COVID claims life of beloved Seton teacher, 42 - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

COVID claims life of beloved Seton teacher, 42

December 19th, 2021 development
COVID claims life of beloved Seton teacher, 42

By Ken Sain, Staff Writer

Life was looking up for Vanessa Lopez Delgado. She had just bought a new home for her family and landed what she called her “dream job,” teaching dance at Seton Catholic Preparatory.

The 42-year-old woman died on Dec. 9, one of more than 23,000 in Arizona to succumb to COVID-19.

“Dance was a way for her to express herself,” said Jessica Morel, Delgado’s cousin. “She had a passion for dance for many, many, many years.”

Morel said Delgado wanted to get the vaccine to protect herself, but was unable to because of a lung condition. That condition was made worse after she moved into a new home.

After moving into the home and moving her refrigerator, she discovered mold that had not been disclosed during the purchase of the home. They checked with the previous occupants and owners and learned that they knew about the mold, but did not disclose it.

“That aggravated her health condition,” Morel said. “It makes us frustrated and angry knowing it might have been a contributing factor.”

Delgado began feeling sick a week before Thanksgiving. She checked into a hospital the Monday before Thanksgiving. She went on a ventilator on Thanksgiving Day.

“That was the last time any of us talked to her,” Morel said.

Delgado was in her first year at Seton Catholic. Before that she had taught English at Gilbert High School, where she had graduated from. Before that she worked in the Tempe Union High School District. She also taught dance at Chandler-Gilbert Community College and was a graduate of Arizona State University.

“Everyone’s still in shock,” said Victor Serna, the principal at Seton Catholic. “We’re going through the mourning process and doing the best we can to support our students and staff. We pray for her soul and her family, especially her two young daughters.”

Serna said they could tell Delgado was a special person right from the start.

“After a couple of interviews, we could tell that she would not only be a great fine arts instructor for us, but also a future leader on campus. That’s why we made her  a department chair.

“This is going to be a tremendous loss for the community and her family,” Serna said.

Delgado had a long-lasting impact in her time at Gilbert. She founded the school’s hip-hop dancing team, The 1101. She also led the drive to change the name of the road next to the high school to Gilbert Tiger Drive.

Delgado also started her own business, a graphic design company.

Morel said they do not know how she contracted COVID, saying her cousin was always very careful.

“As the oldest of seven siblings, she made sure everyone was taking this seriously,” Morel said.

Delgado is survived by her two daughters, ages 13 and 11. A GoFundMe page has been set up by Morel to help with the funeral costs and create a trust fund for the two children. Her daughters are now living with their father in Gilbert.

A celebration of Delgado’s life is planned for Dec. 27 in Mesa.

Morel said Delgado loved to dance and tried to share that passion with others. She volunteered to work at senior centers, helping them get up and move. Delgado’s cousin said she was self-taught. That’s why it was important for her to make sure others had a chance to dance.

“She thought it was an ageless way to express yourself,” Morel said.


How to help

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Vanessa Lopez Delgado’s two children. Visit and search for her name.


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