News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.21, December 17, 2020
“Not only are the attitudes of teachers crucial for the success of Catholic education but also the attitudes of Catholic parents. Parents must set themselves very definite priorities, such as the determination to have schools in which their children’s faith will be respected, fostered, and enriched; schools in which their children learn the value and beauty of the Church’s teaching. They must also see to it that their own homes are places in which these values are first fostered and lived. Parents’ own practice of the faith, their own love for Christ, is of course fundamental.” 
~St. Pope John Paul II, Ad Limina visit with several US Bishops, 1998.

At The Atonement Academy, our teachers join parents in modelling Catholic values and promulgating the teachings of the Catholic Church. Such critical work for our children's future, for their salvation, and for the future of the Church!

Pictured is PreK-4 teacher Mrs. Lozano with Genevieve Ku, most recent (and youngest) recipent of The Atonement Excellence Award.

Dear Academy Family,

As we wrap up the first semester of an historic school year, I want to congratulate each of you—faculty, staff, students, parents—on the courage and calm with which you have moved through these challenging times. As we look ahead to a new year and a new semester, some things you can expect include:

- A return to campus on Monday, January 4th; we will be in contact if this changes due to unforeseen circumstances

- We will officially begin using our new name, “The Atonement Catholic Academy,” though letterhead, signage, etc. will be updated gradually; any adjustments to uniforms will be preceded by plenty of warning

- 7th-12th grades will find the House Challenge for January posted and awaiting the application of their skill

- At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 21st, we will gather for the second annual “State of the School Address”; save the date for now, and look for an RSVP prompt the first week of January

Until then, I wish you each a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Keep moving. 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.

Christmas Break. The Church staff as well as the School staff will be on the same break. Please leave any critical messages on Mrs. Johnston's email and/or telephone extension. Messages will be checked periodically. See Parish Mass schedule later in this newsletter.

December 18
The school office will close at 1:30 p.m. for Christmas Break until Monday, January 4

January 1
Re-enrollment Begins

January 4
Second Semester Begins

January 7
Coffee with Mr. Watson at 8:00 a.m.

January 21
State of The School Meeting at 7:00 p.m.

Always check our school website for updates and details.

We have asked families to renew their choice or continue (or elect to participate in) Remote Learning on a quarterly basis. If you haven’t done so already, please email Mrs. Powell at

Please consult Remote Learning FAQs here if you have any questions about the process.
Admissions Director Mrs. Yolanda Joiner invites you to re-enroll your children during the preferred enrollment period between January 1st through 15th. Siblings of current enrolled children may also enroll during this period. Our currently enrolled families have until February 28th to take advantage of the reduced enrollment fee of $300, as it increases to $500 in March 2021.
To re-enroll (as well as add siblings), Mrs. Joiner suggests the following process:

Open your Family Portal in FACTS SIS, then on the left side of your screen please click on 


-Start Packet 2021-2022

If you have any questions, contact Mrs. Joiner at for assistance.
Be sure to join us again in 2021-2022!

As a way to celebrate the advent season, we place an "Angel Tree" decoration so that our families may consider a donation of an inspiring reading resource to our students. This Advent season, the tree has been placed in our school library.

If your child arrives home with an angel, be assured you are under no obligation to purchase a book. The angels are a suggestion only. If you would like to donate a book that pertains to our Catholic faith, moral virtues, saint biographies, and so on, please take a suggestion angel or drop off a donation you think may benefit our scholars (with content appropriate for Catholic young people). Please ensure all donations are in new or "like new" condition. 

The donations may be placed in our curbside drop box located at the front entrance of the school. We ask that all book donations are made by January 29, 2021.
Thank you from the students and faculty of The Atonement Academy.

What do you currently do at The Atonement Academy, and what do you enjoy about it?
I am in my second year as head of school at Atonement. My favorite thing about my job is all the people I get to meet, work with, and serve. I especially rejoice at—and am especially humbled by—the thought that the school we run assists parents in realizing their highest aspirations for their children, for time and for eternity.

What do you most appreciate The Atonement Academy?
As an apostolate of a vibrant parish with room to grow, The Atonement Academy has the potential to become a world-class center of Christian community, spirituality, art, and intellectual life. My hope is that our work as teachers, musicians, and clergy, taken together, presents the kingdom of God as the most compelling way of life our students encounter on their journey to adulthood.

What do you look forward to this school year? 
That it continue to be relatively uneventful for us! I don’t think our work (or any educator’s) in 2020-2021 will be judged on the standard rubric. Priorities are different this year. Did we keep Academy families safe? Did we keep the ball moving forward academically? Did we come together to support one another in new and generous ways? These are the questions I want to be able to answer in the affirmative.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
Time with family (wife, Jenny, and six kids) is my most precious earthly pastime. Beyond that I read quite a bit. As I’ve gotten older(ish), I have tended, in addition to spiritual reading, to favor biography and poetry. Books in process or recently finished include biographies of Nelson Mandela, Theodore Roosevelt, John Henry Newman, and Winston Churchill, as well as a collection of Mary Oliver’s poetry.

What is something you wish we had asked?
Just ask! My door is always open to Crusaders! 
Photos include the Watson family at work and at play, doing some of their favorite things!

The Private Schools Interscholastic Association’s District competition is scheduled for March 21, 2021 in New Braunfels. Although our students typically represent our school quite well, The Atonement Academy will not be participating on an institutional level this year, with COVID-19 concerns being paramount.

While our school will not be formally competing, please know that your child may be able to participate on an individual level if he or she would like to compete. All preparation will be self-study.

Please contact Mrs. Mefrige for details:

The annual "Chores for Charity" in the Lower School as well as the Toy Drive for St. P-J Children's Home have come to a close. Thank you very much for your generous participation again this year!

Pictured below are Lower School scholars Caroline and Alexander Nyberg taking on additional chores at home as well as Giulia Zilli helping with laundry and Jacob Henriquez tidying up books on a shelf.

Update on Chores for Charity donations raised so far: $1754.78. Well done, Crusaders!

Our PreK-4 teacher, Mrs. Christy Lozano nominated Genevieve Ku for The Atonement Excellence Award. Genevieve was selected for the distinction this quarter, and Mr. Watson presented her with the award this week.

Mrs. Lozano explained, "She was nominated for excellence in Friendship and Kindness. Genevieve always relates to a friend in a loving and sweet manner, and she values and honors the important role of being a friend especially when there is a need. She is always willing to help others all on her own without hesitation."

Genevieve Ku is the very first PreK student to earn this award, and we are proud of her demonstration of excellence.

This Saturday, December 19th at 12:00 p.m., Wreaths Across America and AHG TX0814 along with many other volunteers will be at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery to remember and honor our veterans through the laying of remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes and the act of saying aloud the name of each and every veteran.
If you purchased a wreath to lay on your own family or friend's gravesite, please stop by the representative station located at the front of the cemetery (at Harry Wurzbach) to collect your wreath.
Although our school was founded in 1994, The Atonement Academy did not add an upper school until 2004, and the first graduating class in 2008 began a tradition of competitive college acceptances. Ever wonder where our scholars wind up for college? Here is a complete list of the excellent institutions of higher education where our Crusaders have been admitted over the past 12 years. There is quite a legacy for our current scholars to strive to likewise achieve!

Aquinas College
American University
Arizona State University
Auburn University
Bellarmine University
Benedictine College
Boston College
Boston University
Catholic University of America
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western University
Claremont McKenna College
College of the Holy Cross
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
Concordia University
Cornell University
Creighton University
Dominican University
Duke University
Emory University
Fordham University
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Full Sail University
Georgetown University
Hawaii Pacific University
Hillsdale College
Hofstra University
John Paul the Great University
Laguna College of Art & Design
Louisiana State University
Loyola University—Chicago
Loyola University—New Orleans
Marquette University
Mount St. Mary’s University
Musicians Institute of Los Angeles
New York University
Northeastern University
Oberlin University
Penn State University
Purdue University
Regis University
Rhodes College
Rochester Institute of Technology
School of Visual Arts
Stanford University
St. Thomas Aquinas College
Suffolk University
Syracuse University
The College of William and Mary
Tufts University
Tulane University
Union College
University of California-Berkeley
University of California-San Diego
University of Colorado—Boulder
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Findlay
University of Hawaii
University of Kentucky
University of Michigan
University of Minnesota
University of Mississippi
University of Missouri (KC)
University of Nebraska
University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh
University of Utah
U.S. Naval Academy
Washington and Lee University
Wellesley College
Wyoming Catholic College
Xavier University
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
University of York (England)
University of Navarra (Spain)
Monterrey Institute of Technology & Higher Education (Mexico)
Universidad Pan Americana (Mexico)
Baylor University
Hardin Simmons University
Houston Baptist University
Our Lady of the Lake University
Rice University
Schreiner University
St. Edward’s University
St. Mary’s University
Southern Methodist University
Southwestern University
Tarleton State University
Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University- Grand Prairie
Texas A&M University- Galveston
Texas Christian University
Texas Tech University
Trinity University
University of Dallas
University of Houston
University of the Incarnate Word
University of Mary Hardin Baylor
University of North Texas
University of St. Thomas-Houston
University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at El Paso
University of Texas at San Antonio
Two of our Class of 2021 Crusaders with their recent admissions notices, Sarah Trevino and Katherine Monroe.
Could you use $20,000? Or a 2021 Ford F-150 or Ford Focus sedan?

All it takes is one winning $5.00 ticket!

In 2021, The Atonement Academy will once again participate in The Catholic Life Insurance Annual Sweepstakes. We will focus on selling these raffle tickets during the month of January only, so be on the lookout for your tickets when we return to campus.

This unique fundraiser returns 100% of the monies raised by our Atonement community directly to our school.

Yes, you read that right: If we raise $1,000 in ticket sales, $1,000 is donated to our school! And the buyers of the tickets are entered into the drawing for the vehicle (or a $20,000 gift card). "But wait, there's more," as they say! Another winner will be drawn from among the Atonement tickets sold, and that winner will win a $1,000 gift card donated by Catholic Life. (In 2020, Crusader dad Tom Monaghan won the $1,000 gift card.)

Let's begin 2021 with a committment to get behind this terrific effort to help our school!
It's not very glamorous, but we are so happy to have new air purifiers for each classroom! Our staff picked up our allotment from the North Side School District this week.
Coach Hallmark will be hosting a winter camp over the break to get kids moving over the break and geared up for the spring season. The camp is open to the public and will be held December 28th -30th from 9:00 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. at The Atonement Academy.

Boys and girls will work on all aspects of the game with UTSA Roadrunner coaches and players to prepare them for the upcoming season. They will also have a great time competing each day in game situations!

Crusaders participating in the camp will receive a $25 discount.

-TUTOR AVAILABLE. Faith Weems, 11th grade. Mathematics through Algebra I, Latin I, and all MS Science. Contact via email at to set up.

-TUTOR AVAILABLE. Hannah John, 9th grade. Can do all subjects in all grades. Contact via text at 210-831-7277. Tutor through Zoom only.

-SCHOOL PHOTOS NEEDED. The Yearbook Club is in need of your photos. Please send photos to Mrs. Powell at, and thank you in advance.

-NEED TUTORS. Are your MS or US scholars interested in tutoring other Crusaders? If so, you may submit the following information to the newsletter to be included on a listing: tutor name, subjects, and contact details. Please note that all arrangements must be made parent-to-parent and no on-campus facilities are available. NOTE: Contact information will be omitted from newsletters published

Submit your school-related notices to Mrs. Havel at mhavel@atonementonline by Wednesday noon before anticipated publication.
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.