News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.15, October 29, 2020
Jesus, dear Savior, on this day we prayerfully remember all our loved ones who have died. Please give us comfort and hope as we pray that they rest in peace. Thank you for our memories of them and for the good times we shared. We ask you please, with their intercession on our behalf, that you deepen our faith, strengthen our hope, and increase our love that we, too, may someday stand before you, ready to enter your Holy Kingdom. Amen.
~All Souls' Day Prayer
This year's "Altar of Remembrance" in the main entry of The Atonement Academy. Students, faculty, and staff added photos of their deceased loved ones.

Dear Academy Families,

As American society inches back to something like a normal state of affairs, we occasionally come upon scenes that have the look of a creature half-metamorphosed. The Dodgers win the World Series—and the pre-recorded crowd goes wild. Closer to home, if you missed me in carline today, it is because I am attending a Catholic education conference—virtually. Again, next Saturday, the Upper School will host its first pandemic-era dance—outside, complete with masks and temperature checks.

Really, though, is life’s fundamental “unscriptedness” actually abnormal? In world history, aren’t seasons of equilibrium and predictability the exception rather than the rule?

Certainly, as individual persons we have each been given a life to answer for, and no one else can answer for us. Stories can guide us, but while the journey of the hero may inspire us to dare great things, it will not, in its particulars, map our journey. Or again, the lives of the saints may serve as exemplars, but no single one of them will reveal the exact shape of the narrow gate you or I will be asked one day to pass through.

As we come to All Saints' Day, then, we venerate the saints, not so that they will use their intercession to ensure for us placid lives free of complication or grief. Rather, they are our elder brothers and sisters in the way of Christ. Before we were born they took up their crosses daily and followed him, and even now call us home.

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.

October 30
Virtual All Saints' Day Program and Salute to Grandparents
With health concerns, our program will be a virtual one this year. All LS families will be emailed a link for the program.

October 31
Booster Club Movie Night, 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. This is a great alternative to trick-or-treating, and an opportunity to see a Charlie Brown classic that will not be on national television this year! See flyer later in this newsletter.

November 1
Academy Sunday. Wear uniform to Sunday Mass (7:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., and 11:00 a.m.)

November 2
Per Parent-Student Handbook, sweaters required daily November 1-March 1

November 4
Picture Day, Lower School and Middle School

November 5
Coffee with Mr. Watson (RSVP by noon on November 4)

November 9-13
Spirit Week for Grades 7-12

November 23-27
Fall Break

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.
We continue to welcome students back to campus. Of the 83 students who started the year with Remote Learning all but 46 will be on campus as of this coming Monday, November 2nd. Please note the latest updates to the Remote Learning FAQs. These updates address what to do if your child needs to transition temporarily to Remote Learning due to illness or quarantine.
Library Hours
Each full school day, our St. Pope John Paul II Library will be open 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.

October 12-December 15
Second Quarter AR period

Best Classic Book Election
Winners of the October 23rd Runoff Election were The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Hobbit. The debate posters are up. The final election is on November 3rd. Yes, this is the same day as the Presidential Election, and everyone gets to vote!

First Quarter Library Literacy Award
Though the majority of our students were diligent in pursuing personal reading goals, the award is given to only one winner for Lower School and one winner for Middle School each quarter. These students had the highest percentage of achievement above their individual AR point goals in the First Quarter:

Lower School – Charles Watson with 4623.8% of his individual point goal (pictured with librarian Mrs. Wendtland and his teacher, Mr. Sackett)

Middle School – Sofia Musquiz with 2225.6% of her individual point goal.

All Saints' Day, November 1, is a solemn holy day of the Catholic Church. The day is dedicated to the saints of the Church, that is, all those who have attained heaven. Although millions, or even billions of people may already be saints, All Saints' Day observances tend to focus on known saints --that is those recognized in the canon of the saints by the Catholic Church. All Saints' Day is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation, meaning all Catholics are required to attend Mass on that day, unless they have an excellent excuse, such as serious illness.

All Souls' Day, November 2, is a holy day set aside for honoring the dead. The day is primarily celebrated in the Catholic Church, but it is also celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox Church and a few other denominations of Christianity. The Anglican church is the largest Protestant church to celebrate the holy day.

According to Catholic belief, the soul of a person who dies can go to one of three places. The first is heaven, where a person who dies in a state of perfect grace and communion with God goes. The second is hell, where those who die in a state of mortal sin are naturally condemned by their choice. The intermediate option is purgatory, which is thought to be where most people, free of mortal sin, but still in a state of lesser (venial) sin, must go.

Purgatory is necessary so that souls can be cleansed and perfected before they enter into heaven. There is scriptural basis for this belief. The primary reference is in 2 Maccabees, 12:26 and 12:32. "Turning to supplication, they prayed that the sinful deed might be fully blotted out...Thus made atonement for the dead that they might be free from sin." Additional references are found in Zechariah, Sirach, and the Gospel of Matthew. Jewish tradition also reinforces this belief as well as the tradition and teaching of the Church, which has been affirmed throughout history.

Consistent with these teachings and traditions, Catholics believe that through the prayers of the faithful on Earth, the dead are cleansed of their sins so they may enter into heaven.

Many cultures also mark the day differently. In North America, Americans may say extra prayers or light candles for the departed. In parts of Europe and Latin America, families visit the graves of their ancestors and sometimes leave food offerings for the departed.


What do you currently teach, and what do you enjoy about it?
I teach physical education and have coached Middle School and Upper School Soccer since November of 2016. Since I have been at The Atonement Academy, it has been a blessing to teach our students the benefit of physical activity and how it can improve their confidence as well as instill in them virtue and faith amongst all things. 

What do you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy?
Soccer brought me to Atonement before I was hired as a PE Teacher. I am going on my 10th year coaching/teaching to a wide variety of levels and to youth in private and public high schools as well as club, juvenile probation centers, and State Olympic Development Programs. I feel blessed to have found a place with such a great community that upholds the Catholic faith in which I was raised.

Even before I got here, The Atonement Academy has had a prevalent soccer culture within these walls. In my inaugural season as middle school boys soccer coach, we had over 20 boys in the program. They did not tell me that before I signed! At times I feel that somehow God has guided me here to serve our youth and help develop them as leaders that will defend their faith once they graduate from our school. Our school has the very best teachers, administrators, and coaches any family could ask for. 

What do you look forward to this school year? 
The middle school soccer team. I was a bit down with our varsity soccer program not being able to happen due to our unprecedented times. At the same time I am feeling very excited to be head coach of our middle school programs once again since my first years at the Academy. I can still remember Alfredo and Cody from their 8th grade year!

I am very happy to see a large majority of our students being able to partake in the world sport and represent their school in the beautiful game which we call Fútbol, Balonpie, Calcio, Fussball , Futebol, Le Foot, Voetbal, and Soccer.

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 love my beautiful family and honestly ask from God as much quality time with them as possible. My wife April and my 3 year old daughter, Caroline, are the reason I wake up every day feeling blessed for what I have been given. Caroline is currently learning how to speak Spanish, tracing letters, and working on her foot skills!

What is something you wish we had asked?
Barcelona or Real Madrid? Messi or Cristiano?
Photos include Coach Miranda with his first Crusader team and in front of his home with wife April and daughter Caroline.

Don't miss the updated information regarding movie and preparations / protocols as noted in the flyer below, please!

My name is Olivia Garza, and I was a student at Atonement for seven years, from sixth grade until I graduated in 2017 from the Upper School. I have also been a parishioner at Our Lady of The Atonement almost my entire life!

When I graduated Atonement in 2017, I received a full-ride scholarship to attend Our Lady of the Lake University here in San Antonio. I chose to pursue a degree in Political Science and Pre-Law, as well as a minor in History. I am just one month away from graduating in December 2020 and I am so excited!

I now work as the Texas Regional Intern with Students for Life of America, where I have assisted students all across the state in starting up their own pro-life groups on their campuses. I also just completed my fourth (and last) pro-life student fellowship. I am proud to say that I have 800+ hours of education and training on subjects such as: abortion laws, abortion procedures, bioethics, pro-life apologetics, lobbying, and, most importantly, aiding women in crisis.

In addition, I have been working especially hard this election season to ensure pro-life victories across the nation. I am a Volunteer Deputy Registrar to register family, friends, and classmates in Bexar Country to vote. Additionally, this month alone, I emceed three national webinars, where I led and trained students around the country to call and text pro-lifers to go out and vote #prolifefirst. The recent confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court Justice has showed the nation that Roe v. Wade’s days are numbered. I am so hopeful that we will see abortion abolished soon!

When I consider special Atonement memories, I will never forget the magical Christmas concerts every year in the church. When I was in Middle School, I would sneak into the choir loft after my class had finished our performance so that I could close my eyes and admire the beautiful echoes from the choirs below. I still cherish Christmasses at Our Lady of The Atonement every year.

Some of my proudest achievements at Our Lady of the Lake were actually influenced by my education at The Atonement Academy. For example, after four years of active involvement in Atonement’s 10+ year-old St. Gianna Molla Pro-Life Club, I realized that I was called by God to be in the Pro-Life Movement for the rest of my life. In 2017, I founded Pro-Life Saints, which is a student organization at OLLU that seeks to educate and empower students on our campus to Choose Life.

When I tell people that I am a Pro-Life activist for a living, I get really strange and sometimes horrible looks. But if there is anything that my Atonement family has taught me, it’s that I should never be afraid to voice the Truth. Being a champion for Truth has taken me across the nation and around the world as I spread the pro-life message.

When I am not doing research, working, or studying for class, I am usually found singing, playing the kalimba, or sitting in the sunshine with my dog, Millie Roo. 
Photos include Olivia with her family (including Crusader brothers Josemaria '14 and Juan Pedro '20), Olivia addressing the assembly in Houston at the Celebration of Life Gala, hosted by Texas Right to Life, Olivia in Washington DC, with pro-life friends in Sydney Australia, and as a Crusader visiting the Coliseum during the biennial Rome pilgrimage.

With pandemic restrictions, it has been difficult for many of our Crusader families to get to know each other. We continue the Family Focus series with the Schwartz family, Mona and Jason and their daughter Dahlia (she is in Mrs. Chaney's Kindergarten class). We spoke to Dahlia's mom about their family.

How did you discover / first hear about The Atonement Academy?
I began searching the internet for information about schools that were not only fairly close to our home but also schools that would be challenging for our daughter.

What made you decide to look into The Atonement Academy as an educational option for your child?
When it was time for Dahlia to get ready to enroll in Kindergarten, I knew she needed a structured and stimulating environment. She has always been very poised and articulate, and I wanted a setting that would help nurture that aspect of her nature while also giving her a challenging educational setting.
Now that some time has passed since school began, what do you like about the education your child receives?
Not knowing what challenges COVID might present, we felt most comfortable beginning the year with remote learning. After about a month, we knew we were ready to begin on-campus education. Dahlia has been thrilled with her new school, her classmates, and her teacher, Mrs. Chaney. The curriculum has been fantastic--it is clearly not a typical Kindergartener's daily work! Dahlia is challenged but also feels so comfortable, and her comfort is our comfort, too. For that we are very thankful!
What do you appreciate about the religious environment at The Atonement Academy?
Although a Catholic education was not our initial requirement for our daughter, it clearly reinforces the faith.
What would you like the Atonement community to know about your family?
We are so happy to feel so welcomed by this community! As Mr. Watson always says, this is truly a community at The Atonement Academy, and we are all so diverse in our backgrounds but united by the education we are providing to our children.
Photos include Dahlia with her dad just before heading to the Hoedown Hootenanny this weekend, Dahlia's parents, and Dahlia with her big brother, Jason.

Help support their fundraising efforts every Friday morning, plus now offering donuts after each Sunday 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. Mass.
Congratulations to second grade scholar, Ben Lillich, who earned The Atonement Excellence Award. This award is given each month to a Crusader in Pre-K through 2nd grades who demonstrates virtues of kindness, respect, enthusiasm, and love of neighbor. According to his teacher, Ben's cheerful spirit is an example to all. He even opens the doors for scholars every day as they leave the school. Thank you Ben for exemplifying what is means to be a true Crusader!
Photos include our football team under the lights last weekend and our varsity volleyball team. In other photos, a few second grade boys help Mr. Watson get ready for a Lower School assembly and budding scientists enjoy class outdoors (also second grade). Also, we feature a couple of photos of today's "Parishioner Shadow Day" participants and a number of Saturday's "Hoedown Hootenanny" participants including the Galvez, the Meyering, the Cerda, and the de la Fuente dads with their daughters.

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

-PTC NEEDS A ROOM PARENT COORDINATOR. The PTC is looking for a parent volunteer to be the room parent coordinator of the Pre-K3 through 8th grade room parents. If you are interested email  

-MIDDLE SCHOOL PHOTOS NEEDED. The Yearbook Club is in need of Middle School Volleyball and Football Game photos. Photos from a camera work best! Please send photos to Mrs. Powell at 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.