- Associated Press - Saturday, May 9, 2015

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - A North Dakota middle school student has been averaging about 20 hours a week studying for a national competition that will test his geography skills.

The 12-year-old Sean Ness spends two hours every night Monday through Friday and five hours a day during the weekend reviewing atlases, watching videos and looking up information online as a way to get ready for the upcoming National Geographic Bee, WDAZ-TV (https://bit.ly/1JyzKlx ) reported.

He will take on 53 other students during the competition that begins Monday in Washington, D.C.

Although he has been crowned North Dakota’s king of geography, Sean’s preparation has not been easy.

“Hard, it gets stressful,” he said during a recent study break.

The sixth-grader from Valley Middle School in Grand Forks said his strength is political geography, while his weaknesses are physical geography and topography.

“I need to study a lot more, but I feel pretty prepared,” Sean said. He is hoping to earn the top prize, which includes a $50,000 college scholarship, a trip to the Galapagos Islands and a lifetime subscription to the magazine.

His mom, Bridget Kilgore, is his No. 1 fan and coach.

“It’s endless and it’s exciting,” Kilgore said. “He knows his stuff, so I just try to share what I learned in a day or create tests for him, and I probably learn more than he does from him.”

Sean said his passion for geography fully kicked in when he learned about the geography bee competition in fourth grade. He wants to be a diplomat or U.S. secretary of state when he grows up.

“I think it is really interesting to learn about the nations and conflicts and mountains and rivers and just everything in the world,” he said.

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Information from: WDAZ-TV, https://wdaz.com

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