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Hastings elementary students compete in geography bees

McAuliffe’s contestants are Gavyn Hanson, Kacey Plank, Audrey McNamara, Max Illa, Julia Viktora-Croke, Lucas Foss, Ava Vedders, Ethan Ries, Brady Bolstorff, Nicolas Dehmlow and Nathan Barker.1 / 3
Kennedy contestants were Ben Mikonowicz, Lauren Whitfield, Kyan Esterby, Ryan Shick, Delaina Kurtz, Sydney Nutter (champion), Josie Giangiaromo, Sadie Erickson, Audrey Hayden, Daphne Pugh, Quinton Heiman, Trent Westberg, Reese Kuglin, Ethan Schaack, Sienna McCoy, Sophie Rowan and Mia Lidner.2 / 3
Pinecrest’s geography bee contestants in the front row are Jackson Dohman, Isaiah Lavergne, Jed Carlson (champion) and Jackson Tabery. In the middle row are Alanna Stinnett, Eliza Tubbs, Iris Ries, Emily Seeger and Lauren Muhl. In the back are Milo Kivi, Molly Reynolds, Molly Hrncir, Caitlyn Sutherland, Max Krahenbuhl and Justin Hamann. (Submitted photos)3 / 3

Hastings' three public elementary schools recently held their National Geographic Bee competitions.

At Pinecrest Elementary School, the champion was Jed Carlson.

The McAuliffe Elementary School champion was Ethan Ries.

Sydney Nutter was the champion at Kennedy Elementary School.

According to the National Geographic website, the bee "is an annual competition organized by the National Geographic Society, designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world."

Thousands of schools in the United States and the five U.S. territories participate in the 2017 National Geographic Bee. The school champions will take a qualifying test and up to 100 of the top scorers will be eligible to compete in the state Bee on March 31 at Mankato State University. The state winners are then provided with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in the Bee's National Championship round May 15-17. The prize for the national champion is a $50,000 college scholarship.

Everyone can test their geographic knowledge by downloading the "National Geographic GeoBee Challenge" app, which has more than 1,000 questions from past bees.