SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — On Friday night at the Marshwood Great Works School gym, Geography Bee contestants sat at tables in groups of four, puzzling over names of obscure places around the world, pitting themselves against other groups to win prizes and raise funds for children in Honduras.
"This year is the fifth year that we've sponsored the event," said Eliot-South Berwick Rotary Club member William Phipps, who ran the contest. "This year, we're raising money to benefit a local nonprofit charity called Daisy's Children."
Phipps said it was a super event for kids who are not into sports.
"There's not so many events for those kids — if you like to read and do your school work, there's not a lot of things to do at a younger age," Phipps said.
The winning group was Bondgarden Farm, with members Boris Varshavsky, Paul Goransson, Marshwood High junior Jack Constantine and Marshwood sophomore Hannah Bossi.
Organizers estimated the event raised about $1,500.
Constantine is an old hand at the contest.
"It was great," he said. "I've been doing this a couple of years now to help out. It's a great thing they have here."
He said he learned geography by watching "Jeopardy." "I didn't study too much this year, just a quick look over an atlas," he said.
Bossi agreed that it was fun, but said she had to rely a lot on her group. What she liked best was that she "didn't have to answer the questions (herself)."
Daisy's Children founder Sharon Beckwith said she was inspired after spending time in the small mountainous village of Concepcion del Norte, Honduras, to create a program to provide food, clean drinking water and access to education and medical care to children there. Her inspiration was "Daisy" — Deysi Suyapa Madrid Chavez — a mother who gave her life so her three children might have food, she said.
"She was the same age as my son, who is 24," Beckwith said. "I couldn't wrap my head around how does that happen in this world, that somebody that age can die of starvation because she would feed her children and not feed herself?"
When she returned to the United States, Beckwith began fund-raising and eventually founded Daisy's Children.
Phipps said he was grateful to all the sponsors of the event, especially Oscar Stone of the Stone Agency in Berwick, who handmade trophies for the winning contestants.