if I need travel to a lot of places.”
If Gauri wins the national competition, she will earn a $50,000 scholarship from National Geographic.