News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.16, November 5, 2020

Our Lady of America, you asked that the United States of America
“be the country dedicated to my purity”
and that your children in America
“be the children of my Pure Heart.”
Please intercede for us
that we may be granted this grace
and morally good leaders who will act
according to the revealed will of God
and the foundational principles
of the Declaration of Independence
and the Constitution of the United States of America.

~from the Novena to Our Lady of America
Our Lady of The Atonement, Pray for Us!

Dear Academy Families,

It has been an unsettling year. Of course there is the pandemic, but COVID-19 does not on its own fully explain our unease. For most of our lives we have assumed—with good reason—that American civilization was like the house built upon the rock; the storms and waves that leveled other nations could not prevail here. Lately, however, it feels as though deep beneath us some silent and undetected fault line has begun to slip.

A school like The Atonement Academy exists, yes, to form young men and women of faith and prayer who will find serenity in God’s promises at such times. But Crusaders are not those who merely passively endure. They build, lead, sacrifice, and, when necessary, fight so that our common life continues to be a collective striving to realize the good, the true, and the beautiful in time and space. The rule of law, decency, and all the ideas of consequence that allow a trip to the store to be uneventful trace their lineage to the courage of heroes at Normandy, the intellect and learning behind The Federalist Papers, and the prayers of unknown saints. 

That is the Atonement mold. Every day I am on this campus I walk among young people from whom I may one day receive the Blessed Sacrament or entrust with my medical care or salute as Mr. or Mrs. President…

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.

November 6
Seventh and Eighth Grade Movie Night on St. Nicholas Field at 6:30 p.m.

November 7
Upper School Swing Dance in the Piazza at 7:00 p.m. (see details later in this newsletter)

November 9-13
Spirit Week for Grades 7-12

November 9-20
NJHS will be hosting a Food Drive during carline and LS classrooms

November 23-27
Fall Break

Always check our school website for updates and details.


11/6/2020 - Varsity Football vs. Fredericksburg Heritage on Crusader Fields at 7:30 p.m. (Final home game) Tailgate begins at 4:00 p.m.

11/7/2020 - Varsity Volleyball Bi-District Playoff game in Crusader Gym vs. Lifestyle Christian School at 2:00 p.m.

IMPORTANT: Please go to the Atonement Sports Facebook page
to get pre-sale ticket links.
In addition, up-to-the-minute information on Atonement Sports are kept current on their social media page (Atonement Sports).
We continue to welcome students back to campus. Of the 83 students who started the year with Remote Learning, all but 46 are back on campus. You may find the Remote Learning FAQs here.

MS Football: Coach Hegedusich
The Middle School Football season wrapped up last week with a loss to FEAST. However, over the season, this team became cohesive, learned, and developed tremendously. We are looking forward both to having our 8th graders join the Upper School Football program next year and to see the rising 6th grade class join the Middle School program. Thank you to the parents and student-athletes for a great season full of memories.
Varsity Football: Coach Vidal
The Varsity Football team travelled to San Marcos this past Friday to compete against Hill Country Christian. The Crusaders lost the battle 0-54, however through every snap and repetition, they still fought until the final whistle. This team is learning a lot this year about themselves and growing closer and closer as each day goes by.

On a personal note, I will say that I am excited to see the growth of this program over the next few years and the growth of these young men who participate on the team. Our team's Bible studies have been going well over the past few weeks, and we have talked about perseverance, hardships, and what a brotherhood means. It is great to see the young men of this school and football team lead discussions about the Bible, and what they have learned in Mass and in the classroom.

Our team will honor the two seniors, David Henriquez and Nick Cosnowski, as they play their final game for The Atonement Academy this Friday night. It is our last home game of the season, so please join us at 7:30 p.m. as we play against defending State Champions Fredericksburg Heritage. Looking forward to a great night of football.
Middle School Volleyball: Coach Alvarado
The Middle School Volleyball season finished two weeks ago, with the girls wanting to keep playing. They were building up momentum and getting better by each practice and game. We are excited for the future of Atonement Volleyball as we are beginning to see more and more participation across the board. Thank you to the parents and student-athletes for a great season.
Lady Crusader Varsity Volleyball: Coach Alex
The Lady Crusaders wrapped up their final regular season game Tuesday night in which they honored the one senior on the team, Katherine Monroe. With a night full of emotions for the lone senior, the girls played tough and ended the regular season with a win against Universal City First Baptist by a score of 3-1. The Lady Crusaders finish their season with a record of 17-2, the Best Record in TAPPS 1A. We will host a Bi-District Playoff game in Crusader Gym against Lifestyle Christian School this Saturday, November 7th at 2:00 p.m.
Upper School Cross Country: Coach Gray
The US XC Team competed in the TAPPS 1A State Championship meet this past Monday in Hewitt, TX. The runners who competed: Madelyn Landry, Madison Vale, Matthew Petroff, and Nathan Groh. The results for the meet are:

Madelyn Landry- 17 out of 44
Madison Vale- 40 out of 44
Matthew Petroff- 55 out of 68
Nathan Groh- 29 out of 68

The runners competed and scored some of their personal best times. This extremely young team will look to keep improving and moving up in the leaderboard at the State Championships next year.
Middle School Boys Basketball: Coach Jess Perez
The season just started this past Monday with practice, and the MS boys are looking good. I am excited to join the staff here at The Atonement Academy, and will also be helping out the Varsity Boys Basketball team. My prior experience coaching basketball was at Holy Cross, where I coached both middle school and high school teams.
Middle School Boys and Girls Soccer: Coach Miranda
Practices have started this week and the soccer teams are looking good. We are excited for the growth of our programs this season and to see what we can do once competitions begin.
Varsity Boys and Girls Basketball: Coach Vidal/Coach Buendia
Parents, be on the lookout for an email if your child has registered to participate on the basketball teams. Due to the success of the volleyball program, and COVID-19 pushing back football season, the beginning of basketball season will be delayed by a few weeks.
IMPORTANT: Please go to the Atonement Sports Facebook page to get pre-sale ticket links.
Kathrine Skeens

What do you currently teach, and what do you enjoy about it?
I teach athletics to the PreK through 8th grade. Physical Education was my favorite class growing up, and I especially love to teach the children sports.

How long have you been here, and what do you most appreciate about teaching at The Atonement Academy?
I have been a parent at The Atonement for around 23 years. I have five children and three beautiful grandchildren. Three of my daughters graduated from the Academy, and I currently have a daughter who is a sophomore and a son who is a freshman here. I have coached several sports over the years, including baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball. I have worked here for the past seven years. I really appreciate the truth of our faith taught here. There is nowhere else like it and I am so grateful and blessed to be here. The children, the faculty, and the staff are all so kind and caring.

What do you look forward to this school year? 
I look forward to bringing some normalcy back into everyone’s lives. I especially love to be a part of Atonement daily activities and the students while they are running around having fun!

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 enjoy hiking, karaoke, and spending time with my family. My two children at home keep me very busy, as they are always involved in one or two sports per season! When I have time, I like to read spiritual books. I just finished the autobiography of. St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul. She had such a beautiful relationship with our Lord in her short time here on earth.
Photos include Coach Skeens on a hike with her husband and with two of her three grandchildren.

I came to The Atonement Academy as a first-grader, though our family had already been parishioners at Our Lady of the Atonement for about a year. I still remember the days with Mrs. Otten, in whose class I met my lifelong best friend, AmyGrace Weems.

I find it difficult to choose a single favorite memory from my time at the Academy. Most memories are filled with laughter, especially those from my high school years. Some are filled with tears, as when I said goodbye to my graduating class. However, one memory that I return to often is that of a rainy Candlemas.The electricity had gone out, but classes went on as normal throughout the morning. We packed into the church for daily Mass, holding onto our candles and trying to keep them from dripping wax onto our hands. Eventually we had to blow out our candles, and the Mass proceeded in darkness. Then, at the moment when Father raised the Host above his head at the consecration, all of the lights came back on illuminating the Body of Christ. It was an experience that has had a profound impact on my love of the Eucharist, which was also cultivated by the privilege of attending daily Mass and going to Adoration. 

After I graduated in 2016, I went to the University of Dallas to complete my Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Latin. There I continued to pursue my love of classical education inspired by The Atonement Academy, taking classes on Dante, Shakespeare, Cicero, and Aquinas, among others. I also pursued my love of scientific research, working in five different labs over the course of four years, including one in Rome, Italy following my semester abroad with the UD Rome Program.

I led the American Society for Microbiology UD chapter as President for two years, and loved engaging in STEM outreach to local schools. In addition, I enjoyed working as a teaching assistant for five semesters in the Biology Department, which often reminded me of my time tutoring at Atonement. I finished my degree in May 2020 as the class valedictorian, delivering my farewell speech over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the fact that we did not end our semester in person, I look forward to December when we will assemble as a class once again for our official commencement, and I am grateful for the countless memories I made from the times we did have together at UD.

Now I am pursuing my PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology at the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Graduate school during a pandemic is not a walk in the park by any means, but I am thrilled to research alongside scientists who are working to understand and treat this virus. I have faith that soon this will all be a thing of the past due to their great work and that of researchers across the globe. In the time I don’t spend in the lab, I enjoy hanging out with my roommates and dog, catching up with friends over video calls, reading, and writing. 
Photos include Ana in the lab at graduate school, with the snowman Bacchus, and in college cap and gown photos with her twin sister Mary and best friend AmyGrace Weems (all went to different undergrad schools but all three members of the Crusader Class of 2016).

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 another new family, the Zazuetas: Luis and Ana and their boys Luis Santiago (6th), Juan Diego (4th), Pablo (2nd), and Emilio (K), with the youngest still at home. We spoke to the boys' mom about their family.

How did you discover / first hear about The Atonement Academy?
Friends had talked with us about The Atonement Academy before we ever considered it. We were enrolled in another school and we were aware of the good reputation of The Atonement. We knew it could be an option in case we ever decided to change schools for our family.

What made you decide to look into The Atonement Academy as an educational option for your child?
Our old school was making a number of changes in their curriculum and methods, and we did not like the change for our boys. We began looking into other schools, visiting and asking questions. The academic rigor combined with the thorough religious formation were deciding factors for us.
Now that some time has passed since school began, what do you like about the education your child receives?
We love the fact that the education is Christ-centered while at the same time challenging and disciplined. It is a true gift to have the emphasis we place on faith and family and academics reinforced at school every day!
What do you appreciate about the religious environment at The Atonement Academy?
The daily Mass is of course a beautiful addition to the day our children experience at The Atonement Academy. But it is not simply that a Mass is offered and required, but during Mass and in the classroom they are learning about their Catholic faith with stories about the saints and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Catholic traditions. This is a reflection of how we teach our boys at home, and we appreciate that it is reinforced at school.
What would you like the Atonement community to know about your family?
We love our new school and hope to get to know many new families!
The Zazueta family is shown here in a few photos over the last couple of years. Help us welcome them to the Crusader family!

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.

Please consider supporting Broadway Daily Bread on DeZavala Road. This fine establishment donated ALL of the pecan bars, lemon bars, chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cupcakes at the recent Father-Daughter Dance. These high quality, delicious treats were worth hundreds of dollars and were donated by this establishment. Please patronize those that support our great school!


Upper School Fall Dance
This Saturday, Nov. 7, 7-10pm, in the Piazza
Please turn in your permission forms by 4:00 p.m. Friday
Advance ticket payments, $5
At-the-door, $10
NOTE: Entrance/Exit at Church end of Piazza. 
Do not try to drop off or pick up by the gym.

Photo above: We had a great turnout for the swing dancing lessons last weekend. If you didn't learn last weekend, you can still learn at the dance!

Safety Protocols: 
-Complete COVID self-assessment at home. 
-Do not come if you have any symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19.
-Wear a mask except when eating.
-Temperatures will be checked at entrance. 
-Use hand sanitizer provided upon entrance/exit and before/after eating. 
-Chaperones will serve snacks with gloves.

We need a few more parent chaperones. Please contact Catherine Henriquez, Be sure your safe environment training is up-to-date.
Photos include our varsity volleyball team after their last regular season game, and a photo of the sole senior on the volleyball team, Katherine Monroe, with the two seniors on the football team, David Henriquez and Nick Cosnowski. In Varsity Cross Country photos, we feature the students who competed in the State District meet this week: Matthew Petroff, Madison Vale, Nathan Groh, and Madelyn Landry. Well done, Crusaders!

-TUTOR AVAILABLE. Faith Weems, 10th grade. Mathematics through Algebra I, Lain 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.

-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.