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A 14-Year-Old Boy Becomes the Sixth Consecutive Indian-American to Win the Prestigious NatGeo Bee

Pranay Varada, an eighth grade student, took home a college scholarship worth $50,000 and a lifetime membership to the National Geographic Society.

A 14-year old Indian-American boy beats 53 other whizkids to win the prestigious National Geographic Bee competition held at Washington, DC.

Pranay Varada, an eighth grade student at DeWitt Perry Middle School in town of Carrollton, has won a $50,000 college scholarship, but that’s not all.


He also received a lifetime membership to the Society, which includes a subscription to National Geographic magazine, plus an all-expenses-paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll.

The National Geographic Bee is an annual geography contest sponsored by the National Geographic Society that has been held since 1989, for students studying in the fourth to eighth grades in schools across the United States.


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Pranay had participated in the Bee last year as well, where he came 6th. Determined to win this edition, he was elated to be declared the winner with a tiebreaker question. Pranay correctly identified the Kunlun Mountains as the 1,200-mile range that separates the Taklimakan Desert from the Tibetan Plateau to take home the prize.

“I always believed that I could be the champion. I’m elated that my dreams came true,” Pranay said to Dallas News.

This isn’t the first time an Indian-American has won the prestigious award. In fact, for the last six years, the winners of the contest have been children belonging to the community. Moreover, 6 of the 10 finalists in this year’s competition were Indian-Americans.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.