A 13-year-old from Palm Harbor will represent Florida in next month's National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C.
Aadith Moorthy, an eighth-grader at Palm Harbor Middle School, won the state competition Friday in Jacksonville, besting 100 other students by correctly answering what ended up being the final question: What is the most populous city in Hispaniola?
His answer: Santo Domingo.
"It was something I knew immediately," Aadith said Saturday. "I feel great right now. All my hard work has paid off."
Aadith said he spent the bulk of his spring break preparing for the state competition with the help of his parents, father Subramaniam Satyamoorthy and mother Suguna Moorthy. That involved writing down 20 new facts a day "about anything in the world having to do with the type of questions they ask," he said.
He said the clinching question was among those new facts.
Satyamoorthy described his son's preparation as grueling. He noted that the state competition came down to a sudden-death tiebreaker round between his son and another local student, Rohith Ravi, a seventh-grader at Bartels Middle School in Tampa.
Aadith was born in India, but his family moved to Florida when he was just a few months old.
He said his interest in geography came from traveling to places such as Australia, Singapore, France, Germany and Canada.
He won his school competition, then earned a spot in the state competition by being among the top 101 scorers on a written test. He also participated in the state competition last year.
Aadith received $100, a trophy and atlas, and a free trip to Washington, D.C., for him and his parents.
First prize in the national competition, scheduled for May 25-26, is a $25,000 college scholarship.
Richard Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8330.