When Claire Michael '23 made the Falcons volleyball team last year, she noticed something when the team would travel to other schools for matches.
"We're a real family," she explained. "We hang out before our matches, during and afterwards. Sometimes, members of other teams sit separately from each other. There's this real sense of community with us."
That sense of community is important to Claire. Incarnate Word prides itself on its sisterhood, and Claire knows that's real. From her first time as a visitor on campus, she said she felt welcmed.
"I felt I belonged here," she said. "Students are always ready to reach out and help each other. Everyone talks about the sisterhood, and it's real. I sometimes feel like you can't really understand it until you're actually in it."
As shes begins her sophomore year, she's excited to continue playing volleyball. She's loved having the support of her teammates, on and off the court. They help each other with homework and "take endless BuzzFeed quizzes." (Claire recently found out she was flan in BuzzFeed's "What Dessert Are You?" quiz).
They also make it a point to encourage each other at matches. Claire's a setter, and she says Coach Whitney Moffitt makes it a point of having them not only improve in their positions, but play others, to become more well-rounded players.
"You can really just feel it when you mesh as a unit on the court," said Claire. "You can read each other's thoughts. There's a real vibe when you're in the zone."
Claire discovered something else as a volleyball player: her grades are often better during the volleyball season.
"I have to be more focused," she said. "I have to squeeze every last drop of time out of my day between practice and classwork."
Right now, two of her favorite subjects this year are Algebra II and her dance elective. She's also a sophomore representative on IWA's student council, and a member of both Teens for Unity and Falcons for Life.
She's considering a career in medicine in the future.
"I think orthopedics," she said. "I've been involved in sports for a long time, and I've definitely had my fair share of injuries. That gives me a perspective to help others."