News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.3, August 13, 2020
“Be contemplative, love prayer; be coherent with your faith and generous in the service of your brothers and sisters, be active members of the Church and builders of peace. To succeed in this demanding project of life, continue to listen to His Word, draw strength from the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Penance. The Lord wants you to be intrepid apostles of his Gospel and builders of a new humanity.”
~St.John Paul II

What blessings to have prayer and the Holy Mass on our campus each day! May we never take this for granted, and may the new school year find us growing in our faith and in service to others.
Just before the start of morning carline on the first day of school, our faculty and staff gathered for morning prayer and the singing of our anthem,"Our Lady of The Atonement." It was a beautiful start to a new academic year!
Dear Academy Families,

Yesterday, once afternoon carline had run its course, the faculty and staff gathered to debrief the day. We gave thanks for the privilege of bringing to fruition weeks of planning and preparation. We also identified areas still in need of improvement. Spirits were high. Many thanks to each of you for your cooperation and patience as we began a school year like no other.

In reality, though, we will have three "First Days" of school this year. On Monday, we connected with the 81 scholars whose families opted to begin the year remotely. Yesterday, we welcomed the balance of our 265 scholars back to campus. Tomorrow, both cohorts will begin to learn together. We ask your continued patience as we take this last and likely most complex step in re-launching the Atonement educational mission.

One more thing--I ask that parents take another look at the section of the "Safe Return Plan" entitled "Quarantine Protocol FAQ" (page 5). In this section of the Plan, we detail what we will do in the case of exposure or infection in various situations, as well as what we are asking you to do. Please review this section, and plan to cooperate with the protocols it outlines so that we can avoid an outbreak at our school.

Thank you again for joining us for the adventure of the 2020-2021 school year. Let us continue to pray for one another.

Our Lady of The Atonement--pray for us!

Your servant,

Matthew David Watson
Head of School
The Atonement Academy

As we continue to refine our Remote Learning platform and procedures, we will be updating periodically our Remote Learning FAQs. Our latest version is available here.


Don't forget to submit your scholar’s health forms: physical exams, vaccination update and medication permission request forms.


The uniform company, Academic Outfitters, is running low on small size skirts and ties. Shoes Unlimited is also running low on small size loafers. Both companies are working on getting their stock replenished. White socks are in good supply at the shoe store as well. Our school will accept an reasonable substitute for any uniform item out of stock. If you have any questions, email Mrs. Powell at


A Matter of Taste is taking orders for lunch August 17th through the end of the month. Families will need to place their lunch orders for the remainder of the month by Friday, August 14th at 5:00 pm. Through the Please note that the School Zip Code is 78255 and the School Code is 111.
Also, Oak Dairy Farms will provide milk for students. To order, parents should log into FACT SIS link (Parent portal) and go to the LUNCH tab. Contact Mrs. Johnston for ordering questions and the business office for payments.


Here is a link for the Lower School Textbook List, along with this one for the Middle and Upper School. Remember, there is a private Facebook group for currently enrolled families. Many Crusaders find it an excellent private marketplace for used books and uniforms.See the article at the end of this newsletter for more details.


Here is a link that will take you to the Middle & Upper School list, and this link will take you to the list for the Lower School. In addition, there is a separate list here for the PreK-3 and PreK-4.

School Planners. Planners will be handed out to students in grades 3-12 by teachers and family accounts will be charged. Planners are consumable workbooks and will be used by remote learners as well as on-campus students.

PE Bags. New gym bags are in and available for purchase at the front office. They are $10 each.

Crates. Correction to the supplemental supplies for Lower School listed on the addendum: Only grades Kinder through Sixth will need crates (PreK-3 and PreK-4 do not need crates). The crates can be any neutral color: white, gray, black, red, or blue. 

Other Supplies. Some school supplies are in short supply at stores. This is especially true for hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes. If you are having difficulty, please purchase and send them in when you do find them.

Our first priority is the safety of our students and our employees. 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.

August 20
Class Sponsor Kick Off, 7:00 p.m. in St. Anthony Hall

August 28
Upper School Picture Day

Upper School Tea (2:00 p.m. in Library)

September 4
Coffee with Mr. Watson (8:00 a.m. in the Common Room)

Check our school website for details.
August 15th is a very important date for Our Lady of The Atonement Catholic Church, including The Atonement Academy. The parish, along with all Catholics worldwide, marks the date as the Solemnity of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Catholic teaching that The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory [Pope Pius XII, Municentissimus Deus 44] Click here for more information about The Assumption.

In addition, we also celebrate several anniversaries on August 15th. This year, the date marks the 37th anniversary of the canonical erection of the parish and the 33rd anniversary of the dedication of the church building,as well as the 26th anniversary of The Atonement Academy, and the 14th anniversary of the church and school expansions.

We thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed on us this date and every day, and we entrust our parish--church and school--to Jesus and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, our patroness, Our Lady of The Atonement.

Dear Atonement Families,

As we embark on the beginning of a new school year, there are and will be challenges that we will face. As a school, we have a great administration to lead, and a community that is stronger than ever. We have a great coaching staff who is dedicated to the overall growth and success of our student-athletes. I believe that if we stick together, grow and learn, while ultimately praying together, nothing will come between our values and mission that The Atonement Academy stands for. 

With all that being said, I would like to offer a recap on a few things that have occurred over these last few months and the future.

Summer Camp Program  
This summer we had a great turn out for our sports camp, including strength and conditioning which was averaging almost 40 athletes on campus every night. Our sports-specific camps averaged 12 athletes per camp. Thanks to all the student-athletes and the coaches who helped this summer programming run smoothly despite all that was going on around us. The total number of student-athletes who registered for a summer camp was 82. Great job, Cru!

We have received several generous donations to help aid in the growth of our athletics program. Our basketball program received 20 brand new girls basketballs and 25 brand new boys basketballs. Our volleyball program received a new referee stand for games and a set of volley lites for our Lower School student-athletes to learn the basics of volleyball. Our football program received a set of 18 lockers for our new and improved weight room/football locker room. Thank you to the anonymous donors who contributed these items to our programs. 

Scoreboard for Crusader Field
Over the summer we received word that we had been approved for a football grant from USA football. We are in the process of securing funds to put a permanent scoreboard on Crusader Field. If you have a business to advertise and would like to donate money towards this scoreboard, please let me know.

Sports Registration 2020-2021
As of right now, we have over 70 student-athletes signed up for sports at The Atonement Academy throughout Middle and Upper School. Please register if you have not, as there is a process of forms that need to be completed in order to be eligible to practice and compete. Here is the registration link for signing up.

Right now, we have good size rosters for our Fall teams, however our Winter teams are low. We are needing more to sign up for Middle School boys and girls soccer, along with Middle School boys and girls basketball. 

MS/US Athletics Safe Return Plan 2020-2021
Please be on the lookout for a letter addressing how we will operate our athletic events on-campus for this school year. Your cooperation with the new protocols will go a long way in helping the athletic department create a safe and healthy environment for not only our student-athletes, but for any visitors we may have. Games will begin in the middle of September. 

Christus Santa Rosa
Throughout the past two years, Christus Santa Rosa has supplied trainers to all, if not most of our home games. We are currently in talks to have them at all home games, along with practices. This is to help aid our student-athletes in case anything happens during a game or practice. 

This is going to be a great year! As always, feel free to correspond with me if you have any questions or concerns: Welcome back, Crusaders!

Mr. Dakotah Vidal
Athletic Director
What do you currently teach, and what do you enjoy about it?
I teach Kindergarten and I love it because it is such a special age. They are really starting to enjoy digging deeper into their education and are excited and motivated to learn every single day. It is a year where the students really nail down some long term academic skills, like reading, so it is not only a fun year, but an important one as well, and I love that balance!
What do you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy?
I appreciate teaching at The Atonement Academy for a multitude of reasons already, but there is one in particular that has stood out these initial few weeks, and that is the atmosphere. From my first few days, I realized how close-knit of a community this is. It feels like family, and I have always followed that feeling to help lead me to places I need to be. It is an interesting year to come on as a first year teacher, but the support I have received, from faculty and parents alike, shows me how wonderful this place is.
What are you looking forward to during the 2020-2021 school year?
In the 2020-2021 school year, I really look forward to making special connections with my students and their families. My degree is in interpersonal communications, so the aspect of having a strong relationship is critical to me, and I think that is important in a classroom and school setting as well. This is an unprecedented year, so even more reason to ensure that my students and their families feel like they know me and have confidence in me. This is also my very first classroom of my own, so getting to experience watching students grow for an entire year and to be able to see their progress firsthand is definitely something I am looking forward to!
Tell us a bit about yourself: how you spend your leisure time, or what you are reading right now, or a favorite inspirational figure or quote, updates on your immediate family, or the like.
I have two little ones, Easton who will be three and Oaklee who is six months. I went to UIW for college and graduated in three years with my B.A. in interpersonal communications. My family loves spending time at our lake house in Medina. I love to bake and do anything crafty, especially if it is colorful! I have always been an avid reader, even though that time is sometimes hard to come by with a toddler and an infant! I danced for 18 years: 15 at a dance studio and then three years professionally with Spurs Sports and Entertainment. I also directed two dance studios for six years of that time. I have a major sweet tooth, could happily eat pasta every single day of my life, and have a slight obsession with 90 Day Fiance!

My name is Brandon Cruz, and I am a member of the founding Class of 2008 at The Atonement Academy. Born and raised in San Antonio, I attended The Atonement since the first grade. My most precious memories include participating in the eighth grade and senior year Rome Pilgrimages, where I was able to travel abroad and live out my faith in a profound and meaningful way--also, I so enjoyed the food! In addition, I appreciated being part of two founding theatre productions at The Atonement, Death by Etiquette and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will live forever in my memories!

I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Art History from the University of Dallas in the spring of 2012, where I, yet again, enjoyed the pleasures of travel abroad during my Rome Semester in the Fall of 2010. This experience impacts my life to this day, nearly 10 years afterwards. Shortly after, I earned a master’s degree in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from The University of Texas at San Antonio in the spring of 2016. 

Today, I serve as a Director at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas within the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, where I oversee programs that support marginalized populations including BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), First-Gen, and Dreamers. I love higher education and am dedicated to ensuring students feel valued, connected, and safe while pursuing their degree. I have plans to earn a doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration starting Fall 2021. My future professional goal is to pursue an executive level leadership role within a university setting to continue serving students and ensuring that all students have access to a higher education, should that be their goal.

In my leisure time, I enjoy pedicures, watching all the shows on every streaming platform, exploring the many parks in Lubbock, and face-timing my dog Cinnamon. I have also become a fan of the “audio book” and enjoy listening to new and old classics.  

To the next generation of Crusaders, I have this advice for you: “Find a mentor, ask for help, and maintain a healthy level of curiosity for the world around you.”

Last Saturday's campus beautification effort saw children and adults working together to clean up, prepare landscape beds, and plant flowers and shrubs to beautify our campus! Thank you to Crusader parents and parishioners Melissa and Steve Vale for spearheading this effort.

There is nothing quite like the first day of school!
Whether students are depicted at their remote learning computers at home, in the school parking lot,in front of their home, in carline, in the hallways, in the classroom, or in front of the big red doors--the first day of school is always exciting! Thanks to all the parents who posted or sent in their photos!
2019-2020 YEARBOOK

The annual yearbook arrived in June! If you were enrolled last year and have not picked up your yearbook, stop by the front office and do so as soon as possible. Enrollment fees include one yearbook per family.

Grand Knight Phil Tait extends an invitation to Atonement dads to join the Knights of Columbus, in the comfort of your home, for free. Go to, access code McGiveney2020.

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.