Vanessa De La Vega Meza

Depth of Field: Dease Scholarship Day

Some of the most joyous moments in the St. Thomas community take place as high school seniors find out they are a recipient of the Dease Scholarship, a four-year, full-tuition scholarship generally awarded to students of color, first-generation students and graduates from urban high schools who demonstrate commitment to academic excellence, leadership and their communities. Named after St. Thomas’ 14th president, Father Dennis Dease, the scholarship focuses on diversity by bringing underrepresented students to St. Thomas' community of scholars. Twelve to 20 scholarships are given out each year, and the program has brought more than 200 students to St. Thomas since its inception in 2004.

One of this year's recipient, Vanessa De La Vega Meza, currently attends Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul, and was surprised to find her "interview" morphing into a celebration.