Liesl Lawrence of Georgetown, Texas, was named the 2010 National Bible Bee senior division champion on Saturday, taking home a trophy and the coveted prize of $100,000.
Lawrence gave the top performance, beating out second place winner Mallory Powell of Linden, Tenn., who took home $25,000 and third place winner Mark Heimann of Wexford, Pa., who took home $15,000.
The national competition tests contestants on their written and oral Bible knowledge and ability to memorize scripture based on their favorite translation. Winners at the local level go on to complete in the nationals, which consist of the Preliminary Oral Round and Written Test Round and the Semi-Finals Challenge Round that eventually lead up to the Final Challenge Round.
This year's event took place at the Marriott Renaissance Convention Center Hotel near Chicago.
In an unexpected move by the judges, a sixth seat was added to the final round of the senior division. Minutes before the round began, they announced that one contestant, Seth Lehman of Odon, Indiana, was disqualified due to an error in judges' scoring materials.
He was added back in after organizers of the event discovered that some of the judges' scoring materials did not reflect different variances of the Kings James Version that were circulated by the National Bible Bee.
Toward the end of each of the Final Challenge rounds on Saturday, judges for each division frequently asked the remaining finalists to recite 1 Peter 1:3-25.
Winners in the primary, junior and senior divisions this year came from cities across the nation. Each took home cash prizes ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.
For the junior division, Alex Watt of North Huntington, Pa., came in first; Anna Floyd of Bath,Pa., took second place; and Brittany Schlichter of Montgomery, Texas, finished in third.
Winners of the primary division were Olivia Davis of Salem, Oregon, in first place; Esther Lin of San Jose, Calif., coming in second; and Mark Tremaine of McKinney,Texas, in third.
Sponsors and ministry partners for this year's National Bible Bee included: Awana, Tyndale House Publishers, and Gods World Publication.
Joel Belz, founder of God's World Publication, applauded the hard work of the contestants but also encouraged them live out their lives according to the Bible instead of just letting scripture remain in their minds.
"Don't let it stay here in your head," he told the contestants and audience. "Beg Him to let that come down from your head down to your heart and out through your hands and feet."
The National Bible Bee is organized by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation, a nonprofit ministry established to encourage children and youth to grow in Christ through Scripture memorization.
Correction: Wednesday, November 17, 2010:
An article on November 14, 2010, about the winners of the 2010 National Bible Bee incorrectly reported that Liesl Lawrence was the sixth contestant added to the final round in the senior division. The Christian Post confirmed with Shelby Kennedy Foundation, the organizer of the competition, that the sixth seat was added for Seth Lehman, not Lawrence, due to an error in judging materials.