Canada's finest spellers off to Canwest Canspell finals



    22 of the country's brightest young lights heading to Ottawa

    WINNIPEG, March 19 /CNW/ - Spelling bee champions from 22 Canadian cities
have now been determined after a series of regional spelling bees over the
past several weeks - the final two held this past weekend in Regina and
Kamloops. These 22 young spelling superstars are gearing up to challenge
themselves and each other at the 2008 Canwest Canspell National finals in
Ottawa/Gatineau in April.
    Canwest Canspell remains a free educational program open to students
across Canada, thanks to the generous support of the presenting sponsor,
Canada Post. A significant investment by Canada Post - which covered a new fee
of $99 US per school as initiated by the organizers of the Scripps Spelling
Bee in the United States - means that top Canadian spellers will be able to
compete not only in Ottawa, but also internationally at the Scripps bee in
Washington, D.C. in May.
    "Canada Post is thrilled to be Canwest's partner in presenting this
exciting, educational and fun event," said Robert Waite, Canada Post's senior
vice-president of Corporate Social Responsibility. "As the spellers prepare
for the final event, we commend their enthusiasm for learning, dedication to
words and commitment to excellence. On behalf of everyone at Canada Post, I
wish each participant the spelling competition of a lifetime."
    School spelling bees were held during January in all ten provinces, with
approximately 225,000 students taking part. Some 1,200 students advanced from
the school level to compete at regional bees in 22 cities - Victoria,
Vancouver, Prince George, Kamloops, Penticton, Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge,
Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, Ottawa,
Montreal, Saint John, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown and St. John's.
    Air Canada is flying each of the 22 winning spellers and an accompanying
parent to the National Finals. Top prize at the event is the $15,000 AIC
Award, a laptop from Canada Post and the winner's name on the Canspell Cup,
along with the title of Canada's champion speller.
    All 22 regional winners will also be sent to compete at the Scripps
National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in May, courtesy of Air Canada.
    "Canwest Canspell continues to celebrate and reward scholastic
achievement, and we're proud to watch these remarkable young students take the
stage to showcase their word power and poise," said David Asper, Executive
Vice President of Canwest Global Communications Corp. and Chairman of National
Post. "We are especially pleased to witness the Canspell program doubling in
size and scope in just a few short years. Four years ago we created Canspell
as a fun way to engage young people in a love of language and learning. We
started with spelling bees in 11 cities and Canspell has grown and expanded to
include bees in 22 cities from coast to coast."
    Canwest Canspell engages all of Canwest's media properties, plus 11
partner newspapers outside of the company, including extensive promotion in
newspapers and on television, and on a popular Web site complete with games
and study tips and a weekly feature by Canada's Word Lady, Katherine Barber,
Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. The preliminary rounds of
the 2008 Canwest Canspell national final will be available live online at
www.canspell.com and will take place on April 18th, 2008. The final rounds
will be televised from the Canadian Museum of Civilization on Global
Television, and NTV in Newfoundland and Labrador, on Saturday April 19th at
8 p.m. in most markets (check local listings).
    Fans are encouraged to cheer on the regional winners in the days and
weeks leading up to the national finals. A contest at Canada Post retail
outlets allows families, friends and other spelling supporters to submit "Bee
Mail" messages to the country's top spellers as they prepare to match wits and
words at the Canwest Canspell National finals.
    For more information on the contest, please visit the Canwest Canspell
Web site: www.canspell.com.

    Canwest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwestglobal.com), (TSX: CGS
and CGS.A,) an international media company, is Canada's largest media company.
In addition to owning the Global Television Network, Canwest is Canada's
largest publisher of paid English language daily newspapers and owns, operates
and/or holds substantial interests in conventional television, out-of-home
advertising, specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations and
networks in Canada, Australia, Turkey, Indonesia, Singapore, the United
Kingdom and the United States.


    Canwest Canspell 2008 National Finalists
    ----------------------------------------

    VICTORIA: Victoria Lan from Royal Oak Middle School

    VANCOUVER: Grace Tsai from Chief Dan George Middle School

    KAMLOOPS: Curtis Bogetti from South Kamloops Secondary School

    PRINCE GEORGE: Breanna Siemens of John McInnis Junior Secondary School

    OKANAGAN: Julieann Huttemann from Rossland Secondary School

    CALGARY: Cody Wang from John Ware Junior High School

    EDMONTON: Austin Davis from Ecole Dickinsfield School

    LETHBRIDGE: Tegan Odland from Enchant School

    SASKATOON: Anqi Dong from Greystone Heights School

    REGINA: Spencer Warriner from Alameda School

    WINNIPEG: Chris Sigurdson from George Waters Middle School

    THUNDER BAY: Logan Turner from Agnew H. Johnston Public School

    TORONTO: Jessica Zung from the University of Toronto Schools

    HAMILTON: Veronica Penny from Hamilton Homeschool Association

    WINDSOR: Rachel Stadder from Glenwood Public School

    OTTAWA: Emma Brownlie from D. Roy Kennedy Public School

    MONTREAL: Emilie Lafleur, a Grade 6 student from St. Lambert Elementary

    SAINT JOHN: Maggie Millican from Quispamsis Middle School

    HALIFAX: Bethany Dickey from Bicentennial Junior High

    SYDNEY: Samara Blakeney from Cape Smokey Elementary School

    CHARLOTTETOWN: Jonathan Schut from Grace Christian School

    ST. JOHN'S: Mikayla Walsh from St. Mary's Elementary School





For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Lynne
Munro, Canwest Global Communications Corp., (204) 953-7765,
lmunro@canwest.com

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