Dr. Carol Annelise Vela was called to the Lord on July 29, 2020 at her home in San Antonio, Texas. She was born in Corpus Christi, Texas on August 31, 1967 and raised in Alice, Texas as the youngest of five children and the only daughter to Rodolfo R. Vela, Sr. and Josephine Tobin Vela. She attended St. Joseph's Catholic School, Wm. Adams Junior High, and graduated from Alice High School in 1985. She held many leadership positions such as: Student Council President, Choir President, member of NHS and Future Teachers of America, but her proudest moment was at graduation when she was announced as the ""Outstanding Senior Girl"" voted by the faculty.
After high school, Dr. Vela attended St. Mary's University of San Antonio and joined Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority because of their Christian values and philanthropy work in the San Antonio Community. She was also Director of University Programming Council, Collage Choir, and a member of Student Government Association. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Communication Arts in 1989 and began her teaching career at Alice High School, her alma mater. She taught English classes, Speech, Yearbook, Newspaper (which received top awards from UIL-ILPC), Television, Journalism and Coached the Drill Team for four years. She took her students to many Journalism conferences/UIL competitions, and drill team summer camps. She went with her officers to New York and watched them perform in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and took them to National Competition twice, in Orlando Florida. Outside of school, Dr. Vela was also the Youth Director at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Alice for many years and worked with the ""Life Teen"" High School and Middle School youth groups and CCD programs.
In August of 2000, Dr. Vela received her Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling from Texas A&M University Kingsville and became a School Counselor in Alice after teaching for 8 years. She moved to Corpus Christi in 2003 and began working at W.B. Ray High School. While there, she helped launch the International Baccalaureate program in Corpus Christi ISD and was brave enough to take some students to Spain and then the following year to England for two IB Student World Conferences, and she did not lose a single student. Her best work at Ray High School was implementing the Freshmen Mentoring program comprised of 80 plus seniors who helped the freshmen class adjust to the new high school environment and the Grief Group, a group consisting of students who had lost a loved one. These students attended her group counseling sessions weekly and discussed topics they could feel safe sharing with each other. At graduation, a big white bow was placed in the chair where their loved one would have been sitting to witness the ""Crossing the Stage"" for that graduate.
Beginning her Doctorate degree in Counselor Education and Supervision at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi while working full time as a School Counselor was a challenge. She began her dissertation on a Social Justice issue and did a qualitative study on LGBTQ students, their parents and school counselors by analyzing their experiences and relationships to each other. Bullying and student safety became a big concern at that time as well as tolerance and acceptance. She presented her findings to school counselors in CCISD, at a time when no one was offering training on this topic and professional conferences had very little on the subject. While in Corpus Christi she served as President and Past-President of the Gulf Coast Counseling Association and started working as an Adjunct Professor for Lamar University in 2014.
It took 25 years, but she finally moved back to San Antonio during the summer of 2015. She graduated with her Doctorate degree in December of 2015 while working as a School Counselor for Jefferson High School. While at Jefferson High School, she helped launch another IB program and worked with the Special Populations of students: such as Special Education (SE), English as a Second Language (ESL)/Limited English Proficient (LEP), International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Gifted and Talented (GT). She was most recently the District Dual Credit Coordinator for San Antonio ISD while teaching for Lamar University. She was affiliated with professional Counseling Organizations such as: Texas Counseling Association (TCA), Texas School Counseling Association (TSCA), and the American School Counseling Association (ASCA). She had presented many times at state conferences on her mentoring program, grief group, student leadership style, and ethics.
Dr. Vela, a direct decedent of Jose Antonio Navarro, was a friend of the Casa Navarro and involved as an AST Alumni. She was the Historian and was President-elect and Scholarship Committee Chair for the Pan American League of San Antonio. She was selected as one of the ""PAL Members of the Year"" for 2017 and 2018. In May of 2018, she was elected as the President of Delta Kappa Gamma- Kappa Beta Chapter of San Antonio. She was incredibly honored to serve in this International Women's Educator Organization, because it is a position her mother held in her local chapter of Alice, Texas many years ago. She enjoyed spending time with her family and her two dogs (Bella and Bonita), having great adventures with her many friends, and travelling to new and interesting places all over the world.
Dr. Carol Annelise Vela was preceded in death by her parents, Rudy and Josephine Vela, and her brother, Raymond Vela.
She is survived by her brothers: Rodolfo ""Rudy"" (Alma) Vela, Jr. residing in San Antonio, Alexander ""Sandy"" (Becky) Vela of Alice, and Oscar Vela residing in San Antonio. She is also survived by her two nephews Tre (Ginger) Vela and Victor Vela, and three nieces, Theresa Vela, Jennifer (Justin) Randow, and Kesia Vela, all residing in San Antonio.
Visitation will be held Tuesday, August 4, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. till 1:00 p.m. at Rosas Funeral Home in Alice. A rosary will be recited Tuesday, August 4, 2020 at St. Joseph Catholic Church at 1:30 p.m., followed by Mass at 3:00 p.m. Burial will immediately follow at New Collins Cemetery in Alice, Texas.
Masks are required upon entering all facilities and during all services.
Funeral arrangements entrusted with ROSAS FUNERAL HOME, INC.
Published by Alice Echo News-Journal from Jul. 31 to Aug. 7, 2020.