News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.8, September 10, 2020
"Three things are necessary to everyone: truth of faith which brings understanding, love of Christ which brings compassion, and endurance of hope which brings perseverance."
— St. Bonaventure

The virtues described by St. Bonaventure are the theological virtues of faith, charity, and hope. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that these virtues are "the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being."
Upper scholars with Miss Gray at the recent Upper School Tea.

The Atonement Academy relies on its faculty and staff to help scholars develop understanding, compassion, and perseverance in all circumstances.


Dear Academy Family,

Beginning on Monday morning, September 13th, I will once again be offering our scholars my customary handshake as they arrive in the Piazza during carline.

There are hand sanitizer dispensers at the entrances to both buildings which we already ask students to utilize as they enter, so, from an epidemiological perspective, they will be able to erase all traces of contact instantly. If you or your child would prefer not to take up this form of salutation quite yet, just say, “no thank you,” and I will instead give a friendly wave.

Why this, why now? An Atonement education—any true education, really—is more than the simple transfer of curricula from teacher to student. True education takes place in the context of a community forged by the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful. This is especially the case when a student is, as at Atonement, immersed in a liberal arts education, the aim of which can be summed up as “learning to live well.”

Thus, when I greet a scholar with a handshake, eye contact, and a “Good morning, Mr./Miss ______,” I am in that moment affirming our shared mission and celebrating the common life to which it has called us both. Put into words, I am trying to convey something to the effect of—

You are welcome here; you are expected. I am glad you are here.

We are in this together—we are both here to love God, serve others, and seek truth. I may be further along than you (maybe!), but we are really pursuing the same project.

I think it’s going to be a good day, don’t you?

Do your best, have fun, be a leader.

Even as I type this I can’t help but think of Mr. Rogers! But you get the idea. The moments when young people are truly noticed for the right reasons can reverberate for the rest of their lives. At the very least, such moments are certainly a good way to start our school days.

Let us continue to pray for one another. Our Lady of The Atonement—pray for us.

Your servant,

Matthew David Watson
Head of School

Safe Return Plan. Thank you for partnering with us to carry forward the mission of Catholic classical education in these challenging times. Please remember that our comprehensive Safe Return Plan and all updates and revisions will always be sent first to your email inbox and then will be posted on our website at this link.

Inclement Weather. As noted in our Parent-Student Handbook (p.27), "The Atonement Academy will conform to the decisions of the Northside Independent School District concerning weather-related closings and weather-related late openings." Also, "The highways and residential neighborhood surrounding The Academy are subject to flooding during heavy rains. Exercise great care when streets are flooded. Lateness and absence due to flooding is always excused. If flood conditions make it difficult to reach the school in the afternoon, after-school care charges will be waived."

September 10
Holy Name of Mary Commemoration, with crescent cookies distributed by our PTC.

September 11
Parent Teacher Conferences (Student Holiday – No Classes)


Lady Crusader Volleyball
9/10/20 Thursday First Baptist Academy UC AWAY 6:30 p.m. Varsity
9/15/20 Tuesday Our Lady of the Hills HOME 6:30 p.m. Varsity
9/17/20 Thursday BACH HOME 6:00 p.m. Varsity
9/18/20 Friday Winston AWAY 5:00 p.m. Varsity

Middle School Volleyball
9/15/2020 Tuesday Bracken Christian HOME A-4:30 p.m.
9/17/2020 Thursday BACH HOME A-4:30 p.m.

Middle School Football
9/17/20 Thursday Scrimmage- Bracken HOME 7:00 p.m.

Varsity Football
9/18/20 Friday Scrimmage-St. Gerard Catholic HOME 7:00 p.m.

Middle School Cross Country
9/19/20 Saturday THESA Small School Invitational Haltom City, TX
Boys-9:00 a.m. Girls-9:30 a.m.

Always check our school website for updates and details.
In addition, Atonement Sports are kept current on their social media page (Atonement Sports) and the Athletics tab on the school website.

Parent-teacher conferences are tomorrow, September 11th. If you have not yet scheduled a conference with your child’s teacher and would like to do so, please schedule an appointment by clicking on your child’s teacher’s Doodle link below. As this year’s conferences will be held remotely via Zoom, the teacher will send you a Zoom link once you schedule a conference. 
Lower School
Kinder A - Tina Fitzgerald:
Kinder B - Alaric Chaney:
Middle and Upper School
Through FACTS-SIS, The Atonement Academy has acquired a new notification and rapid alert system to help improve and facilitate communication with our families. Parent Alert will allow the school to send out communications via text, email and voice messages for all types of events. These alerts can be used for many reasons but will also provide a fast, efficient way to communicate with our families in cases of time-sensitive information and emergencies.
To ensure you are able to receive our alerts please text the keyword “START” to 22-383 from your mobile device. Any text alerts from the school will begin with “TAA ALERT” and calls will show from “210-695-2240.” 
Electing Remote Learning for the 2nd Quarter 
We have asked families to renew their choice to continue Remote Learning on a quarterly basis. Please email Mrs. Powell ( by September 25th if you wish to continue Remote Learning for the second quarter.
Remote Learning FAQs and Office Hours
For questions about Remote Learning please consult our Remote Learning FAQs. Teacher’s office hours for Remote Students may be found here.
We are pleased to report that The Atonement Academy has shown consistent average of a 1200 SAT score throughout the years. Last year’s graduating class had a 1293 average! We look forward to what the Class of 2021 will achieve regarding their scores.
The College Board reports there is limited testing capacity in certain areas due to health restrictions and high demand. Test centers make individual decision whether to administer the SAT. The College Board recommends that scholars check directly with their testing center to check whether or not the test is being administered. Note: due to limited capacity and high demand, most universities are foregoing a SAT or ACT score for Fall 2021 applications.
SAT Dates: 
September 26 registration deadline August 26 (late registration is September 15)
October 3 registration deadline September 3 (late registration is September 22)
November 7 registration deadline October 9
December 5 registration deadline November 5

The Atonement Academy will once again participate in The Big Give, a special day of giving to nonprofits. Rescheduled from March 22 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the designated day in South Texas is today, September 10, from midnight to midnight!
The Atonement Academy will raise funds for campus security equipment, which will include: “keyless” entry access control, surveillance cameras, and intercoms for major entrances. Our goal is to raise $15,000, and we already have a challenge grant of $1,000 from a generous donor who will donate that amount as soon as we raise our first $1,000! This is a very important cause--and a very achievable goal.
To participate, go to the BigGiveSA site and follow the directions there. It's safe and secure and gifts of every amount are appreciated. Whether you give $25, $50, $100 or more--your gift will help fund the security equipment we need.
WHY THE BIG GIVE? The public enthusiasm for this regional fundraising effort helps schools like ours get valuable exposure for donations as well as enrollment. The BigGive website showcases schools like ours and provides generous donors with an option for making a charitable gift to our school. In addition, there are a number of incentives to give online, including a matching program in which EVERY donation of up to $100 will be matched dollar for dollar for gifts made at 9:15 a.m. 12:15 p.m. 3:15 p.m, 6:15 and 11:15 p.m.! 
We hope you will participate in The Big Give again this year, and thank you for your support of our school!

What do you currently teach, and what do you enjoy about it?
I'm currently teaching Geometry and Pre-Calculus, two sections of each. I like working with the students and helping them prepare for the more advanced classes they'll take in math and science, such as Calculus and AP Physics. I also enjoy helping them see the intricate nature of God's creation through the discoveries and complexities of math.
What do you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy?
I have been a teacher at The Atonement Academy since 2006, with a few years as an administrator as well. I most appreciate the classical and Catholic foundation upon which we base our curriculum, and especially the opportunity to help form the students in their Catholic faith. 
What are you looking forward to in the 2020-2021 academic year?
I'm looking forward to having each of our students successfully complete the 2020-2021 school year.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests!
My first career was the Air Force, and I am originally from Colorado. My wife Mary Ann and I have made San Antonio our home since 1998. In my leisure time, I enjoy hiking in the local parks and, when the opportunity presents itself, exploring wilderness areas in the Colorado Rockies. I am currently reading two books, John Senior and the Restoration of Realism, by Father Francis Bethel, O.S.B. and The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, by Robert Cardinal Sarah.

Class of 2018 graduate, John Karako, likes a challenge. Upon entering Texas A&M University he earned both a spot in the prestigious Corps of Cadets, as well as admission into the school’s competitive engineering program.

His summer internship at an aerospace company was put on hold due to the pandemic, so in April, when he read about a competition that fosters ideas to beat the spread of COVID-19, he was on board.“At the time, there was a shortage of masks, so our project aimed to sanitize the masks faster,” says John. John and three other team members took part in an engineering competition called “Aggies Against COVID-19,” and designed a product called ‘Sterilight,’which uses far-UVC light, a type of ultraviolet light, to sterilize frequently-used surfaces.

“Our team made the top ten out of seventy-one teams in the competition,” says John. “We received a $2,500 grant to prototype our design.” John and his engineering team are currently reviewing the prototype and discussing whether or not improvements are needed. 

John’s team also qualified for the National Science Foundation (NSF), I-Corps Site Fellows Program. The national program helps participants gain the insight and skills to commercialize a product.

John credits his education at The Atonement, which has helped foster his success in college. “Mechanical engineering is a tough school,” says John. “The fact that Mr. Adian has such a rigorous program at The Atonement has helped me succeed in engineering. I don’t know that I would have, without him.” (Mr. Zachary Adian teaches upper school math and science at The Atonement Academy.)

When asked what he misses most about The Atonement Academy, John says daily Mass and the convenience of being able to attend confession. “What helped me at Atonement was really knowing my faith, inside and out. It can be challenging at a secular school. I’ve been challenged on my beliefs many times, and others have asked why I believe what I do. Atonement helped me know the what, and the why. It’s easy to practice your faith at Atonement because everyone around you believes as you do. At A&M, you choose to practice your faith.”

John’s advice to students at his alma mater? “Put your all into it. It’s not always cool to be a ‘try-hard.’ Teachers at Atonement are there because they want to be there. If you meet them half-way and put in the work, you’ll get the most out of your education.”

Interested in making our yearbook better? The Yearbook Club is for Middle and Upper School scholars who are interested in taking pictures, designing pages, and sharing their school spirit. We are looking for 10 dedicated, school-spirited, hard-working members.

How do you join? Complete the Yearbook Sign-Up form and turn it in by September 18th. Sign up forms are here and on our website.

If accepted as a club member, you will be required to sign in and work on the yearbook every week beginning October 12 and ending April 23. Work may include taking and uploading photos, designing a page, or revising pages for final submission.

Mandatory meetings are the following Mondays:

First Semester
September 28, October 12, October 26, November 16, and December 7

Second Semester
January 11, February 15, March 1, March 22, and April 12

Remote Students will Zoom for meetings. Additional dates may follow as we near the yearbook deadlines.

If you have any questions, please see Mrs. Powell or email her at

Many photos of our Crusaders and their yard signs were entered in our drawing, and included here are just some of the depictions of signs in front of homes and in backyards -- we applaud our Crusaders' creativity with signs on apartment balconies and at grandparent's homes, too! Our prizes were drawn by Mr. Watson, Mr. Creech, and Mrs. Joiner (pictured), and the winners were the Landry family and the Ku family! Congratulations!

In other scenes, our pastor, Fr. Lewis celebrated a birthday on September 7th, and students began decorating his door and hallway last week. Choir director Mr. Alejandro Oliveros brought a group of upper scholars to sing "Happy Birthday," too. Anahaat Kaur displays her distance learning activity for second grade. Lastly, Mr. Watson, our headmaster, hosted the first 2020-2021 "Coffee with Mr. Watson" last Friday morning.

Every fall, the drama classes perform a radio play, using good vocal technique to create characters, build suspense, and tell the story. They are also responsible for making their own sound effects and finding appropriate music to set the mood.

This week, two of the classes performed episodes from the 1940’s thriller series Escape, using scripts based on classic short stories. One class performed the perennial favorite “The Most Dangerous Game,” and the other performed the hair-raising tale, “Three Skeleton Keys.”
Let's pray for our school and for each other! Atonement mom Dr. Barbara Ku will be spearheading our Wednesday Rosary this year. She started this week, and all are welcome to join! We meet in the Sacred Heart Chapel, located adjacent to the main chruch (use the smaller red door). Join us at 3:00 p.m., just before carline begins, and you will be out in approximately 15 minutes.

Join us on social media! Even if you are not one to post your personal activity, it IS a vehicle for information and engagement with our school!

FACEBOOK is an online social media and networking platform that uses the written word, photos, and videos to communicate with the world.

The Atonement Academy page is our public page. Anyone with an account can see the information here, so it is great for getting information out to the public and advertising our school to interested families. "Like" us on Facebook and ask your friends to do so as well! It can be a great venue for us to share all the good news about our school community! The page is managed by school representatives.

Atonement Exchange is a private group. Participation is limited to currently enrolled families and graduates of our upper school. A series of qualifying questions must be answered before a person is allowed to join the group, and at the beginning of each school year, the group is updated with our current families. It is a great private forum for our Atonement community to exchange information, books, uniforms, photos of school sports and events, and parent formation ideas. Posts to the Exchange are managed by school personnel.NOTE: There is still time to advertise and trade or sell your gently used textbooks and uniforms on the Exchange!

Atonement Sports is a public page that is managed by our department of athletics. School sporting events and photos are promoted on this page. "Like" the page on Facebook to follow sports-related information and activities.

INSTAGRAM is an online, worldwide photo/visuals platform.
Our account is found under theatonementacademy and is managed by school personnel. It provides visual content similar to what is found on The Atonement's Facebook public page.
The Atonement Academy, founded in 1994, is a PreK through 12th grade Catholic, classical school. It is the parish school of Our Lady of The Atonement Catholic Church, one of the founding parishes of the Personal Ordinariate of The Chair of St. Peter, established by Pope Benedict XVI and located in Houston TX.