Cardinal Dinardo Blesses Campus Addition
“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
On February 10th, His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo joined Sister Lauren Beck, C.V.I. President of Incarnate Word Academy, Dr. Mary Aamodt, Principal of Incarnate Word Academy, and Patrick Barry, President of Incarnate Word Academy’s Board of Advisors for the Blessing & Dedication of IWA’s New Academy Building and Young Leaders Conference Center. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumnae and supporters attended the ceremony at 609 Crawford Street, and thousands more witnessed the historic moment via the live feed streaming on Facebook Live.
It was only one-year prior that a similar group gathered together in the Rafferty Courtyard to break the ground on which the 18,500 square foot campus addition now stands. Sister Lauren acknowledged and thanked the many people whose efforts made the historic moment possible: “Everybody went into high gear to complete this project on time and on budget and here we are today. I am so, so grateful. This project is a dream come true and has come together through the cooperation, skill and hard work of so many people.”
Sister Lauren gave special thanks to the architect Charles Bourgeois and his team at SBWV Architects, Mike Jones and the entire E.E.Reed Construction team, and IWA Director of Operations Binh Vuong. These team leads and their crew navigated the challenges of maximizing a limited footprint, scheduling conflicts due to downtown Super Bowl preparations, connecting two existing buildings into one, and a year of historic Houston flooding - all without disrupting the school day.
The state-of-the-art building boasts collaborative learning spaces, student centers, and classrooms were designed to enhance the effectiveness of IWA’s rigorous curriculum. The new performing and fine arts studios boast floor to ceiling windows with urban views that inspire IWA’s budding artists. A history wall in the new courtyard chronicles the major milestones since Foundation Day in 1873. And the rooftop patio – the cherry on top - brings the outdoors to our urban campus. We all feel a great sense of pride.
Along with our pride, Sister Lauren and the Sisters of the Incarnate Word are careful to emphasize the importance of gratitude: “To the students of IWA - I want you to enjoy all that this building has to offer you but I never want you to take it for granted. People inside and outside the IWA community have contributed to make this a reality for you, because they believe in all that you can accomplish and they believe in the mission of the Academy which stands proudly on the pillars of Academics, Values and Spirituality.”
Falcons Score on Signing Day
Two of Incarnate Word Academy student-athletes committed to play varsity athletics during their college years. Families, coaches, and classmates cheered on as Lily Hatcher and Lauren Zammit, both of the Class of 2017, signed their letters of intent.
Lily Hatcher will play softball at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. IWA’s softball head coach Steve Mares shared in the proud moment: “I’ve seen Lily play for about three years and we all know that she’s a leader and a winner on the field. But what I’ve always been most impressed with is her personality and what IWA has taught her. She is very humble and whenever anything happens on or off the field, she always looks at other people to see what they are thinking. Before she reacts, she looks to her teammates to try to do the best for them.”
Lauren Zammit will run cross country and track at the University of Dallas. A natural talent, Lauren ran cross country for the first time senior year and finished in the top 10 IWA’s competitive district. Head Coach Chris Warren expressed his pride in her accomplishments and work ethic: “She ran pretty much every single race there was to run in track and field last year and emerged to be one of the best runners I’ve ever coached here at IWA. I’m so proud of her and what she’s accomplished. She’s just getting started and I can’t wait to see what she does at the college level.”
Congratulations, girls! Check out their picture on Chron.com!
Leaders in Action Refugee Project
Over the weekend, the Leaders in Action team of YLP partnered with the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program for an important and timely service project. For this particular project, about a dozen IWA girls collaborated with 30 middle schoolers from various local Catholic Middle Schools including St. Anne, St. Jerome, St. Martha, St. Helen, OLG, St. Thomas More, and St. Vincent de Paul. The group, pictured above, was greeted by the Refugee Resettlement program staff and received a brief overview of what Catholic Charities does to support refugees and the immigration process. The girls planned a few activities to discuss the value of our diverse American backgrounds and went through a simulation experience of what it would be like to be a refugee. They then worked together to make welcome blankets for the families that come through the program.
The IWA Leaders in Action team is a group within the Young Leaders Program that creates programming and experiences to help teach local middle school students to put leadership skills into practice at an early age. Learn more here.