Panel of top academics oversees the nation's top spellers at The CanWest
CanSpell National Spelling Bee
OTTAWA, April 12 /CNW/ - The countdown is on for the third annual CanWest
CanSpell National Spelling Bee, presented by Canada Post. Forty-one regional
finalists, the best of the best from across Canada, have gathered in
Ottawa-Gatineau to compete on April 13th and 14th.
Overseeing the competition is an elite panel of some of academia's
brightest minds. As well as having superlative spelling skills, the three
judges charged with upholding the rules and determining correct spellings are
also experts in their own areas of academic endeavour.
Dr. Gordon Jones is Professor of English at Memorial University of
Newfoundland and earned a PhD. in English Literature from Berbeck College,
University of London, in London, England. Dr. Jones, a specialist in
Shakespeare, is also a theatre critic for the Telegram in St. John's. He was
awarded the Nathan Cohen Award for Excellence in Theatre Reviewing.
Dr. Luise von Flotow is a Professor and Chair of the School of
Translation and Interpretation at the University of Ottawa and earned a PhD.
in French from the University of Michigan. Dr. von Flotow is also a literary
translator who works from French and German into English.
Dr. Klay Dyer is a Professor of English with the Critical Studies
Department at UBC Okanagan's Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies. Dr.
Dyer earned his PhD. in English from the University of Ottawa. He is an
internationally recognized scholar specializing in early North American
literature and art. Dr. Dyer is a frequent leader of creative writing
workshops, teaching seminars and editorial boards.
Alongside the judges at the competition will be two renowned word whizzes
serving as Pronouncer and Associate Pronouncer.
Dr. Jacques Bailly, Pronouncer, is an Associate Professor of Classics at
the University of Vermont. Dr. Bailly won the Scripps National Spelling Bee
championship in 1980. This is his second year as Pronouncer at the CanWest
CanSpell National Spelling Bee, and his fifth year as the Pronouncer for the
Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Gerald Owen, Associate Pronouncer, is a journalist with the National
Post. After five years in law practice, he moved into the publishing realm
serving as editor of the Idler and Books in Canada. Mr. Owen has been with the
National Post since its launch in 1998, serving as a member of the editorial
board, legal affairs editor and a weekly columnist. Mr. Owen also acts as
"editor-in-chief" for CanSpell's Word of the Day feature, which appears in
newspapers across the country.
Spellers and their immediate family members arrived via Air Canada from
destinations across the country and are spending their first three days
touring historic city sites, meeting national dignitaries and getting to know
fellow competitors. Canada Post has been instrumental in the spellers' journey
as the presenting sponsor for the program, signing on last September in the
lead role. AIC Limited, a Canadian company with a home-base in Burlington,
Ontario, has provided education awards to the top two contenders in each
regional event. On Saturday night as the final champion is announced, AIC will
award $10,000 in RESPs to the winner.
The national competition begins with preliminary rounds on Friday,
April 13th at 1 pm EDT which will be web-cast live at www.canspell.com,
brought to online viewers by TELUS. Approximately 16 of the 41 finalists will
advance from the Friday event to Saturday's final rounds, which will be
showcased live on Global Television and NTV in Newfoundland/Labrador at 7 pm
(please check local listings). Television viewers will get a unique look into
the family and school lives of these talented youngsters as crews have been
following their spelling progress since the regional events took place in
February and March.
Viewers watching on Global and NTV will be able to play along with the
spellers, and compete for five prizes of $4,000 in AIC RESPs, through the
TELUS Spell It contest. Viewers can either text message their spelling answers
on their TELUS mobile phones, or play along online during the broadcast.
Details on how to enter are available at www.canspell.com or
CanWest Global Communications Corp. (www.canwestglobal.com), (TSX: CGS
and CGS.A, NYSE: CWG) an international media company, is Canada's largest
media company. In addition to owning the Global Television Network, CanWest
also owns, operates and/or holds substantial interests in Canada's largest
publisher of daily newspapers, and conventional television, out-of-home
advertising, specialty cable channels, web sites and radio stations and
networks in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Singapore, the United
Kingdom and the United States.
Victoria Winner Theo Terry Grade 8, age 13
Theo attends Lake Trails Middle School in Courtenay, B.C. commuting daily
from his home on Denman Island. Theo's first spelling bee word (in 2006)
was "chocolate" and incidentally his father owns the Denman Island
Chocolate factory. In his next spelling bee Theo's first word was
"nougat"! Very sweet! When not studying for bees he is riding his
unicycle or playing the sax. His pets include Limelight the cat and Roger
Victoria Runner-Up Matthew Anderson Grade 7, age 13
Matthew is a student at Willows Elementary school in Victoria, B.C. Good
spelling runs in the family; his sister Sarah is a two-time Regional
Spelling Champion. Matthew is an excellent jazz pianist who also enjoys
hiking, playing badminton and traveling.
Vancouver Winner Hailey Unger Grade 7, age 13
Hailey attends Berkshire Park Elementary in Surrey, B.C. which she says
is a huge, exciting, beautiful city. Hailey prepared for the Bee by
studying 2-5 hours per day. Her favourite word is "gesundheit" because
"her father has been using it since she was a baby." Her favourite
subject is language arts and her hobbies include reading, video games,
surfing the net and listening to 70's rock music, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin
being her faves.
Vancouver Runner-Up Rachael McDaniel Grade 4, age 9
Rachael attends Hollyburn Elementary School in West Vancouver, B.C.
"where you can go up the mountain in 10 minutes and go to the ocean in
5." Rachael likes to read and collect stuff. Her favourite TV program is
the Road Runner show and she enjoys music and plays the piano. Rachael
is grateful to her classmates and family for cheering her on.
Prince George Winner Athena Nghi Huynh Grade 5, age 10
Athena attends the Heritage Elementary School in Prince George, B.C. She
has studied two hours every day using Nicole's Helpful Hints on the
CanSpell website. She has a brother named Odie and a pet fish. The Huynhs
are recent arrivals to Canada, and the family notes that Athena has
really embraced the English language. Athena plays the piano, listens to
music and is a student of Tae Kwon Do.
Prince George Runner-Up Sonja Olsson Grade 7, age 12
Sonja attends Spruceland Elementary School in Prince George, B.C. and
says "my hometown stinks, literally - we have three pulp mills and an oil
refinery." She says she has a great family, enjoys "hanging" with friends
and has many role models. Her favourite subject is social science and
she's a fan of Survivor on television.
Kelowna Winner Leila Clark Grade 7, age 12
Leila lives between two lakes, surrounded by orchards in the beautiful
Okanagan city of Penticton, B.C. where she attends McNicoll Park Middle
School. This spelling star was reading at 2 1/2 years of age and says her
first book was Dr. Seuss's ABC's and her favourite word is "cheese"
because it sounds funny. Both of her parents are artists and her older
sister Colette is not only her good friend but also her role model
because she is smart (runs in the family), good with people and helps
Leila when she needs help...especially in math!
Kelowna Runner-Up Brennan Phillips Grade 7, age 12
Brennan lives in Summerland, B.C. - a small town on the shore of Lake
Okanagan (where Ogopogo lives). Brennan is part of the Penticton Home
Learner's Program and says his favourite teacher is his mom and his
favourite subject is science. He cites his dad as his role model because
"he works really hard and cares about people." He helps me with Social
Studies and coaches my football team. He's really smart and I love him a
Kamloops Winner Curtis Bogetti Grade 7, age 12
Curtis attends South Sa-Hali Elementary in Kamloops, B.C. ,which is the
tournament capital of Canada. When he is not studying for the bee he
likes to read, run and watch TV. He has one sister and three cats and
considers Terry Fox to be his role model because "he never gave up!"
Kamloops Runner-Up Daniel Leonhardt Grade 8, age 13
Daniel attends Eagle River Secondary School and lives in Sicamous B.C.,
the houseboat capital of Canada. In his spare time he likes to read (a
lot) and ride his bike. Daniel has had and is grateful for the tremendous
support from his family, school friends and neighbourhood. Daniel's
family includes his dad who is a carpenter and built their family home,
his mother who he says enjoys language and his sister Sierra who likes to
dance, dress up and pretend to be a princess.
Edmonton Winner Nate Gartke Grade 8, age 13
Nate attends the Victoria School for the Performing Arts in Spruce Grove,
AB. He read his first book, Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, at the age of 5.
Nate's mother is a school principal and his father is a teacher so he
gets his homework done! He enjoys all genres of music except country.
Nate says that "the roads in Edmonton were devastated by aliens in 1997
and haven't been repaired since".
Edmonton Runner-Up Samantha Fraughton Grade 8, age 14
Samantha attends Our Lady of Angels in Fort Saskatchewan, AB., where
hockey stars are abundant. She has a bunny rabbit named Diefenbaker, a
mom, dad and a sister and considers Finola Hackett as her role model. She
has a fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of her mouth and the
number 13. She enjoys listening to a wide range of music with pop and R&B
as her favourites.
Calgary Winner Cody Wang Grade 7, age 12
Cody attends John Ware Jr. High School in Calgary, AB. He studied with
his dad and considers "tichorrhine" to be his favourite word because "it
is complicated". When not studying, he enjoys classical music, playing on
the computer and Game Cube. Cody considers his father to be his role
model because he works very hard.
Calgary Runner-Up Jacob Stucken Grade 6, age 12
Jacob Stucken attends St. John Fine Arts School in Calgary, AB. He
studied for the bee with his mom and says his favourite word is
"prestidigitator" because "it is a very fancy and complicated word". His
uncles, aunts, and grandparents, teachers and so on have cheered him on.
Jacob considers Jarome Iginla to be his role model because he plays for
his favourite team, the Calgary Flames. Jacob enjoys fishing, football,
hockey and badminton.
Lethbridge Winner Andrea Kwan Grade 8, age 14
Andrea attends Paterson Middle School in Lethbridge, AB. Andrea tells us
that all of the trees in Lethbridge have been planted in the last 100
years. Her role model is her mom because "she is smart, practical, funny
and selfless and has worked hard to get where she is". Andrea swims
competitively, plays tennis and enjoys downhill skiing.
Lethbridge Runner-Up Katie Kapcsos Grade 6, age 11
Katie hails from Vauxhall, AB where she attends Vauxhall Elementary
School and has been cheered on by everyone in her community. A reader at
3 1/2 years of age, the first book she read was Florence Nightingale.
When asked about a favourite teacher Katie responded - "Favouritism isn't
good you know (my favourite subject is music though)". As for role models
she shuns celebrities and considers teachers to be hers. Katie likes to
sing, practice piano, draw and pastel and her favourite TV show is "Are
you Smarter than a 5th Grader" and we bet you are Katie!
Regina Winner Dakota Thiel Grade 7, age 12
Dakota attends St. Michael Jr. High School in Weyburn, SK., where the
term "psychedelic" was first coined. Dakota has already enjoyed a lot of
celebrity in his home town as a result of his performance at the Regina
Regional Bee. His role model is his dad, his favourite music is heavy
metal, his favourite TV show is "Robot Chicken" and his favourite book is
Delatora - Quest.
Regina Runner-Up Elijah Sylvestre Grade 4, age 10
Elijah attends Grant Road School in the Queen city of Regina, SK and read
his first book at the age of five. His favourite book is Inkspell. He
tells us that Hilary Duff is his role model as she has inspired him to
"follow his dreams". Elijah likes to draw, sing, act, dance and write.
Saskatoon Winner Anqi Dong Grade 7, age 12
Anqi attends Greystone Heights Public School in Saskatoon, SK. He is only
twelve but is already a spelling bee veteran. This is his third year
competing in the National Finals, no mean feat for a boy whose first
language is Chinese. Anqi started to read English at the age of 5 and
tells us that his mother is a software engineer and his father a
geologist. Anqi is cheered on by his parents, friends, teachers and
classmates and says his hobbies are using the computer, reading and
Saskatoon Runner-Up Keaton Schmidt Grade 6, age 11
Keaton attends Brunswick Elementary School in Melfort, SK. Keaton says,
"Melfort is so small that everyone knows everyone else and we're all
friends." These friends, along with his teacher, parents, two older
brothers and dog named Whisper have all cheered him on to the National
finals. Keaton's role model is his Aunt Heather "because she went to
Harvard University, studied biology, and now is a law professor at the
U.of S." His favourite teacher Mrs. Bessette, who is a great music/drama
teacher and could be the reason Keaton loves to act.
Winnipeg Winner Aidan Geary Grade 8, age 13
Aidan is a student at Ecole River Heights, a French Immersion School in
Winnipeg, MB. She says that since enrolling in French immersion her
favourite subject is English because "it's the only one I understand!"
She enjoys some sports, but like most teenage girls really likes MSN. Her
proud family includes Mom, Dad, younger brothers Steven and Sean as well
as Nike the lazy old cat, Roxanne the gecko and a bunch of fish. Aidan's
role models are "people who take initiative and change what needs to be
changed, like Al Gore and Rosa Parks".
Winnipeg Runner-Up Patrick Gutowski Grade 6, age 12
Patrick attends Holy Ghost School in Winnipeg, MB, and prepared for the
Bee "by getting my friends to ask me words at recess or during our spare
time". This young man does not seem to have a lot of spare time with his
interests in reading, fishing, playing soccer and basketball! Patrick was
inspired by the movie Akeelah and the Bee and considers Dr. Gerstner (his
allergy doctor) to be his role model. Patrick has been inspired to become
a doctor following in his role model's path.
Windsor Winner Zachary Lucier Grade 8, age 13
Zach goes to St. Anthony Catholic School in Harrow, ON which he tells us
is a new school with a new principal. His role model is Seth Macfarlane
from the TV show Family Guy because "he makes a good living doing what he
likes to do". Zach wasn't sure when he started to read but remembers his
first book as Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat.
Windsor Runner-Up Alexandra Morand Grade 8, age 14
Alexandra attends Ecole Sainte-Marguerite-d'Youville in Tecumseh, ON, and
tells us that the Tecumseh Corn Fest attracts people from all over the
world. She loves the word "shopping" because "when it's used it usually
means you get to buy things!". Alexandra's favourite band is Billy Talent
and she credits her family for supporting her not only in her spelling
career, but in her life.
Toronto Winner Soohyun Park Grade 8, age 13
Soohyun lives in Toronto, ON, and attends University of Toronto Schools.
She likes to listen to classical music and plays the clarinet and piano.
She tells us that her parents are her role models because "they show me
that I should have a positive attitude towards life". Her favourite TV
show is Daily Planet and her favourite book is Life of Pi. Soohyun
learned to read at the very early age of two.
Toronto Runner-Up Umayangga Yogalingam Grade 8, age 14
Umayangga attends the Milne Valley Middle School in Toronto, ON. She
loves living in Toronto because "it is the best place to live in; it's a
multicultural city where everyone can fit in". Her role model is her
sister. Umayangga's favourite subject is science and her hobbies are
reading, drawing and surfing the net.
Ottawa Winner Katherine Silins Grade 8, age 13
Katherine attends Vincent Massey Public School in Ottawa,ON. The first
book she read, at the tender age of 5, was The Adventures of Old Mr.
Todd. She prepared for the Bee by going through the word lists and asking
her mother to quiz her on words she found particularly tough. Katherine
enjoys many hobbies such as swimming, running, scrap-booking and
scouting. She considers lots of people to be role models but she really
admires Terry Fox for his determination to raise money for cancer against
Ottawa Runner-Up Prashanth Srinivasan Grade 8, age 13
Prashanth attends Hawthorne Public School in Ottawa, ON, and has been an
avid soccer and badminton player since the age of 6. He enjoys listening
to Indian Classical music and can play the Tabla, an Indian finger drum.
Prashanth's role model is his father, who immigrated to Canada from India
and became a successful aeronautical engineer. Prashanth's favourite word
is "hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia" because "ironically it means
the fear of long words".
Montreal Winner Anna Bronshteyn Grade 8, age 13
Anna attends College International Marie de France school located in a
very multicultural and multiethnic area of Montreal, QC. Her favourite
word is "facetious" because "the vowels are in the right order!". She has
been encouraged by her parents, her sister and her friends Lilliana,
Alina and Lara. When not studying for spelling bees she likes to read and
listen to Nelly Furtado and Kelly Clarkson.
Montreal Runner-Up Tabitha Hartropp Grade 7, age 13
Tabitha says "I love the library. The people are really nice and
everything is really organized. You can easily lose track of time." No
wonder this Ecole Secondaire Felix Leclerc student is a finalist. When
she's not at the library she listens to pop and soft rock music, watches
her favourite TV show "Bones" or just enjoys hanging out. Tabitha
considers her sister Sara to be her role model "because she's so dynamic,
funny, talkative and social and just great to be around".
Cape Breton Winner Rebecca Blakeney Grade 7, age 13
Rebecca attends Cabot High in what she tells us is a beautiful town
called Neils Harbour, NS. where the people are very friendly. In her
spare time she likes to read, play sports, knit and cook. Her favourite
book is Lord of the Rings. She considers her parents as role models and
loves to be around her very close family.
Cape Breton Runner-Up Daniel Boutilier Grade 8, age 13
Daniel attends Whitney Pier Memorial School in Port Calendonia, NS.
Daniel tells us that his home "isn't charted on all but the most detailed
maps". He has one sister, one brother, two parents, a dog and a cat. When
not memorizing as many words as possible, Daniel can be found playing
tennis, soccer, reading or listening to rock music.
Halifax Winner Amrit Sampalli Grade 6, age 11
Amrit attends Armbrae Academy and lives in Hammonds Plains, NS.
He says, "I started reading when I was 4 years old". While Amrit was
competing in the Regional Spelling Bee, his father was at home looking
after Amrit's 4-year-old brother. Upon winning the bee, Amrit was
congratulated by his mom, and then he quickly called his dad by cell
phone to share the big news!
Halifax Runner-Up Patrick LeClair Grade 8, age 14
Patrick is a student at George P. Vanier Junior High who enjoys playing
football, video games and reading. His favourite subject is science and
his favourite word is "persnickety" because "it sounds funny". His dad
works for the Coast Guard, his mom works for the Nova Scotia Department
of Health and he has a cat named Nipper.
Charlottetown Winner Jonathan Schut Grade 6, age 12
Jonathan attends Grace Christian School in Cornwall, PEI which he says is
close to Charlottetown and has Corn Fests and the fastest growing library
in PEI. Jonathan has two brothers, a sister and a dog named NIKE. In his
spare time he likes to play baseball, hockey and piano.
Charlottetown Runner-Up Daniel Bevan-Baker Grade 8, age 13
Dan attends Englewood School in Hampton, PEI. He enjoys watching American
Idol and listening to rock and pop music. He has two dogs, two brothers
and a sister. Dan really admires his older sister because "she works hard
at everything". He likes soccer, running, badminton, volleyball and
Saint John Winner Alex Warman Grade 8, age 13
Alex hails from Moncton, NB, where he attends Lewisville Middle School.
He tells us Moncton is the home of "a great hockey team". Besides two
dogs and three cats, Alex has a brother and considers his father to be
his role model "because he's smart". He loves rock and roll music, plays
guitar and when not immersed in music can be found playing badminton,
riding his bike or watching the Simpsons on TV.
Saint John Runner-Up Deason Connolly Grade 7, age 13
Deason attends Forest Hills Middle School in Saint John, NB. Deason
prepared for the Bee "by studying really, really hard. (Mom made me)". He
tells us that Saint John is small and he loves it. He started to read at
the age of three with Silas - The First Pig to Fly which is still his
favourite book. In his spare time he enjoys watching the TV show Cheers
and listening to rock music. His role model is his dad and he has a cat
named Darwin who bites.
St. John's Winner Chris Stanbridge Grade 7, age 12
Chris attends MacDonald Drive Junior High in St. John's, NL and lives in
Middle Cove, north of St. John's where "one year, we got almost 7 metres
of snow!" He has been cheered on by his classmates, teachers, friends and
his family which consists of two cats named Dory & Binky, his parents and
a four-year-old sister named Dana. Chris cites Finola Hackett as his role
model "because she has partly inspired me to join the Bee". He likes math
and his math teacher, and listens to rock and jazz music.
St. John's Runner-Up Katy Warren Grade 7, age 12
Katy attends I. J. Samson Jr. High in St. John's and this is her second
time attending the National finals. Along with being a spelling whiz she
is an accomplished singer. She has a role in a local musical production
based on the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. She says that "she has
almost all of the lines memorized but is missing some rehearsals for her
St. John's Representative Mallory Fisher Grade 8, age 13
Mallory goes to Mount Pearl Intermediate and lives in St. John's, NL,
which is North America's oldest city. Mallory tells us she likes to sing,
dance and play the guitar. Her role model is J.K. Rowling because "she
has an amazing imagination and writes great books". She likes almost all
kinds of music and her favourite TV Show is "House."
For further information:
For further information: or to arrange an interview call: Bruce Leslie,
VP, Community and Public Relations, CanWest Global Communications Corp., Tel:
(204) 953-7713, or (204) 229-5601, firstname.lastname@example.org