Is there a doctorate in the house?



    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
www.spellitcontest.com.

    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
    the rabbit.

    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
    lot."

    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
    biking.

    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
    all odds.

    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
    playing pool.

    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
    spelling."

    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, bleslie@canwest.com

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