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MONTREAL, MAY 5, 2009-  Actor Martin Sheen and Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau,  together with more than 125 high school student writers , are set to launch their new book, Raising Humanity,   on May 19

The anthology titled Raising Humanity, the fourth full-length publication from the award-winning Learning for a Cause Student Press Initiative, is an exploration of what it means to be human. Compiled from the raw materials of the human condition, the book takes its reader on a roller coaster ride through poignant poetry and flash fiction.

"The young people whose words you read in this book are telling you a lot about themselves, about how much they care, or, in some cases, about the despair they sometimes feel,” Garneau, now a Liberal Member of Parliament, says in the introduction
“They have let their guard down and made themselves vulnerable by telling you how they really feel, by communicating something that is very personal." 

"This immensely innovative project continues to challenge the skills and awaken the imaginations of an ever-widening circle of young participants with the written word,” adds Martin Sheen, from the foreword. He met with teacher Michael Sweet, the initiator of the project, and some students last fall in Montreal.

"As a society, we don't give young people enough opportunity to be partners with us,” says Max Keeping of CTV News in Ottawa.  “We tell them they'll be the leaders of tomorrow, when in fact, they are leaders today. We need their energy, their enthusiasm, and their creative minds helping us NOW. Michael Sweet once again provides the opportunity for his students to showcase their minds to the world. Thank you. We all benefit." 

Raising Humanity is an important collection of student writing because it brings attention to some of our most pressing and current social problems but, at once, illuminates hope for our world and its people. The book is unsettling and intense without being dispiriting and bleak. Teenagers are feeling angst with an all new level of intensity as we force them to grow up too fast and this is candidly blunt in this collection. Whether wishing to feel into the hearts and minds of our youth or merely to become acquainted with our societal ills - this anthology will transport and enlighten.

Raising Humanity will be launched by  Garneau on May 19  at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North (11 575 PM Favier St.) at 7 p.m. All are welcome to attend. Additionally, young writers from the book are available for comment and interview as well as readings by contacting Learning for a Cause. Raising Humanity is made possible through the generous support of  the Saputo Corporation.

About Learning for a Cause

Learning for a Cause is a non-profit public school initiative which publishes and promotes young writers and their work. Learning for a Cause has won the Quebec Entrepreneurial Award, A Quebec Literacy Recognition Award, as well as having been recognized by UNESCO, Association of Teachers of English of Quebec and The National Teachers Hall of Fame - Wall of Fame. For further information, please visit


Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213