By Dana Delgado
Arely Narvaez Sanchez has big dreams.
The Liberty Hill High School senior hopes to earn a degree in nursing following graduation. But, coming from modest means and a humble background, she has had to deal with many obstacles. At times, it’s been overwhelming.
Vicky McCowan is the dedicated Registrar at Liberty Hill High School who helps keep students on track towards graduation with their credits. She also happens to be a mentor who has learned to recognize how and when to answer the call from a student in need of assurance, encouragement or general support. Mrs. McCowan understands that life can be troubling at times and can derail many a dream, but she believes it doesn’t have to be that way and has become an advocate for students.
“I’ve always been a caregiver,” Mrs. McCowan said. “In fact, in our family, we take care of people.”
Her skillful knack to help others has come partly by natural instincts and experience as a church youth minister, but mostly by the cruelty of some life lessons she experienced and overcame with the help of others. Her grandmother, Bessie Shannon, whom she says she owes a great deal of gratitude, took her under her wings.
When Miss Sanchez’ life crossed paths with Mrs. McCowan, things changed. While the firm but steady registrar required the timely completion of make-up hours for credits, Mrs. McCowan also encouraged Miss Sanchez to reach for her dreams and became a mentor to help the student find a clearer path to her goals.
“She wants to be independent and be on her own,” said Mrs. McCowan. “Arely wants to better herself and is not asking for a handout. She really wants to do whatever it takes to get a degree in nursing.”
Mrs. McCowan said that at first, Miss Sanchez was selling flan (a Spanish dessert) on her own as part of an art project for the Art Club.
“She looks for opportunities and asks others for help,” Mrs. McCowan added. “Arely researches everything and really wants to succeed.”
The two struck up such a positive relationship that Miss Sanchez has joined Mrs. McCowan’s part-time business (www.affordablyadorned.com) to enhance her own business knowledge and gain experience. After some training from Mrs. McCowan, Miss Sanchez will likely be her own independent consultant selling Paparazzi Accessories, which specializes in fashion, fun and all under $5. Paparazzi Accessories is a direct sales company.
The pair were at the recent high school varsity basketball games with rival Burnet with an array of accessories for sale. They were conducting a fundraiser for the varsity cheerleaders.
“We are a home party company as well as selling products for fundraisers,” said Mrs. McCowan. “We also sell our jewelry at vendor fairs and market days and currently go to as many of the student organization vendor fairs that I can including ones at Hendrickson High School Project Graduation, Vista Ridge Project Graduation vendor fair, Leander High School Color Guard competition, Stoney Point FFA BBQ cook-off and vendor show.
“Arely is so outgoing and caring,” said Mrs. Cowan. “She is also so grateful and gracious and an amazing cook and involved in school activities including the Art Club and Culinary Arts.”
Miss Sanchez, now with a ton of confidence, has a greater sense that her goals are very possible, says Mrs. McCowan. For the high school registrar and mentor, the reward is the student’s success.