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Rick Mercer and Plan Canada announce winners of the 8th annual Spread the Net Student Challenge to prevent malaria

Congratulations to Ottawa’s Algonquin College, Guelph’s John F. Ross Collegiate & Vocational Institute, and Toronto’s Kew Beach Junior Public School

TORONTO, CANADA, March 12, 2015 – Rick Mercer and Plan Canada are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Spread the Net Student Challenge, a friendly nationwide competition between schools that raises funds for malaria-preventing bed nets in Africa.

Mercer – a celebrated comedian, co-founder of Spread the Net, and champion of the Student Challenge – announced the three winning schools on the Rick Mercer Report on March 10. This year’s winners are:

  • Kew Beach Junior Public School, Toronto, raised $7,976
  • John F. Ross Collegiate and Vocational Institute, Guelph, raised $41,218
  • Algonquin College, Ottawa, raised $13,400

Mercer will visit each of the three schools and feature them on the March 31 season finale of his show.

As part of Plan Canada’s Spread the Net Student Challenge this year, 102 schools raised more than $150,000 for bed nets that will prevent malaria-infected mosquitoes from biting children and their families at night. The mosquito is the deadliest creature on earth. It transmits diseases, such as malaria, to humans, killing close to two million people around the world every year. Malaria alone causes approximately 600,000 deaths a year, with 90 per cent of these occurring in Africa and mostly among children under five years old.

“The world is making progress in fighting malaria – around the globe, deaths from the disease have fallen by nearly half since 2000 – and these Canadian students are part of that,” Mercer says. “Their commitment and creativity in raising funds and awareness has been inspiring. I congratulate all the students across Canada who participated, and I look forward to meeting the kids from the winning schools and highlighting their great work in the season finale of the Rick Mercer Report.”

Since 2007, more than 700 elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools across Canada have participated in the Student Challenge, raising more than $1.41 million for the fight against malaria.

“This year, the funds raised by Canadian students through Plan’s Spread the Net Student Challenge will provide malaria-preventing bed nets to families in Zimbabwe, Liberia and Niger,” says Rosemary McCarney, Plan Canada President and CEO. “Canadian students are not only saving lives, they’re also increasing awareness among their friends, families and neighbours of the challenges faced by children in the developing world, and how we all can get involved. We thank all the students and school staff that participated for their tremendous efforts.”

About Plan

Founded in 1937, Plan 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 has only one agenda: to improve the lives of children. Because I am a Girl is Plan’s global initiative to end gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls – and everyone around them – out of poverty. Visit for more information.

About Spread the Net

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

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