|LESTER B. PEARSON HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WRITE THEIR WAY TO A BETTER WORLD|
MONTREAL, MAY 14 2007- Lester B. Pearson High School students dared to imagine a better world in their anthology of poetry, essays, plays and short stories titled IF: The Anthology. Employing the social justice imagination and posing the question 'IF' more than one hundred students spilled a little ink to illustrate that a better world, more peaceful and humane, is possible.
The book was published worldwide by Learning for a Cause, a teaching project founded by their award-winning teacher Michael Sweet. This project asks high school students to imagine a better world, a world of peace, community, compassion and sympathy; a world committed to fostering and promoting humanity. Through engagement with the literary and social imaginations students are asked to write creatively and open the eyes and hearts of others towards creating change. Learning for a Cause publishes the compilation of essays, poems, plays and short stories at the end as a series of staring points for imagining and then bringing into being a new order a more humane and compassionate world.
Sweet has published more than 200 high school students since 2004. He states, "I am always amazed with the quality of work received at the end of the school year. This writing is full of passion, insight, thought and contemplation as well as hope and inspiration. You read this book and you feel for humanity, you feel the possibilities, you imagine, even envision what the world could be and it's beautiful. You read this book and you see young people in a whole new light. Our young generation is truly compassionate about the human condition.
"Students write to be appreciated, not to fill the blue box in June. I wanted to give them an opportunity to be heard, to have their voice recorded in history. Their thoughts about our world are so brilliant that it is a loss to our community not to publish them. All royalties from the books are directed into community initiatives by the students. This year they are making a substantial donation to the Trans Canada Trail, which preserves Canada's natural beauty.
IF: The Anthology, published at Lester B. Pearson High School, is a powerful and moving book. The opening is written by famous Canadian artist Alex Colville who makes the point that through art we can truly discover. These students have discovered that imagination and hope is needed to bring about change in the world. They have discovered that books can and do change the world and affect lives.Dr. Emery Hyslop-Margison from the University of New Brunswick writes in the preface of the book that Michael Sweet and his students, by crafting a series of impressive plays, poems and short stories "evoke our emotional and sympathetic response to human suffering, hardship and injustice." In a section of six word stories in the style of Ernest Hemingway one student, Giancarlo Sardelli, sums up the present fate of too many in our world writing, "They lived, they suffered and they died".
IF: The Anthology is being released this month and will be available at online booksellers everywhere.
Michael J. Cohen