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Dundee Elementary Sophia Taylor passes qualifying test and will compete in National Geographic event Friday

SETH GORDON - Dundee Elementary School fourth grade student Sophia Taylor is the first girl to earn the title of school champion in the geography bee contest.

After getting a taste for the geography bee as a fourth grade student last year, Sophia Taylor eagerly anticipated this year's school competition at Dundee Elementary.

Taylor not only emerged as the top competitor at the school, but also passed a qualifying test and will compete in the Oregon National Geographic State Bee Friday at Western Oregon University in Monmouth.

Dundee has participated in the contest for 11 years and Taylor is the first girl to become school champion.

The competition is open to students in fourth through eighth grade and Taylor will battle to become state champion and earn a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent Oregon in the National Geographic Bee Championship May 20-23 at National Geographic Society headquarters.

The state champion will also receive $200 and their own copy of the National Geographic Visual Atlas of the World, with the runner-up earning $150 and third place $100.

The first-place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, including a subscription to its magazine, and an all-expenses-paid expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the society's Endeavour II. Second- and third-place finishers will receive $25,000 and $10,000 college scholarships, respectively.

Taylor first won a competition among Dundee's fifth grade students, then squared off against the fourth-grade champion in a head-to-head contest at an assembly to be named school champion.

She said she definitely studied more this year, including in preparation for the 70-question state qualifying test.

"I study atlases and National Geographic has an app that I use to study," Taylor said.

She added that she is not shooting for any particular result at the state competition, but will just focus on doing her best.

"I'm excited and nervous," Taylor said. "I'm just going to see how it turns out."

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