Maria Vega: the mother of DP

By Julia DeRogatis

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Maria Vega has always called Dos Pueblos her second home. (Stam Scarvelis / Photo)

Maria Vega has always called Dos Pueblos her second home. (Stam Scarvelis / Photo)

By Julia Derogatis | Staff Writer

February 5, 2013

At first glance, she is a warm smile, a caring manner, and a bright voice.

Upon further inspection, she becomes the wise bearer of numerous stories and memories from another day.

She is the life of the school, the mother to all the students. She is Maria Vega, and she has found the place where she belongs: Dos Pueblos.

As we sit in the shadowed lounge of the office, Vega explains her long history with DP.

Amid the rich smell of coffee and the brightly colored left-over fall pumpkins, an image of Vega’s youth beings to materialize as she recounts the days spent by her and her siblings roaming the halls of DP on their way to self-discovery.

In Vega’s teenage years, DP was a very different place. “We didn’t have to take the star test, the CAHSEE, or and of those kind of tests,” Vega says, smiling at the thought. “We didn’t have any bells [and] we had two lunch periods.”

Imagine that. A high school with no bells to control the 2,700 students careening down its halls, skipping and tripping along with all the vibrant flare of the 80’s.

And how did all those students get to DP?

“The majority of people rode their bikes to school,” Vega says, grinning at my look of disbelief.

Anyone attending DP in 2013 would know that the car-drivers way outnumber any brave bikers. However, Vega explains that back when she went to DP, no one could afford cars.

Instead of sprawling parking lots, there were long expanses of bike racks overflowing with the students’ two-wheeled transportation devices.

Vega was also privileged to be privy to many of DP’s firsts.

“I was on the very first [softball] team,” Vega says, and then continues on to reveal that she was also present the first time that an African American women won Homecoming Queen at DP. “It was the neatest thing that happened at Dos Pueblos,” Vega says. “Everyone was very, very excited!”

Excitement seemed to be a trend within the DP of the 70’s and 80’s, which Vega emphasizes by saying, “if you had come to the pep rallies during lunch you had to run to get a seat. The band was there, everybody in the school was there. School spirit back then was good, it was really good.”

Vega sailed through her years at DP, quickly reaching the point in her life where she had to decide where to spend her future years. The answer was right under her feet. Literally.

“I felt like I belonged here,” Vega says, explaining her decision to stay at DP, “I wouldn’t wanna be anywhere else. It’s an amazing place to work and an amazing place to grow up.”

Over the years, Vega has become very attached to DP and all the students that pass through its halls.

“I feel like all the students are my kids,” Vega says, and like a proud mother, her favorite part of her job is watching students cross the sunlit stage at graduation.

“That is the most amazing feeling. It’s like ‘yeah they made it!’ It’s just so exciting,” exclaims Vega.

Even now, after having been on campus for 25 years, Vega is still incredibly happy to be a part of the DP family.

“We are here for one thing and one thing only, for the students,” Vega says, “they are amazing people, and they’re our future. That’s the reason we’re here.”

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