HSLDA Media Release
May 23, 2001

Home schooler wins third place in National Geography Bee

For immediate release
May 23, 2001
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or media@hslda.org

WASHINGTON, DC—Jason Ferguson, a home school student from Texas, won third place in the 2001 National Geography Bee. Three of today's finalists were home schooled, while eight of the 55 who started the national competition on Tuesday home schooled.

The other two home schooled finalists were Robert McRae, of Georgia, and Kyle Macfarlan, of Arkansas. Ferguson won a $10,000 college scholarship for his third place victory.

"We made up 30 percent of the 10 students in the final Geography Bee rounds," said Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association. "That's not bad for a group that comprises only about 2 or 3 percent of the total school age population."

A broadcast of the final round of the National Geography Bee will be on National Geographic television and on most Public Broadcasting Stations. For information on where you can see the contest, please see http://www.nationalgeographic.com/events/01/bee/index.html.

Other home school winners of national geography and spelling bees:

  • George Thampy, of St. Louis, Missouri won the 2000 National Scripps Howard Spelling Bee, and came in second in the 2000 National Geography Bee. Thampy tied for fourth in the national spelling bee 1998, and tied for third in 1999.
  • Rebecca Sealfon, from Brooklyn, New York, the 1997 champion, was the first home schooler to win the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.
  • Jonathan Janus, a home schooler from South Carolina, won third place in the 2000 Geography Bee.
  • David Beihl, of Saluda, South Carolina, won first place the 1999 National Geography Bee.
  • Sean Conley, of California, came in second the 2000 National Scripps Howard Spelling Bee.
  • Alison Miller, of New York, came in third in the 2000 National Scripps Howard Spelling Bee.
  • John Kizer, of Portsmouth, Ohio, won second place in the 1998 National Geography Bee.
  • Jay C. Rickel, Jr., of Kalispell, Montana in 2001 was the first home schooler to be named one the winners in the Boston Globe's annual essay contest for students in grades 6, 7, and 8. There were 3,800 contestants and 10 winners. See (http://www.hslda.org/docs/news/hslda/200105082.asp).