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College of Education
phone: (208) 885-6772
toll free: (888) 884-3246
fax: (208) 885-6761
875 Perimeter Drive MS3080
Moscow, ID 83844-3080 

Coeur d'Alene
Phone (208) 667-2588
Toll free (888) 208-2268
Fax (208) 664-1272
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone (208) 334-2999
Toll free (866) 264-7384
Fax (208) 364-4035
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702

Michelle sitting in green grass

Michelle Bonasera Memorial scholarship

Michelle Kathleen Bonasera, a Kappa Delta and exercise science & health major at the University of Idaho’s College of Education, died Feb. 13, 2011, when her vehicle went off the road and rolled near Moscow while she was returning to campus. Investigators believe she fell asleep at the wheel. She was 19 years old. Her passenger Andreé Maxwell, who was 20 at the time, also was an exercise science & health major at the UI and a Kappa Delta, suffered multiple injuries. Andreé has since made a full recovery and changed her career intentions to become a paramedic/first-responder.

Michelle Bonasera vball pictureTo honor Michelle and the positive impact she had on all those who knew her at UI, the College of Education established the Michelle Bonasera Memorial Scholarship. Her grandmother, Kathy, gave a generous donation of $10,000 in 2011. She and Michelle, whose middle name was after her grandmother, shared a close relationship and spent a great deal of time together. Michelle, who grew up only five miles from her grandmother, often helped Kathy with household chores and lawn care. Kathy also agreed to match gifts until it reached endowment in hopes that it would reach endowment by June 7, 2012, what would have been Michelle’s 21st birthday.

In February 2012, Kathy received her wish. The scholarship endowment reached $25,000, and the college now will award a $1,000 scholarship annually in perpetuity. The first Michelle Bonasera scholarship will be awarded in the 2013-14 school year. Michelle’s mother, Vicki, hopes to someday be able to increase the endowment so that there will be more than one Michelle Bonasera scholarship recipient.

“It is such a wonderful way to know Michelle’s name at UI will forever be there,” Vicki said.

She added that the College of Education offered a great deal of support and were wonderful in taking care of her family through the process of losing their daughter, as well as taking care of Michelle while she was attending the college.

Michelle was born in Coeur d’Alene to Vicki and Dave Bonasera. Her younger brother, Blake, now is 17 and aMichele Bonasera family photo junior at Coeur d’Alene High School. Although only 5 feet 1 inch tall, Michelle was large in presence. Her infectious smile and boundless energy brought a ray of sunshine to those around her. Michelle played volleyball for Coeur d’Alene High School, and was also a member of DECA. When she came to the University of Idaho to study exercise science, the girl who loved purple and Disney princesses had plans to become a physical therapist.

“We didn’t realize until Michelle’s memorial just how much of an impact she had on so many people,” Vicki said. “Knowing Michelle, I doubt even she knew how many people she touched. That was just her way.”

Michelle loved boating and snowmobiling. In the summer, she worked at the Snack Shack at the boardwalk marina in Coeur d’Alene, and also helped her dad at the family business, Bonasera Mobile Repair detailing boats.

Michelle also loved animals and had a Teacup Yorkie she received as a gift after she left for college. She always had wanted a dog, and her parents told her once she moved out she could have one. Nala stayed with Kathy until Michelle died. Even though her mom never had had a pet and they admittedly weren’t pet people, Nala now lives with Michelle’s parents and brother and has become one of the family. The entire family loves him and Nala has gotten them through a rough time.

“He’s Michelle in puppy form,” Vicki said. He is like her down to his brown eyes, he is strong and greets everyone, she said.

Michelle’s sisters of the Kappa Delta sorority said that they had been dealt a great loss, and set up fundraising efforts to assist Maxwell’s family with medical expenses. Some of her sorority sisters still visit Michelle’s family and keep in touch with Vicki and Dave.

To give to the Michelle Bonasera Memorial Scholarship, or mail to:

Mail your gift to:
University of Idaho Foundation                                             
Michelle Bonasera Memorial Scholarship
PO Box 443147
Moscow, ID 83844-3147

Contact: Christina Randal, 208-885-7537