Jacksonville students vying for $25,000 in national competition

JACKSONVILLE, NC (WITN) Local students have been selected from a national pool of thousands to compete for the top prize in National Geographic's science competition.

Students at Jacksonville's Infant of Prague Catholic School have been working since September on a science project that led them to win first place in the regional round of the National Geographic competition and move on to compete for big money.

Students from all over the country participate each year in the contest.

This year National Geographic asked students to focus on the effects of plastic in waterways.

The students and their teacher say they feel keeping the focus of their project local has helped them get to the national level.

Teacher Mary Cipriani says, "They have said so many times throughout the research, and everything that they've done is, they didn't know that plastic was such a problem."

Student Aaliyah Mitchell says, "We thought it was important to do the New River because it's really close to us, and it affects us specifically"

If the students win first place next month, National Geographic will award them $25,000 to amp up their project, such as cleanup for the New River, and educating the public on how to keep plastic out of local waterways.​