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Welcome Back, Falcons!

New and returning Incarnate Word Academy students, faculty and staff were greeted with music and cheers as they entered the 609 on Monday morning, Aug. 9, 2021. The Impact Dance Team was outside on the sidewalk to greet arriving students. School mascot Flappy Falcon offered high fives and waves. And there was our beloved HPD Officer Georganna "George" Davis, directing traffic and enthusiastically greeting the IWA community.

The day began with an assembly, where IWA's principal, Andrea Smith, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, welcomed the students and introduced the student body president, Alyson Ubungen '22 and student body vice president Alessa Elkareh '22, who led the morning offering and the Pledge of Allegiance.

"This is a learning journey for all of us," Alessa said about the upcoming year. "And we'll go through it together."

Members of the choir sang the school alma mater, and Ms. Smith introduced all of the faculty members. Students cheered and applauded, offering standing ovations for their favorites. 

"We've been looking forward all summer to welcoming you," said Ms. Stefanie Howard, IWA's academic dean, who offered information about schedules and Flex Time. 

A skit performed by members of the student council explained the importance of IWA's "Three B's," be positive, be there and be united. The goal was to show students that they could take an active role in helping to see the good in any situation, ensure that other students know someone has their back and that we're stronger as a community when we act together.

Dean of students Ms. Stacey Kornegay spoke about school procedures, including clarifying the school dress code. To help demonstrate her point, a few students performed a "fashion show" of what (and what not) to wear, including appropriate skirt length, proper shoes and only using clear water bottles.

She alerted students there would be safety drills this week, and noted that some procedures would be in place while Harris County was under its current "code red" in terms of COVID-19 cases. Among those were the need to wear masks while on campus, except when eating. When she mentioned that students could again use the school's microwaves in the cafeteria, the response was a deafening cheer. 

The assembly was capped off by a performing by the Impact Dance Team, after which students headed to their first period classes. Many teachers used the day's class time as a chance for students to get to know each other. In Mrs. Neaves' World History to 1500 CE class, students drew their seat partner's face, and provided five fun facts about her, from where she thought she might like to live when she grew up to her Hollywood crush. In Mrs. Kristan Siegel's Honors Geometry class, she shared a list of advice from students who'd taken the class previously. Among them was the importance of understanding the mechanics behind a problem so students could replicate it on tests, quizzes and assignments.

The students themselves were happy to be back, especially after the unpredictability of last year, which included remote, hybrid and in-person days. Many commented that it was great to see friends and they were looking forward to a fun year at the 609.

We share their sentiments.


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