It was an exciting Wednesday morning when Gilbert Intermediate School named its National Geographic Bee winner who will now go on to test for the state competition.

Ace Walker was named the winner and received a gold medal.

“I can’t tell how I feel yet, it’s so crazy,” Walker said with a big smile on his face. “I’m probably going to hang (the medal) with my other medals, but this is my first gold to get.”

Other students who participated in the bee were Austin Atchley, Jayci Smith, Cash Henson, Jace Patton, Benjamin Wood, Haiden Rudolf, Levi Brock, Mason Tulley and Mason Kennerly.

Wood came in second and Kennerly was third.

“This is beneficial for all students because it gives them a greater world picture and it gets them to think about their place in a global society,” said Gilbert social studies teacher and bee coordinator Amanda Stanfield. “Since we had double the kids enter from last year, the competition was fierce to get to the top 10 and they did a tremendous job.”

There are 10,000 schools (fourth-eighth grades) nationwide that participate in the National Geographic Bee and Walker will now gear up to try and qualify for the state bee by taking a test on Feb. 2.

The National Championship will be held May 20-23 in Washington, D.C.

Last year’s champion was Pranay Varada, 14, from Irving.

This is the 30th year for the bee and the national winner receives a $50,000 scholarship

“(Amanda) Stanfield came to me three years ago with this idea of doing the geography and national history bee and we have grown from about four students participating to 20 this year,” said Gilbert Principal Mary Laigle. “Our hope is that we can expand it to the junior high because the kids are showing a great interest in it. They have worked very hard since September, but unfortunately they only allow 10 to compete. It is very beneficial for students because it’s important for them to know our history and to know our government and to know the places in our country and how they were formed and built so they can go forward and use that knowledge to make better decisions in the future.”