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Media Advisory – Rick Mercer and Plan International Canada celebrate winners of the tenth annual Spread the Net Student Challenge to prevent malaria

TORONTO, ON, March 8, 2017 – Rick Mercer and Plan International Canada are pleased to announce the winners of the tenth annual Spread the Net Student Challenge, a friendly nationwide competition between schools that raises funds for malaria-preventing bed nets in Africa.

Mercer – television personality, co-founder of Spread the Net, and champion of the Student Challenge – will visit each of the winning schools and feature them on the March 28 season finale of the Rick Mercer Report in celebration of their outstanding fundraising efforts and school spirit.

This year’s winners are:

  • Beaverly Elementary School, Prince George, BC – raised $26,900 (Top elementary school)
  • Father Mercredi High School, Fort McMurray, AB – raised $10,168 (Top secondary school)
  • Langara College, Vancouver, BC – raised $14,625 (Top post-secondary school)
  • R.A. Riddell Elementary School, Hamilton ON – raised $16,355 (Wild card school)

As part of Plan International Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge this year, over 50 schools raised close to $150,000 for live-saving bed nets that will prevent malaria-infected mosquitoes from biting children and their families at night. Global efforts to end the malaria epidemic are making significant progress, but over 400,000 people still die of malaria each year, the vast majority of them under the age of five. One child under the age of five dies of malaria every two minutes.

“Year after year, I’m amazed by the young Canadians who participate in the Spread the Net Student Challenge and find new and creative ways to raise funds and awareness for the global fight against malaria,” says Mercer. “Schools have gone all out for the tenth year of Spread the Net, and the enthusiasm from students across the country is remarkable. I look forward to meeting the winning schools and celebrating their impressive efforts in the season finale of the Rick Mercer Report.” Since 2007, more than 800 elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools across Canada have participated in the Student Challenge, raising over $1.6 million for the fight against malaria.

“We are so impressed by the dedication of students, educators and community supporters who have made the tenth annual Spread the Net Student Challenge such a success,” said Sarah Muir, Community Engagement Manager at Plan International Canada. “Year after year, we continue to be inspired by the creativity and passion demonstrated by schools across the country, and the difference they’re making in the global fight to defeat malaria. We are proud of our long-standing partnership with Rick and the Rick Mercer Report and of all the students across Canada who are helping to save lives.”


Founded in 1937, Plan International is one of the world’s oldest and largest international development agencies, working in partnership with millions of people around the world to end global poverty. Not for profit, independent and inclusive of all faiths and cultures, Plan International strives for a just world that advances children’s rights and equality for girls. Because I am a Girl is Plan International’s global movement to transform power relations so that girls everywhere can learn, lead, decide and thrive.

Visit and for more information.

About Spread the Net

Spread the Net is a Plan International Canada initiative designed to educate and inspire Canadians to help end preventable malaria deaths by raising funds and awareness to support the purchase and distribution of bed nets, along with training on their use, to children and their families in Africa. Spread the Net was founded in 2006 by Belinda Stronach, P.C., and Rick Mercer, becoming an initiative of Plan International Canada in July 2013. Visit for more information.

Media contacts:

Meghan Francis
Media & Public Relations Specialist, Plan International Canada
T: 416-920-1654 ext. 376 |