MILTON, Ga. — Eleven-year-old Sanjeev Uppaluri, a fifth grader at Fulton Sunshine Academy in Roswell, placed third in the national finals of the National Geographic Bee May 22 hosted by “Jeopardy!” personality Alex Trebek in Washington, D.C.
Uppaluri was the youngest child in the top 10 at nationals this year, and he received $10,000 as a scholarship from National Geographic Society.
“It was very exciting and a very nervous experience,” Uppaluri said. “It felt very good, but I was a little sad that I didn’t get No. 1.”
Uppaluri worked his way up to the national competition from his school geography bee. Once he won in his school, he had to take a qualifying test to compete at state.
There were about 90 other kids competing for Georgia, and only one was chosen.
“It felt really good. I didn’t think I was going to win state, but I did,” Uppaluri said. “It’s all about the world. If you know geography and you know more than general knowledge, when someone says a name, you know where it is.”
Uppaluri’s mother, Siri, said this is the first geography bee Sanjeev has ever competed in, and he was the only child to make a perfect score in the preliminaries of nationals.
“I feel very happy because he worked very hard,” Siri said. “The last month, he worked 15 hours a day. He wouldn’t even sleep. He was just sitting in front of a textbook.”
The competition is based on an accumulation of points, and points determine the winners.
“We were hoping for No. 1, because I know how much work he put into it,” Siri said. “But I am very happy he could make No. 3.”