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Arizona Well Represented In National Geography Bee

ari
(Courtesy of the Mehta family)
Ari Mehta, 12, will compete in the national Geography Bee.

A 12-year-old from Desert Cove Elementary in Phoenix will represent Arizona in the national Geography Bee. The competition begins Monday night in Washington, D.C.

If you think you’re smart, have a chat with Ari Mehta. On April 4, he won the state geography bee with this question:

"In the 1500s Basque settlers settled along the coast of the Strait of Belle Isle in which country?"

The answer is Canada, and Ari’s knowledge of Basque settlers earned him a trip to Washington, where he’ll fight for the title of young geographer extraordinaire. 

Ari says he prepares two ways: By reading the National Geographic desk reference, and consuming as much news as he can.

His favorite parts of the world? South America and Africa. 

"I think it’s because most of what we learn in school is that the best places in the world are the U.S. and Europe, and that philosophy is really wrong," he said.

Ari will compete against 53 other kids from across the country. Only seven of the contestants are girls.

KJZZ News Director Peter O’Dowd finds something alluring about Phoenix and public radio, as if they have always been a part of his destiny.O'Dowd, who oversees all daily editorial direction of the KJZZ newsroom, took on the role of news director in February 2011, after serving as an assignment editor and reporter for the station since 2009.