Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2011-04-01


Daniel Picard, a sixth grade student at Berry Middle School in Hoover, won first place in the State Geographic Bee at Samford University Friday, April 1.

Picard correctly answered “Iraq” to the question  “Basra, which is connected to the northwestern end of the Persian Gulf by the Shatt al Arab, is the principal port in what country?” to win a tie-breaker in the championship round.

He received a $100 cash prize, a digital set of National Geographic magazine issues dating to 1888, and an all-expenses paid trip to represent Alabama in the national finals in Washington, D.C., May 25-26. The championship round of the national finals will air on the National Geographic Channel. He is the son of Michele and Lee Picard.

Andy Sykes, a sixth grade student at St. Luke’s Episcopal School in Mobile, was first runner-up. The son of Judy and Greg Sykes, he received the digital magazine issues and $75.

James Niiler, a seventh grader at Rock Quarry Middle School in Tuscaloosa, was second runner-up. The son of Sandy and Luke Niiler, he received the digital magazine issues and $50.

Alabama’s top 100 geography students, all in grades four through eight, competed in Friday’s event.  The competitors had qualified for the event after winning contests in their schools and placing among the top 100 scorers in the state on a test administered by the National Geographic Society. They represented schools in 26 Alabama counties.


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.