Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-09-03

Jonathan Hess, an eighth grade student at Tuscaloosa's Holy Spirit Catholic High School, won first place in the State Geographic Bee at Samford University Friday, April 3.

Hess correctly answered "Japan" to the question "Chiba and Nagoya, two of the world's largest ports in terms of tonnage, are located in which country?" in the final round.

He received a National Geographic Collegiate Atlas of the World, a $100 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to represent Alabama in the national finals in Washington, D.C., May 19-20. He is the son of Laura and Cletus Hess.

William Shelton, an eighth grade student at Oak Park Middle School, Decatur, finished second. The son of Nicole and Clint Shelton, he received an Atlas and a $75 cash prize.

Kevin Hubbard, a student at Oak Mountain Middle School finished third. The son of Kathy and Philip Hubbard of Indian Springs, he received an Atlas and a $50 cash prize.

Alabama's top 100 geography students, all in grades four through eight, competed in the event.

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.