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The donors: Michael Beckerman, Robert Mann, Kevin O'Brien, Christol Connolly

The gift: Raising $50,000

The cause: A scholarship at Toronto's Deer Park Public School in honour of teacher Jeff Mann

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Just days before school started this fall, students and staff at Deer Park Public School in Toronto got some terrible news. Their beloved gym teacher Jeff Mann had died suddenly due to complications from diabetes.

Mr. Mann, 41, had been at the elementary school for more than 10 years, inspiring thousands of students, colleagues and parents. He ran a monthly award program to encourage responsibility, sent e-mails to parents about their children's progress and pushed students to go beyond what they thought was possible.

"He did a remarkable job of using sport and health and even more importantly, self-esteem, to instill a sense of confidence in students so that they could feel good about themselves," said Michael Beckerman, whose three children attended the school.

Now, Mr. Beckerman has joined with Mr. Mann's brother, Robert, and a group of other volunteers to raise $50,000 for a scholarship in honour of Mr. Mann. The scholarship will be awarded each year to a grade 12 student who attended Deer Park and demonstrates leadership through sports.

"Hopefully we're all fortunate to have a Mr. Mann as a teacher," said Mr. Beckerman.

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