News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.18, November 19, 2020

The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.
~St. Gianna Beretta Molla

Mrs. Garza's third graders began a great hallway display that has our entire school community participating! The "Tree of Thanks" encourages students, faculty, and staff to write down something they are thankful for on a paper leaf and attach it to the tree. It has been beautiful to stop by and read the many blessings for which we are thankful! (See additional photos later in this newsletter.)

Dear Academy Families,

It is from a heart of thanksgiving that I write you today. The rough ground over which we have travelled these past months finally opens upon a meadow of repose. While I would never discount the critical role during the holidays of cooking, cleaning, and long car trips, I pray that this fall break God will refresh you through life-giving fellowship with loved ones as well as periods of silence and solitude.

This challenging year has also been a time of great blessing. If I were to list all for which I give thanks to God, know that each of your names would appear below. But in the interest of space, I have curated a small, representative selection—Mr. Watson’s 2020 Thanksgiving Top Ten:

Teachers and Staff. Without the pluck and perseverance of Crusader faculty and staff, we would not have a school today. And I love this school.

Cooperation. Without the spirit of cooperation exhibited by Crusader students, this weird and stressful year would be overwhelming. They have stepped up.

Dr. Tovar. She has been our pandemic point person in a season of competing narratives and ritualized contradiction. Her expertise and dedication has kept us safe.

Volleyball. Varsity girls are playing for a state title tomorrow. Just plain cool.

Mr. Creech. He serves this community out of deep experience, expertise, and character, often behind the scenes. I could not ask for a better right-hand man.

SA Weather. Coming from humid Houston, and, before that, numbingly cold New England, San Antonio’s dry, sunny climate still makes me feel like I’m on vacation. And in two days I guess I will be!

Father Lewis. I came to San Antonio and to this community at his invitation. I will always be grateful.

Academy Parents. You put on King’s Fair this past weekend, the Upper School dance the weekend before, then made and served lunch for “Staff Appreciation” yesterday. You are true partners in this work.

The Better Half. If you prefer your Head of School clothed, fed, and sane, then we all have my wife, Jenny, to thank. “A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels” (Proverbs 31:10).

Unbreakable Promises. Yes, life is unpredictable, and not, it seems, always overly concerned with our comfort and serenity. But we know the One who has promised us, “Lo, I am with you, even to the end of the age.”

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

Happy Thanksgiving!

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 20
Last day for Middle and Upper Scholars to sign up for a friendly chess tournament in December (sign-up form is outside Ms. Szyszkiewicz's classroom). Special note: this is rumored to be the first in a series of "House" competitions. Authorities have declined to comment. 

Last day for the NJHS-hosted Food Drive during carline and in LS classrooms

November 23-27
Fall Break

November 30
Back to Class!

December 4
St. Nicholas visits classrooms

December 9
La Posada (Note the new date, please.)
Grades 3rd through 6th, and all are welcome to participate

December 13
Nine Lessons and Carols, 4:00 p.m.

December 15
Last day for Second Quarter Accelerated Reader Testing

December 15-18
Half Days and Mid-Term Exams
Details to be sent home when we return from fall break

January 4
Second Semester Begins

Always check our school website for updates and details.
In addition, up-to-the-minute information on Atonement Sports are kept current on their social media page (Atonement Sports). Please go to the Atonement Sports Facebook page to get pre-sale ticket links.
If you are transferring to Remote Learning for illness or to quarantine, please consult Remote Learning FAQs here if you have any questions about the process.

Your Lady Crusaders have advanced to the TAPPS 1A State Championship with a score of 3-1 against Fredericksburg Heritage and will play this Friday (tomorrow) at 11:00 a.m. at New Braunfels Christian Academy against Wichita Falls Christ Academy. Pray for our Crusaders!

Advent is a time to open and prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. As adults, we understand that preparing our hearts includes performing acts of sacrifice, having obedience to God’s will, and showing love each day. The Lower School Advent service project, Chores For Charity, is a tangible way for our younger scholars to perform acts of sacrifice and show love for others.

Advent begins the Sunday after Thanksgiving, November 29th. We are asking that sometime during the break, you sit down with your child to discuss chore(s) they can do around the house or for family and friends as a way to earn money to help those in need. The chores may vary, based on the age of your child. These jobs could include: feeding the dog, picking up the toys, putting away the dishes, folding the clothes, washing the car, pulling weeds in the flower bed, mowing the grass, or doing their homework without fussing. The chores should be a sacrifice, something that your child is responsible for doing with a willing and cheerful heart. 
We would like for you to take a picture of your child doing their chore so it can be added to the school newsletter, the school website, social media, or placed on the “Chores for Charity” bulletin board displayed in the hallways. You may send the pictures through email for publications or send in a printed photograph of your child for the bulletin boards.

We hope you will take advantage once again of this wonderful service project and guide your child to make the sacrifice of doing chores to earn money for children who really need our help. Families directly served by this parish's St. Vincent de Paul Society will benefit from your child’s sacrifice and love.

Here is a look back at previous years' chores and the scholars performing them. Which current Crusaders do you recognize?


What do you currently teach, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am the head coach of MS boys basketball and assistant Varsity basketball coach. I have always enjoyed playing basketball even to this day, but coaching is a special reward; being able to teach the students and watch them grow each day in skill and, more importantly, into young men is something better than making a game winning shot.
What do you appreciate most about teaching at the Atonement Academy?
I enjoy the community and the great attitude of the students at Atonement. From day one I was welcomed by all of the coaches and the students are always listening and eager to learn.
What do you look forward to this year?
This year I look forward to get to know all of the faculty and students and hopefully make a positive impact on our athletic program.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
During my leisure time I love playing music (guitar, piano, and singing), playing sports such as football, and of course, basketball. I am also eager to learn all that I can about growing my home remodeling business.

The most important time for me is spending time with my family. I have one daughter, Melody, she is my oldest at 8 years old. I also have three boys, Jaden 5, Kolbe, 2, and my newest baby boy, Ambrose. My wife, Rhoni, is who I spend most of my free time with if not with the kids. 

We have been parishioners at Our Lady of The Atonement for several months now, and it is apparent that the school and church communities--from parishioners, students, faculty, and staff--are very supportive and welcoming!
Photos include Coach Perez with his wife Rhoni and with several of his children.

Our first grade teacher, Mrs. Maria Kennedy, reports that for the past two weeks the first grade class has been studying the first Thanksgiving and life in the Plymouth Colony. 

She describes, "We began our studies with a class novel, The First Thanksgiving by Garnet Jackson. While we read the book we completed a timeline of events starting from the year 1620 when the Pilgrims left England for the New World. In addition to reading the novel the students deepened their knowledge with further lessons and activities focused on the Pilgrims’ journey, the Mayflower, family life, and schools in the Plymouth Colony. In English we wrote sentences about the Pilgrims and Indians using adjectives, adverbs, and even prepositional phrases!"

Mrs. Kennedy also provided numerous photos, including Edward (above), and Tyler, Sofia, and Frances. The remarkable colored drawing is freehand work by Frances.
Last Saturday we held our King's Fair on campus, and the food, fellowship, and games were great entertainment for our community. Of course, masks and social distancing as well as other procedures kept the event much smaller than usual, it was a great way to have some fun and raise some funds for our church and school.

The chairpersons for the event were Crusader parents Hope Garza and Kristen Landry. Mrs. Landry added, "Thank you to all who joined us for this year's King's Fair. And a special thank you to the Upper School Drama students for their performance of scenes from Macbeth as well as the birds of prey from Last Chance Forever, Birds of Prey Conservancy."
The Director of Development for the church and school, Ms. Amy Nieto, also adds the following information:

Beer Glasses
We apologize to those of you who lost your school logo in the dishwasher! The company is reprinting the entire order. They should arrive the first week in December, and the damaged glasses need to be turned in to receive a replacement. Once the glasses have arrived, we will send out more details. Remember, hand wash your commemorative glasses!

Wall of Money
We still have a number of envelopes waiting to be sponsored, and those are available for purchase in the front office. As an added incentive, those who sponsor a "Wall of Money" envelope now as well as those who purchased one at King's Fair all will be entered into a special drawing for tuition credit. The drawing will take place on December 4th at noon, and five names will be drawn to win $1,000 in tuition credits for the 2021-2022 school year. 

If the winner does not have a student at the school, their gift will be donated to the academy scholarship fund or the winner may select an Atonement student of their choice for the tuition credit, and they will receive a charitable contribution letter. 
Anyone wishing to participate may stop by the school office or call Ms. Nieto at (210) 695-2240 x107.

The year 2020 has been a time of working and living at a distance. Now consider what it might be like if you were living with a pod of astronauts 250,000 miles from Earth! Your challenge is to imagine leading a one-week expedition at the Moon’s South Pole – with the whole world cheering you on. Tell us about the types of skills, attributes, and/or personality traits that you would want your Moon Pod crew to have and why. How many would be in your pod? And of course, you’ll need high tech gear and gadgets! In your essay, also describe one machine, robot, or technology that you would leave on the lunar surface to help future astronauts explore the Moon.

Click here to learn more about the essay and rules associated with the contest.
Basic Requirements:

-Grades K-4: Essay, up to 100 words
-Grades 5-8: Essay, up to 200 words
-Grades 9-12: Essay, up to 300 words
-Please DO NOT put your name on your entry
-For all entry requirements and judging criteria, please read all rules at the link above.
Essays are due to the St. John Paul II Library by noon on December 11th for review and submission.
Photos include our first grade class in front of the Guardian Angels Bridge, Mrs. Trevino's Latin Vocabulary Plate (words for food items), and the PTC's Mrs. Keller, Mrs. Newell, and Mrs. Pro providing our faculty with lunch this week. Also pictured are several upper scholars promoting the food drive, senior Anais Garza with her Texas Tech acceptance, Evan Landry after his first soccer game of the season, and the Garcia-Tovar siblings with Dr. Tovar (wearing sweatshirts from her alma mater) during Crusader Spirit Week, and more Tree of Thanks photos.

Mr. Mataya's juniors and seniors are reading St. Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy. In one of the poems, Boethius gives the image of death on a winged horse, and several students decided to create an artistic representation of it.
LS Volleyball Clinics K-6th

Dates: December 5, December 12, December 19

8:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.

Registration Required
Contact Coach Vidal to Register:
$10 per day, payable upon arrival to Coach Alvarado

Our American Heritage Girls participate in the laying of wreaths at Ft. Sam Houstin Cemetary each Christmas season, and this year will be no exception! The process this year is different in that all arrangments are made online, and all wreaths must be reserved no later than Monday, November 30th. See information below.

Another first at The Atonement Academy: Dramatic monologues written and produced by our upper scholars with the guidance of their teacher, Mrs. Audrey Lenahan. Here is the link to the recording of last night’s drama performance of We Are Not Made to Walk Alone.

To provide some background and context for the monologues, here are Mrs. Lenahan's “Director’s Notes” from the program:
This year has brought challenges that no one expected. From health crises to lockdowns, cancelled graduations to toilet paper shortages, none of us has been spared some level of discomfort, suffering, or even personal tragedy.

At the same time, there is never a challenge without some blessing that we can draw from it. As the year draws to a close, we recognize what is truly important. We have found that we can live without certain luxuries that we all took for granted way back in 2019. But we more highly value what is truly important – our families, our friends, and our larger communities, even as we struggle to come back together.

This year’s Atonement drama students carried out a semester-long exploration of what it truly means to be in a community and why it is important. The students conducted several interviews with various members of their own communities. They then turned these interviews into monologues, which you will see here. Every word is taken directly from their interviews and subsequent improvisations.

I am extremely proud of our scholars for their perseverance, insight, and creativity. It is my hope that this performance will inspire us all to grow deeper in our connections with others, strengthening the foundations of our relationships, reaching out a helping hand, and drawing together in love.

-TUTOR AVAILABLE. Faith Weems, 11th 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.