Li Ward, an 8th grader at Irmo Middle School, has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2017 South Carolina National Geographic State Bee. The contest will be held at Brookland Baptist Church in Columbia March 31.

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 29th year. School Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the State Bees.

Each state champion will receive $100, the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, 4th Edition and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 14-17. The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the Society, including a subscription to National Geographic magazine, and an all expenses paid Lindblad expedition to the Galápagos Islands aboard the new National Geographic Endeavour ll. Travel for the trip is provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.

Visit www.natgeobee.org for more information on the National Geographic Bee.