Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2006-03-31

Lowell Van Ness, an eighth grader at Bumpus Middle School, Hoover, won top honors at the Geographic Bee state finals at Samford University Friday (MARCH 31).

Van Ness, age 13, bested 99 other competitors from schools in 27 Alabama counties to claim the title. He will represent the state in the National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., May 23-24. Competitors were in grades four through eight.

As state champ, Van Ness won a $100 cash prize, a National Geographic globe and an all-expenses paid trip to the national finals.

Runners-up were Zach Sullivan, age 13, a seventh grade student at Westminster Christian Academy in Huntsville, second place; and Alan Smith, age 14, of Montevallo, an eighth grade home schooled student with Hope Christian School, third place. Each received a National Geographic globe.

The National Geographic Bee program is sponsored by the National Geographic Society.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.