Originally published in The Weekly Packet, June 5, 2014
Second annual Tournament of Champions
Maja Trivia unearths Castine history facts—and winners
The Maja Trivia Tournament of Champions, hosted on May 22 by the Wilson Museum in Castine, Maine, tested the local history knowledge of middle school students from Castine, Brooksville and Penobscot. First place winner was Brooksville’s Brienna Limeburner, at right. Second and third place winners were Castine students, from left, Drake Janes and India Janes. Percy Clifford, third from left, was Limeburner’s teammate.
by Anne Berleant
Maja Trivia, the Jeopardy-style game that tests middle school students on how deep their knowledge of local history flows, held its 2014 Tournament of Champions under the tent on the Wilson Museum Lawn on May 22.
Twelve middle school students from Brooksville, Castine and Penobscot formed six teams composed of those who had won semi-final rounds held at each school.
Student’s local history knowledge “was higher than last year,” said Darren French, education outreach coordinator for the museum. “I was very impressed.”
Of all the contestants, Brienna Limeburner of Brooksville answered the most history trivia questions correctly, and won top honors and a $100 prize. Second place winner was Drake Janes of Castine, who won $50, followed by Inia Janes, also of Castine, a $25 winner.
Maja Trivia was developed by the Wilson Museum in collaboration with historical societies and schools from the three towns. Named after Majabigwaduce, the name the Tarrantine Abenaki Indians gave to an area that included Castine, Penobscot and part of Brooksville before Castine and Penobscot split in 1796. In 1817, Brooksville was formed from parcels of the two towns and Sedgwick.
The questions posed to the Maja Trivia teams ran from the fairly recent to far back in time.
One still relevant question was “What is the name of the ambulance service that responds to Brooksville, Castine and Penobscot?”
The teams each chose from mostly multiple choice questions in different categories worth different amounts of points in a computer-generated “board.”
“The 500 point questions were incredibly hard,” said French, because they were open-ended instead of multiple choice.
Penobscot’s first town meeting was held in the home of which man?
The correct answer was Gabriel Johannot, answered by Team “Cap” comprising Toby Snow and Ethan Bates-Cole, students at Penobscot Community School.
Do most local residents know that a Castine doctor is said to have swam across the Bagaduce to Brooksville to reach a patient when no boat was available? The Maja Trivia finalists were expected to also know his name—Dr. Harrison Webster.
An easier question may be correctly identifying a former Poet Laureate of the United States who summered in Castine.
However, it took guesses from four teams, including one who thought it might be current resident Lynn Parsons.
The correct answer is Robert Lowell—but Elizabeth Hardwick, Philip Booth and Mary McCarthy were all guessed first.
Darren French, education outreach coordinator for the museum, played the role of game host. Judges were gleaned from local historical societies: Edson Blodgett from Brooksville, Sam Friedlander from Castine and Rose Grindell from Penobscot. The local historical societies also ran the semifinal rounds in each school.
The Wilson Museum received grant funds in 2012 to develop Maja Trivia, and this is the second year that the tournament has been held.