The room belonging to 17-year-old 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 be 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 high-profile 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.
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 well-rounded.
“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.
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.”