[08/30/05 - 12:00 AM]
GSN Searches the Country for the Best Vocabulary Master in the Premiere of Word Slam! a Behind-The-Scenes Documentary Based on the Award Winning 'Get Schooled Tour'

[via press release from GSN]

GSN Searches the Country for the Best Vocabulary Master in the Premiere of WORD SLAM! A Behind-the-Scenes Documentary Based On The Award Winning 'Get Schooled Tour'

The One-Hour Documentary is Hosted by Kimberley Locke and Sponsored by Bank of America Student Banking

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 30 -- GSN will premiere WORD SLAM! a documentary based on the award-winning, education-oriented Get Schooled Tour, hosted by American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke on Saturday, September 10 at 8:00PM ET/PT. Traveling across the US, WORD SLAM! takes viewers behind-the-scenes to witness the drama of the vocabulary-based competition where people 15 and older competed to win $10,000 toward college tuition. 11 local winners went on to compete for an additional $25,000.

The youngest local winner is 16 year-old Bill Medina, from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He would be the first person in his family to go to college. Also featured is 21 year-old Dallin Merill of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a lot at stake, coming from a family of teachers. 25 year-old Casey Butterfield was turned down for a scholarship after being accepted to Cambridge University. She needs to find a way to pay for her tuition or may lose her chance to earn a masters degree.

Dena Kaplan, GSN's Senior Vice President of Marketing says, "We are pleased to present a first of its kind documentary about a high-stakes vocabulary competition. This story captures the personal journeys of the contestants from all over the country in their pursuit of linguistic excellence and to win money towards the dream of a college education."

After traveling the country for three months, WORD SLAM! culminated in a linguistic challenge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between the 11 finalists. Locke, who hosted all eleven events around the US is no stranger to competition, says, "WORD SLAM! has been so much fun to host, and watch the incredible competition. I know what the price of college education is from going to school myself, and I was thrilled to see people compete for something so very important."

Competitor Medina says winning the $10,000 was "one of the most exciting moments of my life." Prior to his victory in Albuquerque, he did not think he would have the money to go to college and had not given higher education much thought. He will be the first in his family to attend college, and his younger sister considers him her role model.

Dallin Merill of Salt Lake City, Utah is the most competitive out of the 11 finalists, "You know, I'd win it just to win. That's the most important thing to me, just winning the competition." Merill is currently an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University, majoring in humanities. His plan was to attend law school, but did not have money for his tuition. His winnings will help him with his dream. He comes from a family of teachers, and education has always been of the utmost importance.

Casey Butterfield of San Francisco, California had worked in many capacities including translator, editor and jazz singer and had finally decided to focus on earning a masters degree from Cambridge University in England in International Relations. After applying for a scholarship and being rejected, she needed to figure out a new plan, and along came Word Slam! Butterfield says, "I feel pretty confident that I can take home that extra $25,000. I think I just need to keep playing a Scrabble(TM) game a day."

The 11 finalists featured in WORD SLAM! are:

* Bill Medina won in Albuquerque, New Mexico

* Jennifer Robinson won in Dallas, Texas

* Chris Reilly won in Sacramento, California

* Casey Butterfield won in San Francisco, California

* Dallin Merrill won in Salt Lake City, Utah

* Jim Wagner won in Chicago, Illinois

* Cary West won in Nashville, Tennessee

* Greg Stone won in San Antonio, Texas

* Mary Ann Doering won in Marietta, Georgia

* William Andrew Babb won in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

* Arthur Kurtz won in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Also featured in the documentary are Steven Kleinedler, Senior Editor of the American Heritage Dictionary, and John McWhorter, a historical linguist, and expert on the effects of time on languages.

Over the three year history of the tour, GSN and Bank of America have awarded almost $400,000 in college tuition to over 25 people across the country. Who will win and take home $35,000 toward college tuition? Tune in to find out on Saturday, September 10 at 8:00PM.


  [august 2005]  

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