Senior, Carolina Vela, has earned admissions into seven universities in both Texas and across the country. Carolina has been accepted into national top-ranking universities like Johns Hopkins University, The University of Notre Dame, and Trinity University, where she earned the Trinity Tower academic scholarship. The Trinity Tower Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship and is offered to 20 of Trinity’s top new applicants.
Saint Joseph Academy offers over 30 clubs and activities for students to be a part of. Carolina has been involved in many of those clubs throughout her 6 years here at St. Joe. To Carolina, the most impactful clubs that she has been a part of has been the Positive Peer Leadership Team (PPLT) and the Bloodhound Ambassadors.
The PPLT is a group of students from 8th through 12th grade who are selected by their teachers based on character, grades, and talent. PPLT is involved in several activities both on campus and in the community. “PPLT was the first club I joined as a SJA student. I was exposed to the kindness and compassion of my fellow students, and it motivated me to be involved in my school and be more involved in service.”
The Bloodhound Ambassadors are the student philanthropic arm of the SJA Office of Academy Advancement and Alumni Affairs. This group is made up of students from all grade levels and are chosen through an application process. The goals of this group are raising money to give back to the school, teaching their peers about the importance of philanthropy, and staying involved with the Academy after graduation. Group members learn the different ways non-profits solicit funds and the importance of cultivating and stewarding donor relationships. “Being a part of the Bloodhound Ambassadors has allowed me to feel more connected to the SJA community as well as leave a legacy here”, says Carolina.
Outside of SJA, Carolina has been involved in the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) since the 9th grade. The NHI provides its youth with a continuum of leadership opportunities that begin in the 9th grade and continue through undergraduate college studies. This organization provides a great amount of community service including serving the Good Neighbor Settlement house, a nonprofit, multi-service agency dedicated to assisting the needy men, women, and children of Brownsville through programs that provide nutritious meals, clothing, showers, and support services. Carolina has had the opportunity to better her communication and public speaking skills, leadership skills, coordinating skills, and organization skills because of this program. One year into the program, Carolina took on the role of a coach and has now been serving as a head coach of the South Texas region. Carolina’s current role includes organizing meetings, public and community outreach, agenda writing, and logistics. “Being a part of the different number of clubs at SJA has prepared me for a role such as this because in this current role, I’m able to apply my Marist teachings and understandings by giving back and helping others”, says Carolina.
Upon graduating from SJA, Carolina plans to study pre-law where she can continue the family tradition of being dedicated civil servants. “I’ve decided to pursue pre-law because taking rigorous courses in history and government has developed my interest in politics. I’ve also grown up with a family of dedicated civil servants who have careers in politics and law”, says Carolina. “I know that wherever I choose to attend college, I know that it will lead me down that right path to reach my goals.”