Growing up on the Southside, Patrick J. Bonnema’s dream was to attend Brother 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, so money was really tight and his parents couldn’t afford to send him to Brother Rice,” said his daughter, Brittany Sullivan. Patrick ended up attending Hubbard High School, where he excelled at baseball, eventually trying out for three Major League Baseball teams.  He eventually went on to great success in his sales career.

When Patrick passed away in 2019, his wife Margaret and his children decided to honor his memory by making his childhood dream a reality for a family in need at Brother Rice.  In turn, Margaret McNicholas, Brittany Sullivan, Collins Bonnema, and Bree Bonnema established the Patrick J. Bonnema Scholarship Fund at Brother Rice High School.

“Our dad had a gift of giving, 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 Brother Rice,” said Bree Bonnema. “My husband Pat always wanted to help others in need, and he would be so glad young men get to attend Brother Rice in his name,” said Margaret McNicholas. 

The Bonnema family wants to thank everyone who donated and contributed to this year’s scholarship fund. They are happy to announce 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 Brother Rice. 

“Tommy sounds like a great kid, and Coach Murzyn told me Tommy is a true leader amongst his classmates and embodies everything it means to be a Crusader. My Dad, Patrick Bonnema, would be excited to know Tommy gets to live out his dream and attend Brother Rice. We wish Tommy the best in his academics and on the wrestling mat,” said Collins Bonnema (‘06).

Students who are from Oak Lawn, who are involved in the community, and who have verified financial need are eligible to apply for the Patrick J. Bonnema Scholarship.  Brother Rice High School also offers other forms of aid to help families afford the cost of tuition. This year, Brother Rice students received nearly $1.4 million in assistance with an average award of over $2,200 per student and over a 76% participation rate. Brother Rice also assists families in actively pursuing aid from outside foundations and organizations. Please access the following website for more information: