When Isabelle Lavoie '23 was a student at Nolan Ryan Junior High School in Pearland, she figured two things would happen in high school: she'd go to her local public school, and she'd be in the band.
Only one of those things happened.
"It was a surprise when my parents said I should go to a private school for high school," she explained. "And I knew the one thing I needed was to be able to play in the band."
Isabelle, who started playing the bassoon in the fifth grade and also plays the violin, was in a marching band in middle school. Band was hugely important to her. One of the selling points of IWA, in addition to the small size and strong academics, is that IWA's relationship with St. Thomas High School means that students here can play in the STH Pep Band. Isabelle plays the baritone.
"Band was where I made my first friends," Isabelle said. "I was the only one from my middle school to come to IWA, and being in band, it was like we all already had something in common."
She loves being part of IWA's community, and said she feels a strong sense of community here.
"There's such a family aspect to it. Everyone is so friendly, and the teachers are amazing!"
In addition to being part of the band, Isabelle also plays bassoon with the Houston Youth Symphony. She said she auditioned both because she loves music and because she liked the contrast between classical music and the music she was playing during marching season. She said she plays "a lot of Vivaldi and Telemann," and that being in the HYS has boosted her confidence.
"You're playing with the best kids in the city," she said. "And it really pushes you to be your best, so you create a great experience for everyone."
The symphony plays three concerts each year, which gives Isabelle ample opportunities to perform. Most of all, however, she likes that music is a way to showcase her own strengths and creativity.
"I love that music conveys emotions that words can't express," she said. "And it allows me to go outside my comfort zone and have all these experiences I might not have had otherwise."