Growing up on the South Side, Patrick J. Bonnema’s dream was to attend Br. Rice High School to play baseball.
He took the entrance exam and was accepted, but there was a considerable obstacle that couldn’t be overcome.
“He was one of nine Bonnema children in his family,” said his daughter, Brittany Sullivan. “So, money was really tight, and his parents couldn’t afford to send him to Br. Rice.”
Bonnema ended up attending Hubbard High School, where he excelled in baseball, eventually trying out for three Major League Baseball teams. He eventually went on to great success in a career in sales.
When Bonnema died in 2019, his wife, Margaret McNicholas, and his children decided to honor his memory by making his childhood dream a reality for a family in need at Br. Rice High School.
In turn, McNicholas, Brittany Sullivan, Collins Bonnema and Bree Bonnema established the Patrick J. Bonnema Scholarship Fund.
“Our dad had a gift of giving,” said Bree Bonnema, “and he would be thrilled to know that a scholarship fund was established in his name to assist families who might need some financial help to send their sons to Br. Rice.”
McNicholas echoed those sentiments.
“My husband Pat always wanted to help others in need,” she said, “and he would be so glad that young men get to attend Br. Rice in his name.”
The Bonnema Family expressed thanks to those who donated and contributed to this year’s scholarship fund.
The family recently announced the Patrick J. Bonnema Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year has been awarded to Tommy Bennett, who will receive a full one-year scholarship to Br. Rice.
“Tommy sounds like a great kid, and Coach Murzyn told me Tommy is a true leader among his classmates and embodies everything it means to be a Crusader,” said Collins Bonnema, a 2006 Br. Rice graduate. “My dad would be excited to know Tommy gets to live out his dream and attend Br. Rice. We wish Tommy the best in his academics and on the wrestling mat.”
Students who are from Oak Lawn, involved in the community and who have verified financial need are eligible to apply for the Patrick J. Bonnema Scholarship.
Br. Rice High School also offers other forms of aid to help families afford the cost of tuition.
This year, Br. Rice students received nearly $1.4 million in assistance with an average award of over $2,200 per student and more than a 76-percent participation rate.
Br. Rice also assists families in actively pursuing aid from outside foundations and organizations.
For more information visit brotherrice.org.