The annual National Geographic Bee return s for the 2 6 th consecutive year . This year, award - winning journal ist, speaker, producer and television host Soledad O'Brien will serve as host and moderator. The 20 1 4 N ational Geographic Bee will feature fourth - to eighth - graders vying for the Bee crown and the top prize of a $ 50 ,000 college scholarship and lifetime me mbership in the National Geographic Society. Second and third prizes are college scholarships of $15,000 and $10,000 . The finalists, all winners of their state - level geographic bees, have triumphed over a field of nearly 4 million students to earn a place in the national championships. They represent the 50 states, District of Columbia, Atlantic Territories, Pacific Territories and Department of Defense Dependents Schools.