Darien teen qualifies for nat’l geography bee finals

Posted: Updated:
DARIEN -

A Darien eighth-grader is headed to the National Geographic Society's National Geographic Bee in Washington, D.C., later this month.

James Leone, 13, already won the state competition last month to qualify for the national finals.

"There are 54 kids out of thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands," says his coach Barbara Ivey. "So to get there is an amazing feat."

Ivey says she first met James when he was in sixth grade, and he had a keen interest in geography.

The teen's mom says he's always had an ability to soak up information. She says that when he's curious about something, he researches it exhaustively.

"I don't know where he gets this," Cris Leone says. "He's another level."

The winner will receive a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Whether he wins or loses, James says he hopes to travel to South Africa, Australia and Europe.

"My No. 1 destination would probably be Iceland," he says.

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