An­other Bon­is­teel bound for B.C.

New Har­bour teen fol­low­ing in sis­ter’s foot­steps; wins schol­ar­ship to pres­ti­gious school


The room be­long­ing to 17-yearold Isaac Bon­is­teel in his fam­ily’s New Har­bour home is painted or­ange.

On one wall is the in­signia of Isaac’s favourite soc­cer club, Manch­ester United. It was a sur­prise gift from his sis­ter Erin from an ear­lier birth­day.

The other wall is adorned with var­i­ous posters of ath­letes like Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs, as well as some pho­tos of some hockey play­ers.

This will re­main his room un­til the end of Au­gust. Then, Isaac will be trad­ing in the or­ange for the ster­ile stu­dent res­i­dences of Pear­son Col­lege in Vic­to­ria, Bri­tish Columbia.

It is then he will be start­ing the two-year pre-univer­sity pro­gram at the pres­ti­gious univer­sity. Why is Bon­is­teel head­ing to B.C.? The Cres­cent Col­le­giate stu­dent has been named 2014 re­cip­i­ent of the Lester B. Pear­son Schol­ar­ship for New­found­land and Labrador.

The Lester B. Pear­son Schol­ar­ship is val­ued at $34,000 an­nu­ally, good for $68,000 pro­vided at Pear­son Col­lege, a United World Col­lege in Vic­to­ria, B.C.

Bon­is­teel is the third young per­son from the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion-Pla­cen­tia re­gion to be awarded the schol­ar­ship in the last four years.

He will be join­ing last year’s win­ner Zoë Wilkins, of Clarke’s Beach.

Be­fore that, Bon­is­teel’s sis­ter Erin (2011) and Car­bon­ear’s Astrid Pea­cock (2006) were named re­cip­i­ents.

“I was in shock, hon­estly,” said Bon­is­teel of find­ing out he was ac­cepted. “I was about to go for a run. It made the run a lot eas­ier.

“I re­ally couldn’t be­lieve it.”

A bit of his­tory Bon­is­teel’s in­ter­est in the high­pro­file in­sti­tu­tion be­gan over four years be­fore bet­ting ac­cepted. It be­gans when a fam­ily friend got ac­cepted to the school. When that hap­pened, he and his sis­ter be­gan re­search­ing Pear­son Col­lege and learn­ing what they could about the school.

Bon­is­teel’s in­ter­est in at­tend­ing only in­ten­si­fied when Erin was ac­cepted three years ago.

It gave him the op­por­tu­nity to visit the cam­pus and see ev­ery­thing Pear­son had to of­fer. This, along with some words from his sis­ter of her ex­pe­ri­ence, sealed the deal for Bon­is­teel.

“I found it in­ter­est­ing and I re­ally wanted to ap­ply,” he said

To gain ac­cep­tance to the school, stu­dents have to fill out a lengthy ap­pli­ca­tion. It starts with the gen­eral in­for­ma­tion, be­fore get­ting a lit­tle more in depth.

“I started the process last fall,” said Bon­is­teel.

Heav­ily in­volved One as­pect of the ap­pli­ca­tion process is the depth a stu­dent is in­volved in the com­mu­nity. Sure, grades help — Bon­is­teel has an aver­age of 98 — but Pear­son is look­ing for stu­dents who are well­rounded.

“They have val­ues they’re look­ing for and they re­ally want to find stu­dents who em­body these val­ues,” he said. “They are sus­tain­abil­ity, be­ing eco-friendly, be­ing open and ac­cept­ing, things like that.”

Bon­is­teel is in­volved in a host of ac­tiv­i­ties at Cres­cent in Blake­town. This in­cludes play­ing the piano in the school’s jazz band, act­ing with the school’s drama troupe, Al­lied Youth and Free the Chil­dren.

It’s not only com­mu­nity in­volve­ment that makes this young man stand out.

Tak­ing a look around Bon­is­teel’s back­yard would lead you to the con­clu­sion that he is a stand­out ath­lete. There is a bas­ket­ball net, a hockey net and a soc­cer goal sit­u­ated on the grounds.

He is a stand­out ath­lete in and out­side the school. Most no­tably, Bon­is­teel plays soc­cer with the provin­cial un­der-18 team.

Look­ing in­ter­na­tional Pear­son Col­lege has a stu­dent body that may not be like any other cam­pus in the world. The school brings to­gether 200 high school stu­dents from over 100 coun­tries, and it is that in­ter­na­tional flavour that in­trigues Bon­is­teel.

“Just to get the op­por­tu­nity to know and ex­pe­ri­ence other cul­tures all through­out the world … get a high level ed­u­ca­tion, that’s what I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to the most,” he said.

No doubt, it will be a new ad­ven­ture for him.

It will take Bon­is­teel across the coun­try, only com­ing home for Christ­mas and sum­mers.

“I’ve ac­cepted the fact that I’ll be­come home­sick at one point. Ap­par­ently, New­found­lan­ders are the worst for be­ing home sick be­cause we have such a strong sense of com­mu­nity, cul­ture and place,” he said. “I’m sure it will be dif­fi­cult in terms of miss­ing my fam­ily and friends in the be­gin­ning, but it’s def­i­nitely worth it.”

Photo by Ni­cholas Mercer/The Com­pass

New Har­bour res­i­dent Isaac Bon­is­teel is headed to Vic­to­ria, B.C., and Pear­son Col­lege for two years of pre-univer­sity stud­ies at the end of the sum­mer.

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