An exceptional geography student from Bonny Eagle Middle School won’t be competing in the finals of the 25th annual National Geography Bee in Washington, D.C.

Brian Cushing, coordinator of the Maine Geography Bee, said that eighth-grader Archer Thomas, 13, of Buxton, failed to reach the top 10 during Monday’s preliminary round.

Thomas was disqualified after incorrectly answering a question about Heard Island in the Indian Ocean. Thomas was asked which country governs the remote island as an external territory. The correct answer was Australia, according to Cushing.

Heard Island is located in one of the most remote places on earth. The island, which has an active volcano, is located about two-thirds of the way between the island of Madagascar and Antarctica – approximately 2,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

Thomas qualified for the national competition by winning the Maine Geography Bee earlier this year.“

Archer did not make it to the top 10 but he made a great showing for the state of Maine,” Cushing said.

Thomas traveled to the national bee with his parents, Jean Whitney and Barnaby Thomas. The finals will be held Wednesday. The national winner will receive a $25,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

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