MONTREAL, NOVEMBER 22, 2010 – Lester B. Pearson High School's student press initiative, Learning for a Cause, has come to an end. Well, sort of.
The non-profit press, which was founded in 2004 by teacher Michael Sweet, and which has published thousands of students, alongside celebrities like Martin Sheen, Roberta Bondar and David Suzuki, has been taken over by Youth Fusion Quebec. The latter is a non-profit organization which operates throughout Quebec in an effort to reduce high school dropout rates. They currently operate major projects within the English Montreal School Board such as the school newspaper at James Lyng. Youth Fusion will continue to produce student publications under the Learning for a Cause name and will aim to make the initiative more widespread.
“It was a hard decision for me,” said Michael Sweet, a teacher at the Montreal North school. “ I knew it would ultimately mean taking the press away from Pearson but it was time for change. It was a great five years, we produced some amazing books and brought these students and their work to libraries all across Canada.”
Down to Earth, Raising Humanity and We Who Listened are among the presses most notable books. Down to Earth won an international indie book award and has been sent to more than 100 schools across Canada free of charge. The initiative is regarded as having broken ground in Canadian classroom-based publishing and garnered its founder, Mré Sweet, with a 2009 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching and a spot on the Wall of Fame at the National Teachers Hall of Fame in the United States. Additionally, the project won a Quebec Entrepreneurial Award – twice.
When asked about future plans Mr. Sweet stated that he was taking a management role in Youth Fusion to oversee LFC's interests and hinted about new projects for keeping Pearson on the map. “Nothing is finalized, but I am working with my students to reinvent my classroom. It won't be publishing but it will be something. Just teaching is not an option for me. I'm too hyperactive for that!”