PELHAM, N.Y. – If you ask the average grown-up in Pelham to tell you which African waterway the Aswan Dam is located on, you might get a blank stare.
But if you put the question to Vikram Jallepalli, you’re likely to get the right answer: the River Nile.
The Pelham eighth-grader knows his stuff – geographically speaking, that is.
He just took home the first-place prize in a district-wide competition organized by the National Geographic Bee.
Finishing in second place was seventh-grader Emma Koonce. Eighth-grader Isaac Blackburn placed third.
As school champion, Vikram could go on to take an online qualifying test in January that would put him in line to participate in the state Bee this spring.
Only the top 100 ranked students in each state will qualify to represent their schools in March.
From there, the designated state champions go on to compete at the nationals in Washington, D.C. in May.
“I was very surprised I even made it to the school round and I’m surprised that I won, but now I’m looking forward to moving on,” Vikram said.
Vikram's other favorite subjects include science and math.
All seventh- and eighth-graders in Pelham Middle School participate in the annual contest, along with thousands of students from other schools across the country.