Architecture buff Norwalk student receives $100,000 Kevin Eidt scholarship

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NORWALK — Norwalk High School senior Michael Bonsangue first heard about the $100,000 Kevin Eidt Memorial Scholarship in 2016, when his sister was a finalist.

On Saturday, Bonsangue became the 26th recipient of the scholarship.

Bonsangue said he was really surprised when he announced he had been chosen for the coveted scholarship.

“When I got the call, I didn’t know what to expect,” Bonsangue said. “I was sitting in the room waiting and I thought there was a good chance I would continue to wait for nothing.”

The scholarship and the Kevin’s Fund were founded following the death of Kevin Eidt, a graduate of Norwalk High School and a student of Boston College in 1996. Helen and Chris Eidt established the fund and the scholarship to honor the memory of their son. Kevin Eidt died of cardiac arrest while playing intramural basketball during his freshman year at Boston College.

The first Kevin Eidt Memorial Scholarship was awarded in 1997 to his friend Gregory Calnon. Calnon presented his award to Bonsangue on Saturday in front of a gathering of about 135 attendees and nine alumni, according to a statement from Kevin’s Fund.

Bonsangue plans to study architecture in college, but still has to choose between the University of Massachusetts and George Washington University. Bonsangue said he will enter UMass Amherst as an architecture major while the George Washington program will focus on interior architecture.

He first discovered a love of architecture in what used to be called the Academic Talent Program at Wolfpit Elementary School.

“In the fifth year of academic talent, we made architecture one of our units, talking about getting into it and drawing plans. And my teacher looked over my shoulder and said she thought I had found something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” Bonsangue said.

The idea that at the age of 10 or 11, Bonsangue had stumbled upon his future career, as his teacher suggested, was daunting. Bonsangue continued to pursue this field as a hobby, first downloading a house design program to his computer shortly after learning architecture in school.

Growing up, Bonsangue was always interested in the arts and drawing, said his parents Louis and Kristin Bonsangue.

“For Michael, he just started drawing. He always drew and sketched, and it just evolved,” said Kristin Bonsangue. “Neither I nor my husband consider ourselves artists, and we were not interested in this area, although some family members had artistic talent. My husband’s mother paints and draws, and she has always been interested in architecture, in historic houses.

The application process for architecture programs was extensive and alien to Michael Bonsangue and his parents, as schools needed additional application materials such as sketches and a portfolio, Louis Bonsangue said.

“It was almost like having to make two requests for each school,” said Louis Bonsangue. “Not only did he have to complete the common application and write the essay, but each school required him to submit a portfolio and if that wasn’t enough, each school’s portfolio was different. … We spent many hours at the writing table. the dining room, where we sit now, arranging the schools he was going to apply to.

As for why Michael Bonsangue was chosen among the other four finalists, it’s the breadth of his services and experience that sets him apart, according to the release from Kevin’s Fund.

Musically gifted, Bonsangue has been a member of the school choir for four years, a member of the singers’ honor rooms and has taken private drum lessons since sixth grade, according to the statement.

Bonsangue was a member of the tennis team for four years, although one season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is now the co-captain of the team. The disruption and resulting shortage of tennis players allowed Bonsangue to play longer and bond with his teammates.

Perhaps his favorite extracurricular job is his work with the high school Bears Beating Cancer Club, of which he has been a member for four years and co-chairman for two, he said.

Selecting the Kevin’s Fund scholarship recipient is a lengthy process that begins with preliminary applications in October, which received 17 applicants this year, according to the fund’s statement. Eight of the nominees were invited to submit a final entry in February and Bonsangue was one of five finalists chosen for an interview before the winner was notified last Wednesday.

The other four finalists were Colin Hong, Kristi Lee, Vandan Patel and Gemma Warde, according to the statement.

Ahead of the awards ceremony, Bonsangue said he was a little nervous about giving his speech because the win wasn’t fully priced in yet and the other four finalists also deserved the honour.

Bonsangue’s father hopes the scholarship and his legacy will encourage his son to maintain his service and academic momentum throughout college.

“Michael definitely understands the importance of this and I’m confident he will continue to do so at any college he chooses,” said Louis Bonsangue. “He understands that he has an obligation to be up to it. He understands that he has an obligation to this legacy and to all who received the award before him.

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