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Ayla Cooper, an eighth grade student at MMI Preparatory School, won MMI’s competition in the first round of the 28th annual National Geographic Bee and will advance for a chance at a $50,000 college scholarship.

Cooper, the daughter of Lea Cooper of White Haven and Jason Cooper of Avoca, will take a qualifying test for the state competition. Up to 100 of the top scorers on the test in each state will then be eligible to compete in their state competition on April 1.

MMI eighth grader Benjamin Putnam, the son of Benjamin and Andrea Putnam of Sugarloaf, finished second in the school’s competition.

Geographic-BeeThousands of schools around the United States and in the five U.S. territories are participating in the 2016 National Geographic Bee. The National Geographic Society will provide an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. for state winners to participate in the national championship rounds May 22-25. The first-place national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the society, a subscription to National Geographic magazine and a National Geographic Expeditions trip to a national park in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

National Geographic is a global nonprofit membership organization driven by a passionate belief in the power of science, exploration and storytelling to change the world. The organization funds hundreds of research and conservation projects around the globe each year. With the support of its members and donors, National Geographic works to inspire, illuminate and teach through scientific expeditions, award-winning journalism, education initiatives and more. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com and find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

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