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Jacqui Nickell
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Maya Desai knows a thing or two about the world. After her second place finish as a fifth grader in the 2012 Geo Bee, the seventh grader had her eye on the top spot this year. Maya knew that the Taklimakan Desert, home to Uyghur people in the Kunlun Mountains, is located in the Asian country of China.

Maya was declared Lakehill's champion after answering all three questions correctly in the championship round. Seventh graderHarrison Hall, the other finalist, claimed second place. Third place went to seventh grade student Kate Langley while seventh grader Madison Cunningham took fourth. 

The competition, held on January 8, was open to all students in grades four through eight. The bee consisted of seven rounds of questions, a final round, and a championship round. This is the 26th year the National Geographic Society has organized this bee, and each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in this entertaining and challenging test of geographic knowledge.

As a school winner, Maya will advance to the next level of competition, a 70-question written examination. The top 100 test takers in the state will then compete for the state title. Each state winner will advance to Washington, D.C. for the national finals in May. 

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