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HSLDA Media Release
May 26, 1999

Home schooler is the 1999 National Geography Bee Champion

For immediate release
May 26, 1999
Contact: Rich Jefferson
(540) 338-8663 or

WASHINGTON, D.C.—David Beihl, a 13-year-old home school student from Saluda, South Carolina, today became the 1999 National Geography Bee champion. The competition was held in Washington, D.C.
    To win the National Geography Bee, Beihl had to answer the following question: The condition characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in equatorial regions of the eastern Pacific is known by what Spanish name? Answer: La Nina. Unusually hot temperatures in the equatorial eastern Pacific are called by the more familiar term, El Nino. Beihl won the South Carolina geography bee in 1998 and 1999. It was his second trip to the national contest.
    “Our highest congratulations to David Beihl, and to all the state and territorial champions who earned their way to the National Geography Bee. This is more evidence that home schooling works when the parents are committed to make it work,” said Michael Farris, founder and president of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).
    HSLDA released the largest national study ever done on home schooling last March. The study revealed that the typical home school student does exceptionally well at every grade level.
    The Nation Geography Bee is sponsored by the National Geographic Society and Bank One. Last year, a 13-year old home schooler from Portsmouth, Ohio named John Kizer came in second.
    Beihl won a $25,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to Australia. There were four other home schoolers in the final 55. Mallika Thampy, a home schooler from Maryland Heights, Missouri, bested last year’s state champion, her brother, to represent Missouri in the national competition. As one of the ten finalists, Thampy won $500. National Geography Bee Alex Trebek said “I’d hate to be the referee in that family.” Trebek is the host of Jeopardy. The final round of the bee will be broadcast on certain PBS stations later this week.
    The second place winner Jason Borschow of San Juan, Puerto Rico was competing for the third year and won a $15,000 scholarship.

    For more information on home schooling or the new study on home schooling academic success, please call Robert Ziegler at (540) 338-8663, or see the HSLDA Website at For more information about the National Geography Bee, and how to compete next year, please see the National Geographic Website at

HSLDA estimates there are 1.7 million home school students in the United States.



S.C. home schooler has shot at double victory
From The State, Columbia, S.C.
by Michelle R. Davis