Jonathan Deeley of Halifax, a senior at Archbishop Williams High School, won’t have to worry about tuition bills when he goes to college next fall - or for that matter, for the next four years. Instead, Jon will attend Boston University tuition-free, thanks to his selection to the university’s highly competitive Cardinal Humberto Medeiros Scholarship Program.
For Jon, the scholarship to BU was a dream come true!
“BU was my first-choice school before the scholarship,” Jon said. “When I toured there, I immediately fell in love with the school, but unfortunately, it is so expensive, I knew I wouldn’t be able to attend. But with the scholarship, I can. I feel being a student there will be the absolute foundation for my future.”
Jon is one of only 12 students from the Archdiocese of Boston chosen for the scholarship. He and the other Medeiros Scholars will receive their awards May 24 during a ceremony at BU with President Robert Brown and Cardinal Sean O’Malley. The value of their awards will total $2.5 million through four years.
"Jon is an incredibly hard working, dedicated student and simply a great citizen of Archbishop Williams,” said Principal Dr. Michael Volonnino. “He is a thoroughly deserving recipient and he will add to the great legacy of Archbishop Williams Medeiros Scholarship award winners at Boston University. We are all so proud of him."
At BU, Jon will join recent Archbishop Williams Medeiros Scholars Sarah Golden ’16, Nick Neville ’14, and Richard McAllister ’14.
Each year, Catholic high schools in the archdiocese nominate one or two students for the award, and in any given year, up to 14 students are selected. To be nominated, students must be ranked in the top 10 of their graduating classes. In addition to academic achievement, they must also have proven leadership ability and dedication to community service.
“When you have leadership on top of your academics, that brings a whole new level of accomplishment to your resume, no matter what you apply for,” said Jon, who has been active in Peer Ministry, National Honor Society, and at a nursing home near his local community.
“I enjoyed how we as Peer Ministers helped younger students transition into high school. That experience gave me a whole new perspective into guiding other people instead of always being the one guided. It was a step into adulthood and good for my character,” he said.
Jon’s Peer Ministry experience put him in contact with senior citizens at Independence Manor, Braintree, and on his own, with senior citizens at the Wingate at Silver Lake rehab and nursing home in Kingston. On Sundays, he joined the men there to watch sports games on TV. Because he developed a positive rapport with them, he was asked to start a Thursday night men’s group where they played board games together and the men shared their life stories with him.
“There are mostly women in the nursing home, so they enjoy the male companionship,” Jon said.
As a member of the National Honor Society, and as vice-president this year, Jon distributed Christmas toys and clothing for students at the Clifford Marshall Elementary School in Quincy.
“When we went there and saw the look of appreciation on the principal’s face, I think that was the moment when the whole meaning of service shifted for me - that it’s not just about getting service hours for school, but about making an impact in a big way,” Jon said.
The scholarship is named for Cardinal Medeiros who was born in the Azores and migrated as a child with his family to Fall River, Mass. While serving as Bishop of Brownsville, Texas, his work with migrant workers came to the attention of BU Chancellor and Texas native, John Silber. In 1970, Medeiros was named Archbishop of Boston, then Cardinal, and in 1982, was granted an honorary degree at BU. Shortly after Medeiros’ death in 1983, Silber recommended that the BU Board of Trustees establish a scholarship in Medeiros’ name. Since 1986, the university has expended more than $35 million on scholarships for Archdiocesan students.
“Congratulations to Jonathan Deeley, his family and Archbishop Williams High School!” said Colin Riley, Executive Director of Media Relations at BU. “Jonathan joins an elite group of Medeiros Scholarship recipients that for the past three decades are among the best and brightest of the graduates of the parochial high schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. We look forward to his contributions in the classrooms and labs, and to campus life, as a Boston University Terrier.”