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IMG 8613 articleIWA’s Young Leaders Program kicked off the eighth season of its distinguished leader speaker series yesterday with a new brand and a distinguished guest: Mr. Chase Untermeyer, former ambassador to Qatar under President George W. Bush.  Now in its eighth season, Leadership Live! is a student-run speaker series that invites distinguished leaders from the Houston community to IWA to share the stories of their lives and their leadership journeys with IWA students in an informal setting. 

This season’s first speaker, Mr. Untermeyer recently published the book “How Important People Act: Behaving Yourself in Public.” He has previously held elected office in the Texas State Legislature, served as a United States diplomat, and is now a professor, a consultant, a businessman, and active in serving the Houston community.   

Untermeyer noted that among all of the many different kinds of positions he held and industries he worked in there was one common thread: leaders at all levels.  He explained:  “There are lots of different programs of leadership, there are courses taught, there are institutes, there are military styles and corporate styles and civic styles of leadership.  I really think it all boils down to the same thing which is: the willingness of a person to take on a task usually for the good of other and the ability to carry it out. The key to successful leadership is remembering that you are by no means the most important person.  You are merely there to help other people.”

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Nine Incarnate Word Academy students had the privilege of attending the Huffington Award Luncheon hosted by the Asia Society of Texas at the Hilton Americas on Wednesday afternoon.  The luncheon was hosted to present the Huffington Award for Contributions to the Honorable Kevin Brady, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in the United States Congress.  It is the highest honor awarded by the Asia Society Texas Center and past recipients include former ExxonMobil CEO and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and President George H.W. Bush. 

The IWA students in attendance were chosen because of their participation in the Junior States of America club on campus and were one of only four groups of high school students in attendance.  The remainder of the packed ballroom was filled with corporate, community, and government leaders from throughout the state of Texas.  After opening remarks and the award presentation, Incarnate Word Academy students listened to a conversation between U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady and Dr. John Diamond, a fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

After the main event, Congressman Kevin Brady graciously hosted a thirty-minute Q&A session privately for the high school students in attendance because as he stated, “all of the issues that we talk about today are much more about your future than mine.”  IWA students engaged with the Congressman directly and asked questions about taxes, health care, and international trade.  After each answer, Congressman Brady replied back, “What do you think?” giving the high school students a chance to share their thoughts with the 8th Congressional District Representative.   He encouraged them to find ways to raise their hands in service – whether in their church, school, or other groups: “I believe that we lead when we serve others.  I hope that in life when you get the chance to offer yourself up to serving others, you take it. It’s an amazing experience.”


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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!