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Senior and volleyball co-captain, Kate Burnaman, has been named the Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine Athlete of the Week. After having a season filled with injuries and surgeries, she made an inspiring comeback that earned her this wonderful honor.

She has always loved competing and her passion for volleyball is fueled by her enjoyment of collaborating. As co-captain, she feels honored that her coach views her as a leader and uses the role to be a positive, motivating influence to her teammates. Despite having several concussions, shoulder surgery and knee surgery she emphasizes the importance of persevering. “If you get knocked down, whether it be in life or in sports like that, you have to always keep going and show that you’re strong enough.”

Memorial Hermann Ironman Sports Medicine representatives acknowledged Kate’s perseverance despite physical setbacks with a drop-in at IWA last week.  They surprised her with the award at the start of volleyball practice and brought a camera crew led by produce Clint Herod to film a short segment that will air on AT&T Sportsnet ahead of an upcoming Astros game.  

We’re so proud of Kate and her dedication to excellence!   Join us in congratulating her on her accomplishments and check back in for more details on when the segment will air!

Incarnate Word Academy senior Libby Diamond has been named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship competition. About 16,000 semifinalists are selected out of the nearly 1.6 million applicants, all being the highest-scoring entrants in each state. To advance to the Finalist level, a Semifinalist must have a superior high school academic record, receive an endorsement from a high school official, submit an essay and earn a qualifying score on the SAT exam. National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced spring of 2018. Congratulations to Libby for her hard work in her academic career!  


HarveyHurricane Harvey changed the lives of many Texans. Its unprecedented impact leveled homes, uprooted families, and birthed one of the greatest floods in Houston history. An estimated 100,00 homes were destroyed and many schools still remained closed but, surprisingly, that wasn’t the biggest story of the week. In true Texas fashion, the life-altering destruction of Hurricane Harvey was met with an even greater response of strength from those affected and an outpour of community love, support and desire to help others rebuild. As members of the IWA community reflected on their experience, many best described the ordeal as humbling.

IWA student, Isabel Smith '19 was truly inspired by the spirit of the family she spent time with. “We got to their house and they were just so positive about everything, even though their house is completely ruined.”

Suzanna Marbach '19 recounted a moving moment shared with the man who rescued her family from the rising water, “ He came upstairs to get us all out and he sees me frantically running around looking for my favorite rosary. I told him I had to find it and he said, "Ah that is always your best weapon!" Then as I was looking he calls out to me, "Here. Something is calling me to give this to you." And he drapes a rosary over my neck. I thought it was my father's but later he told me that it wasn't his. Then I realized that the rosary was not my dad's but the man who saved us. It's a beautiful handmade rosary.” Suzanna also decided to channel her energy in a positive way. “Instead of being sad about everything that happened a friend and I decided to find a spray can and a strip of wood from the cabinets to make this. Fun little things like this made the day easier to get through.”

Stories such as these remind us that even in the midst of tragedy, there is an immense amount of strength, love and compassion in the community. We are so proud of this amazing community and know Houston will rebuild better than ever.  If you would like to share your story of the goodness of others during Hurricane Harvey, please email Chrystal Cantrelle at ccantrelle@incarnateword.org.

If you’re looking for ways to make a difference, Campus Minister Kim Valdez & Leadership Teacher Gina Galassi have gathered a list of places that need our help as we rebuild after Harvey:

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Mary McGivern, IWA Physics teacher since 2006, poses for a picture at her first job in Baytown

Working at an all-girls high school is quite a contrast from what Physics teacher Mary McGivern calls her “former life.” In 1975, she graduated from West Virginia University with a BS in Chemical Engineering and was the only woman in her class to major in an engineering field. At graduation, the boys in her grade gave her an award simply “for putting up with them.”  

Shortly after graduation she moved to Baytown with Gulf Oil (she got the best job offer in her graduating class) to work at a polyethylene plant and was surprised to find that there was not a woman’s bathroom on-site. She spent the next five years working and studying for her MBA at University of Houston at night. She transitioned to marketing, product and business management at Chevron Headquarters from which she retired in 2001 as the General Manager of the Alpha Olefins business.   

Today, far from being the only girl in the classroom, Mary stands in front of 20 young women five times a day, teaching Physics I, II and Honors. However, Mary’s past is still very much a part of her present; she can see her old office building from her classroom window and uses it as a reminder to inspire students with real-life applications. She brings students to professional gatherings like the Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Women in Energy Event.  

Mary is as inspiring in her faith as she is in the lab. She is a lector at St. Vincent de Paul parish, and earned a Masters of Liberal Arts in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas “just for fun.” She is a beloved teacher and her students can be assured that the feeling is mutual: “My proudest accomplishment is to have inspired young women to pursue STEM degrees and careers. Impacting the lives of students creates ripples in the water with an opportunity to change their lives and those they encounter.”