Santa Clarita student semifinalists compete in NatGeo Society competition

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Two Santa Clarita students earlier deemed eligible are competing in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee California State Competition on March 29.

Rancho Pico Junior High School seventh-grader Sawyer Wiltfong and Stevenson Ranch Elementary School sixth-grader Praneel Samal each won their respective school’s geography bee, according to a news release distributed by National Geographic GeoBee officials.

“School GeoBees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion,” read the release. “School champions then took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society.”

For those who submitted qualifying tests, the National Geographic Society selected up to 100 of the top-scoring students in the state, officials said.

“(Wiltfong and Samal) have been notified by the NGS that they are two of the semifinalists eligible” to compete in the statewide competition being held in Fresno, the release read.

The California state competition is scheduled to take place March 29 at Maya Cinemas Fresno.

If either of the Santa Clarita students is crowned champion, they will be given a $1,000 cash prize as well as a trip to represent their state in the national championship May 19-22 at the NGS headquarters in Washington, D.C.

There, the California state champion will compete against the other state champions — including those from the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories — for a chance to win a $25,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II, and other prizes.
For more information about the National Geographic GeoBee, visit the organization’s website at

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