Sydney Smith, daughter of Stacey and Chris Smith, answered a question during the Little Cypress Junior High annual National Geographic Geography Bee on Friday, Jan. 7, that made a bit of history for the school. According to teacher Debbie Stevens who sponsors the competition, this is the first time in her 20 years of holding the Bee that the winner has been female. Stevens said that Sydney being female is not the only factor that makes her win special; she is also a sixth grader who was competing against seventh and eighth graders.

The question which put Sydney in the lead was, “The site of an ancient lighthouse on the island of Pharos attracts visitors to Egypt, a port city in which African country?” The correct answer is Alexandria. Second and Third places went to Skyler Lovelace – seventh grade and Devin Gunter – eighth, respectively.

Ms. Smith will now advance to the next level of competition, a written examination to determine state competitors. All school winners are eligible to win the national championship and its first prize, a $25,000 college scholarship, at the national competition May 24 and 25, 2011 in Washington, D.C. This is the 23 year of the National Geographic Bee, which is open to students in grades four through eight. Thousands of schools across the United States, U.S. Territories, and Department of Defense Dependents Schools around the world participate in the Bee each year.