Erin Bon­is­teel has the poise of a fig­ure skater


Dur­ing an in­ter­view with Erin Bon­is­teel at her fam­ily’s home in New Har­bour last week, ev­ery­thing from her straight pos­ture to her ready smile ra­di­ates with quiet self-as­sur­ance.

Those who know her say it’s a prod­uct of hard work and tremen­dous self-dis­ci­pline — both in school and on the ice.

“ Erin comes home more beat up from fig­ure skat­ing than her brother does from hockey,” says her mother, Mary Har­ris.

“ When­ever she falls, she wants to get up and try the jump again. It comes to a point where her coach has to tell her to get off the ice.” Erin’s work ethic has cer­tainly paid off. Last week, the Level II stu­dent at Cres­cent Col­le­giate in Blake­town was named the re­cip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious Lester B. Pearson Schol­ar­ship, val­ued at $68,000.

Lengthy ap­pli­ca­tion process

In Septem­ber, she will be among 200 stu­dents se­lected from more than 100 coun­tries to en­roll in a pre-univer­sity in­ter­na­tional bac­calau­re­ate (IB) pro­gram at Pearson Col­lege, a United World Col­lege in Vic­to­ria, B.C. Bon­is­teel de­cided to pur­sue the schol­ar­ship af­ter hear­ing about it from a fam­ily friend, and un­der­went a lengthy ap­pli­ca­tion process. All stu­dents are cho­sen on the ba­sis of high aca­demic achieve­ment and qual­ity of char­ac­ter.

Tra­di­tion­ally, only one schol­ar­ship is awarded to a stu­dent in this prov­ince each year.

When asked what part of the ex­pe­ri­ence she is most look­ing for­ward to, Bon­is­teel does not hes­i­tate for a mo­ment.

“Go­ing to school with peo­ple from all over the world,” she says.

She also looks for­ward to tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cam­pus’s rugged lo­ca­tion, where ex­tracur­ric­u­lar cour­ses in­clude learn­ing to kayak or scuba dive in the Pa­cific Ocean.

“I like to get in­volved,” she says. “Ev­ery­one needs to re­lax, of course, but I don’t need to re­lax for long. I get bored.”

Leav­ing friends, teach­ers

Be­sides fig­ure skat­ing, Bon­is­teel is a mem­ber of her school’s cheer­lead­ing squad and spends her sum­mers work­ing as a life­guard. While she ad­mits that she will miss these ac­tiv­i­ties when she leaves home, Bon­is­teel most re­grets leav­ing her friends and teach­ers be­hind.

“I’m sad to go a year early, but hope­fully next year I’ll be back in time for grad­u­a­tion.”

She also wor­ries about the new aca­demic chal­lenges she may be faced with in the IB pro­gram, but Mary Har­ris has ev­ery con­fi­dence that her daugh­ter will con­tinue to thrive at Pearson.

“Erin has al­ways been very in­de­pen­dent, and very in­trin­si­cally mo­ti­vated,” she says. “ This is just one more new ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Erin Bon­is­teel of New Har­bour is this prov­ince’s 2011 re­cip­i­ent of the pres­ti­gious Lester B. Pearson Schol­ar­ship, val­ued at $68,000.

Com­pass in­tern Mika Rekai (left) chats with Erin Bon­is­teel of New Har­bour.

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