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Press Release

Top Spellers to Compete in Citywide Spelling Bee Cosponsored by Independence Blue Cross

Philadelphia winner to advance to Scripps National Spelling Bee

Philadelphia, PA - March 10, 2009 - The C-O-M-P-E-T-I-T-I-O-N will heat up at the Citywide Bee on Saturday, March 14, 2009, when crackerjack spellers from Philadelphia's public, private, parochial, charter, and home schools vie for a win - and a spot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Top classroom spellers in grades six through eight and five finalists of the Fifth Grade Spelldown will compete in the regional leg of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, cosponsored by Independence Blue Cross and the Philadelphia Tribune. The competition begins at 12 noon at the Central Library location of the Philadelphia Free Library at 1901 Vine Street in Philadelphia, two hours after the Fifth Grade Spelldown.

Independence Blue Cross is helping to underwrite expenses for the Citywide Bee winner and an adult chaperone to attend the 2009 Scripps National Spelling Bee this spring. The sponsorship also helps fund prizes for the winner and runner-up of the Citywide Bee, as well as for all top spellers at participating Philadelphia schools.

This is the eighth consecutive year that Independence Blue Cross is cosponsoring the event with The Philadelphia Tribune. Joyce R. Williams, manager of community outreach and education at Independence Blue Cross, will serve as one of the three spelling bee judges.

The winner of the Citywide Bee will advance to the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which will be held in Washington, D.C. from May 26 through May 28. The national spelling bee began in 1925 with nine contestants, and has been held annually except from 1943-1945 during World War II. The purpose of the bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Since 1941, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has been coordinated by the E.W. Scripps Company, a diversified media concern with interests in newspapers, broadcast television stations, cable television networks, and other media-related enterprises.

Independence Blue Cross is committed to strengthening the well-being of the people and communities it serves through sponsorships, educational programs, and events. The company supports educational opportunities for youth through programs such as the Citywide Bee and various internship programs, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce's Working Solutions program, a citywide effort that provides academic enrichment and career and college preparation.

Nationwide, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For more than 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross's HMO and PPO health care plans have consistently received the highest ratings from the National Committee for Quality Assurance.

Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.