Alana Cook of Maple Ridge, B.C. wins CBC/Radio-Canada's National Essay Competition "What it means to be a Canadian"

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 28 /CNW Telbec/ - British Columbia high school student
Alana Cook will soon be on her way to Toronto to spend the day with CBC
Newsworld anchor Suhana Meharchand, thanks to her winning submission in
CBC/Radio-Canada's national essay competition. Cook, a Grade 11 student from
Maple Ridge Secondary School, won with her entry about "What it means to be a
    "Alana's essay rekindles my own pride in being Canadian and reminds me of
all the reasons why I chose to fly the flag in front of my home. Alana paints
a picture of Canada and of Canadians that is tangible in its description of
who we are and why we care about each other," said Meharchand, a judge in this
year's competition.
    Back in October 2007, CBC/Radio-Canada, in partnership with the Institute
for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) and the Citizenship Commission, launched a
national essay contest for high school students on the meaning of Canadian
citizenship. Students in grades 10 to 12 were invited to answer one of four
questions about Canadian identity and values in a short essay.
    A prestigious panel of judges, including Meharchand and The Right
Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Co-Chair of the Institute for Canadian
Citizenship, made the final decision.
    In addition to the trip to Toronto, Cook has also won a reading of her
essay at a special national citizenship ceremony and on the national CBC Radio
program, Sounds Like Canada. She will take part in a videotaped conversation
on citizenship with Adrienne Clarkson to be published in the series,
Conversations about Citizenship, on the ICC website; a Dell 22" flat screen
LCD monitor; and $500 to donate to her favourite Canadian charity. Her essay
will be published on the website as well as in The Canadian
Immigrant Magazine and The Source.
    Second place went to Julie Harmgardt in Grade 12 at Thomas A. Blakelock
High School in Oakville, Ontario, and in third place was Joo Young Seo in
Grade 11 at R.E. Mountain Secondary School in Langley, B.C.

    The national judging panel also included:

    Shelagh Rogers, Sounds Like Canada, CBC Radio
    Haroon Siddiqui, Editorial Page Editor Emeritus, The Toronto Star
    Senior Citizenship Judge Michel C. Simard, Citizenship Commission
    Michel Coulombe, Director, Radio Canada International (RCI)
    Monique Giroux, Fréquence Libre, Première Chaîne, Radio de Radio-Canada
    Alden E. Habacon, Manager of Diversity Initiatives, CBC Television

    For more information on CBC/Radio-Canada's citizenship initiatives, visit

    About CBC/Radio-Canada

    CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada's national public broadcaster and one of its
largest cultural institutions. With 29 services offered on Radio, Television,
the Internet, satellite radio, digital audio, as well as through its record
and music distribution service and wireless WAP and SMS messaging services,
CBC/Radio-Canada is available how, where, and when Canadians want it.
    Through this array of activities, CBC/Radio-Canada brings diverse
regional and cultural perspectives into the daily lives of Canadians in
English, French and eight Aboriginal languages, in nine languages on its
international Radio service, Radio Canada International, and in eight
languages on its Web-based Radio service RCI viva, a service for recent and
aspiring immigrants to Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Anu Sahota, CBC Television,, (604) 662-6561

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