The Herald, Sharon, PA Published Monday, November 24, 2003

Scholarship to benefit needy youth

A local couple have endowed a new academic scholarship in honor of Steve Banjak, the longtime president of Sokol USA Lodge 103 in Farrell.

The Steve Banjak Scholarship will assist a deserving and qualified Sokol member working toward a college degree, said Melvin Slezak.

Slezak and his wife Dorothy, South Pymatuning Township, donated the initial $5,000 of what is intended to be a $10,000 scholarship fund. The goal is to raise the rest of the money by summer 2006, which marks the 100th anniversary of the local lodge.

Annual interest on invested principal funds will help Sokol members pay education costs at the college or university of their choice, Slezak said.

The scholarship was named for Banjak in honor of his dedicated service to the Sokol movement and Sokol USA in Farrell.

Banjak, at age 16, attended his first Sokol Kurz in Ford City, Pa. He is president of District Svatopluk in Michigan, Ohio and parts of western Pennsylvania.

He has guided the Farrell unit for 50 years as president and for many years as an instructor in the gymnasium.

The Farrell lodge under Banjak's leadership has 225 adult members and 50 juvenile members.

The lodge conducts annual Slovak cultural activities and dinners and weekly gymnastic classes.

Tax deductible contributions payable to Steve Banjak Scholarship can be mailed to Melvin Slezak, chairman; 6850 Seneca Road, Sharpsville 16150.


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