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javier marquez will compete at the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee California State Competition on March 29 in Fresno. Photo by Gina Onori
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Encinitas student heads to state geography bee

ENCINITAS — A 14-year-old Encinitas resident won’t find himself between a rock and a hard place anytime soon. 

Javier Marquez, an eighth grader at Oak Crest Middle School, has recently qualified to compete as a semifinalist in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee California State Competition on March 29 in Fresno. 

“When I heard that I qualified I was shocked,” said Javier. 

This will be Javier’s first time attending a state GeoBee competition. 

Since he was a child, Javier said he has enjoyed looking at maps and connecting the relationships between states and countries.

“Ever since he was a child, he just started studying geography and it came natural to him,” said Monica Marquez, Javier’s mother. “I never pushed it, it was something he developed on his own.”

State champions will receive a medal, $1,000 cash, and other prizes as well as a trip to Washington D.C. to represent their state in the National Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 19-22, 2019. 

In order to determine qualifiers, GeoBee competitions were held amongst fourth through eighth grade students throughout the state to establish individual school champions. 

Each school’s winner then performed an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. 

The nonprofit organization has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring contestants in each of the 50 states to compete for a chance to represent their state at nationals. 

“If I win the state GeoBee, I will use that money to put into college savings,” said Javier. 

Each state champion will advance to the national championship and compete for cash awards and college scholarships.  

The winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship, $1,000 in cash, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society and an all-expenses paid Lindblad expedition to the Galapagos Islands aboard the National Geographic Endeavour II. 

Visit for more information on the National Geographic GeoBee and to follow the national competition on May 19-22 in Washington, D.C., at