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An appreciation of education deeply rooted in this family tree

Justin Filuk, whose father Jack was among the 15 Filuk siblings to start the scholarship fund, is hoping to expand it.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

The donors: The Filuk family

The gift: $115,000 and climbing

The cause: Swan Valley Regional Secondary School

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The reason: To fund scholarships

When Lazar and Jean Filuk arrived in Canada from Ukraine in 1928, they settled near Swan River, Man., and took up farming.

The couple had 15 children and made sure they all got an education, even during the height of the Great Depression. Many years later, the Filuk kids decided to set up a scholarship in honour of their parents at their old school, now called the Swan Valley Regional Secondary School. They donated $2,400 in 1985 and added to it over the years.

Today the scholarship fund, which is managed by the Community Foundation of Swan River, has grown to $115,000 and a new generation of Filuks, roughly 200 of them, has taken charge. They hope to nearly double the size of the fund within 10 years and boost the amount given to students. Currently it pays for two annual scholarships, each worth $1,000.

"A lot of us who administer it now have gone through university, so we know that $1,000 is great but we'd like to see the award up around $5,000 each," said Justin Filuk, who lives in Vancouver and is leading the charge to expand the fund along with several other younger family members.

His father, Jack, passed away earlier this year and the estate plans a donation to the fund. Other aunts and uncles have also contributed through their estates. "It has become something that we are all very proud of."

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