CHELSEA — Isaac Bell of Kents Hill, a seventh-grade student at Stepping Stones Montessori School in Chelsea, won the school-level competition of the National Geographic Bee on Jan. 13. The school-level bee, at which students answered oral and written questions on geography, was the first round in the 26th annual National Geographic Bee.

This is the seventh year students at Stepping Stones Montessori School have participated in the bee, which is a national contest for students in grades 4-8. Geography is an integral part of the Montessori curriculum, and students at the school start working with maps and learning about other countries and cultures beginning in the preschool classroom.

Sawyer Templeton, a seventh-grader from Lewiston, placed second in the school-level bee, and Ian Gervais, a sixth-grader from Chelsea, placed third. Chris Simpson, middle school teacher, served as the school-level bee moderator and judge.

The school winners from thousands of schools around the country, including Isaac Bell, will now take a written qualifying test. Up to 100 of the top scorers on that test in each state will be eligible to compete in their state bee on April 4.

The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for state champions and teacher-escorts to participate in the National Geographic Bee national championship rounds May 19-21. The first-place national winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society and a trip to the Galapagos Islands courtesy of Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.

Award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien will moderate the national finals on May 21. The program will air on television. Check local listings for dates and times.

Everyone can test their geography knowledge with the exciting GeoBee Challenge, an online geography quiz at, which poses 10 new questions a day, or by downloading the “National Geographic GeoBee Challenge” app, with more than 1,000 questions culled from past bees.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888, its mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. For more information, visit

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