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Local student wins National Geographic essay contest

A sixth grade student at Southeast Middle School recently won a National Geographic Kids magazine essay contest.
Ben Zino, 11, was one of 15 winners chosen from thousands of entries nationwide in the 2012 Hands-On Explorer Challenge.
The students, ages nine through 14, had to write an original essay of no more than 300 words telling the magazine how they actively explore their world.
The children will travel to Montana for an expedition in July.
Highlights of the expedition will include exploring the scenic Missouri River, tracing the footsteps of Lewis and Clark; learning fossil recognition and excavation procedures in an archaeological dig for dinosaur bones; and practicing photography tips from National Geographic photographers on hikes through Glacier National Park.
As part of their prize, each young explorer will be given a Canon EOS Rebel T3i digital camera with which to document their journey.
“The Hands-On Explorer challenge is all about inspiring the next generation of explorers to get outside and learn about the world around them,” said Melina Bellows, National Geographic’s executive vice president and chief creative officer. “These young explorers have shown they are ready to take on all that Montana has to offer on this exciting expedition.”
Ben attended Salisbury Academy and Millbridge Elementary before Southeast. He has been an A-honor roll student at each school.
He is currently a member of Southeast’s Battle of the Books team and the school band.
Outside of School, Ben participates in the Rowan County Youth Wrestling League and is a Boy Scout in Pack 443 at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He is also a member of Landmark Church.

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