WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Same song, different verse for a young Texan. Nihar Janga, an eighth-grader from Austin, took home top honors Wednesday in the 31st annual National Geographic GeoBee, an elite test of geographic knowledge.
Janga triumphed during a competition at the National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington. It was three years ago when the Canyon Ridge Middle School student was crowned co-champion of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee and in 2018 he was a top-ten finalist in the GeoBee.
National Geographic also held the first-ever national-level competition of the GeoChallenge, a team competition that asked for innovative solutions to modern problems. This year’s challenge: plastic pollution in our waterways.
A team from Flushing Christian School in Flushing, New York, won by building a model filtration device to clear plastic debris from the Hudson River.
The winning team will receive $25,000 plus support to implement their project. Janga will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour ll.
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)