News from The Atonement Academy --- Vol. 2020-2021 No.19, December 3, 2020
"Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the most tender of friends with souls who seek to please Him. His goodness knows how to proportion itself to the smallest of His creatures as to the greatest of them. Be not afraid then in your solitary conversations, to tell Him of your miseries, fears, worries, of those who are dear to you, of your projects, and of your hopes. Do so with confidence and with an open heart." ~St. Damien of Molokai
All of our scholars and their teachers have the opportunity to be with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament every day. What a privilege for our young people and our faculty to grow together in the love of Jesus Christ!

Dear Academy Families,

We spend much of our lives trying to get from “point A” to “point B.” Sometimes those points represent physical places, and we can measure the miles between them. At other times, the points represent states of mind or character; vices which we are striving to leave behind and virtues which we are striving to adopt.

But whether we are driving to visit relatives on the other side of the country or attempting to reform our character, we rarely make the journey in a single day. “God steers a moving ship,” the saying goes. Move ahead by the light you have and before long the next light will appear. The key is to keep moving.

In a time of pandemic, our forward motion can become complicated. Yesterday evening I began a precautionary quarantine after meeting with an off-season coach who later tested positive for COVID-19. Like I ask of each of you, I reported to Dr. Tovar and am following her directions. I will work from home until I can be tested five days after the point of exposure. Though for the next few days I will miss seeing you all—students and parents—in carline, halls, and classrooms, I am moving forward with you in spirit.

Keep moving, Crusaders.

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.

December 4
St. Nicholas visits classrooms (afternoon)

"Wall of Money" Drawing for 2021-2022 Tuition Credits at 4:15 p.m.

December 6
Academy Sunday--wear your uniform to the 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. Mass~

December 7
Picture re-takes and pictures for those who were absent on picture day will be in St. Anthony Hall starting at 7:45 a.m. If you would like for your child to have his or her picture taken, you must notify Mrs. Johnston by this Friday at 3:00 p.m.

December 9
Christmas Concerts
-PreK through Grade 2, 1:45 p.m. in the Piazza
-Grade 3 through Grade 6, 6:00 p.m. in the Piazza
-La Posada immediately following the concert, and all are welcome to participate

In case of inclement weather, an indoor alternative will be communicated by noon on the day of the concerts.
December 10
Christmas Concerts
-Middle School, 7:00 p.m. in the Church
-Upper School, 8:00 p.m. in the Church

December 13
Nine Lessons and Carols, 6:30 p.m.

December 15
Last day for Second Quarter Accelerated Reader Testing

December 15-18
Half Days and Mid-Term Exams (See box below)

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.

-1st semester exams will take place over four days, Tuesday, December 15th through Friday, December 18th.
-Students need only be on campus to sit for their exams. However, students must arrive by the beginning of the designated exam period and may not leave until the end of that period. Parents of students who do not have a second exam may pick them up from a special exam-day car-line at 9:50 a.m. 

- If students do not have an exam during one of the designated exam periods but need to be on campus, St. Anthony Hall will be available for independent silent study. 

-Remote students will also need to take their exams on campus. The Common Room has been reserved as the designated space where remote students will take all of their exams.
-Parents of students who are able to sign themselves out must provide written or email permission to Mrs. Johnston prior to 8:00 a.m. the day the student is leaving. 

-Due to the half-day exam schedule, the usual 9:00 a.m. Mass will be reserved for the Lower School. Middle and Upper Scholars are encouraged to go to the church’s daily 7:00 a.m. Mass. 
-After-school care will be available but only until 3:30 p.m. Therefore, if you intend to use after-school care on these half-days please arrange to have your child picked up from St. Anthony Hall no later than 3:30 p.m.


-December 15th – 18th are half days to accommodate Middle and Upper School exams. Despite being half days, classes for Lower school will otherwise continue, so please be sure your child attends school on these days. As the semester does not end until Friday, December 18th, teachers will still be taking grades and advancing your child's education as they put the finishing touches on your child's hard work this semester.
-Additionally, our accrediting body requires students to be in attendance 90% of all school days (all but 18 days). Because the half days next week count as a full-day attendance under our accreditation guidelines, a student absent on next week's half days will be counted absent for a full day.
-Lunches for Lower School will occur as usual. Please send your child with a lunch or place a lunch order through our catering service.
-Lower School Mass will be at 9:00 a.m. instead of 12:50 p.m.  
-Pickup for the Lower School on these days will be at 12:15 p.m., separate from Upper School pickup which will occur at 12:30 p.m. Unless you have an Upper Scholar, please be prepared to pick up your child in the regular Lower School carline at 12:15 p.m.
-After-school care will be available, but only until 3:30 p.m. Therefore, if you intend to use after-school care on these half days please arrange to have your child picked up from St. Anthony Hall no later than 3:30 p.m.

Electing Remote Learning for the Third Quarter 
We have asked families to renew their choice to continue (or elect to participate in) Remote Learning on a quarterly basis. Please email Mrs. Powell ( by Friday, December 11th if you wish to continue Remote Learning for the third quarter.

Please consult Remote Learning FAQs here if you have any questions about the process.

We still have a number of "Wall of Money" envelopes waiting to be sponsored--several under $20-- and those are available for purchase in the front office. Remember, as an added incentive, those who sponsor a "Wall of Money" envelope now as well as those who purchased one at King's Fair will be entered into a special drawing for tuition credit. The drawing will take place on December 4th at 4:15 p.m. in the school foyer, 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. Donors may request a charitable contribution letter. 

Ready to make a donation to purchase an envelope? You have until 3:00 p.m. on Friday to do so! Anyone wishing to participate may stop by the school office or call Ms. Nieto at (210) 695-2240 x107.

Congratulations to our Varsity Volleyball athletes! Your Lady Crusaders earned the "State Runner Up" in TAPPS 1A Division. We are so proud of our team!

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 began this past Sunday and we hope all of our Lower School scholars are working on ways to earn money to help those in need. 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 hallway. You may send the pictures through email for publications or send in a printed photograph of your child for the bulletin boards. Pictured here is first grader Matthew, folding towels as an additional chore.

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.


I am currently a library aide in the St John Paul II library. I love being here because it is easily the most beautiful place on campus. In fact I doubt another high school or grade school in San Antonio has anything comparable to it. I enjoy it when students come in and get very excited about finding something interesting to read.

I most appreciate the fact that the Atonement Academy takes our Catholic faith seriously, and thus tries very hard to keep an authentic Catholic culture here. This has been the consistent theme of the school and parish since its founding. All my five kids (now all grown!) attended the school, beginning 22 years ago; I am grateful they had this opportunity.  

Reading is one of my hobbies, and this year I read two different books with pandemic themes: The Plague by Albert Camus, and Daniel Dafoe's A Journal of the Plague Year: London 1665 both of which were fascinating in comparing how different eras faced these type of crises. A very different hobby of mine is to go sailing with my husband, on our boat in Canyon Lake.

A favorite memory from long ago: My husband Joe is a chemist and he procured liquid nitrogen for the Upper School science teacher.  Before giving it to the teacher, he dipped several of the kindergarten boys' ties in liquid nitrogen as they came walking into the building. Soon everyone's ties were "smoking" and more boys of all ages were coming to get their ties dipped, since it looked so funny!
Photos include Mrs. McDonough with her three grandchildren and at a choral competition with her youngest daughter, Meg ('17).

I was a student at The Atonement Academy for eight years, from fifth grade through my upper school graduation in 2014. After graduation from The Atonement Academy, I attended Texas A&M University in College Station. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Allied Health in 2017. Whoop!

One of the most special Atonement memories I have is the pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, and Orvieto my senior year of high school. It was beautiful to see the rich history of our Catholic Faith and immerse myself in a new culture. This was truly a unique memory and one I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

I loved the community at The Atonement and the interconnectedness of family and friends. I also loved the formation of my Faith and daily Mass. This formation grounded me, and looking back I can truly appreciate the values instilled in me by this unique aspect of the school.

My career path has not been linear. I started by thinking that I wanted to become a Physician Assistant after graduation, and while I prepared to apply I got married to my amazing husband, Patrick, moved to Dallas, and took a job as a Medical Assistant at Parkland Hospital on the General Surgery floor. Parkland is a "safety net" hospital that cares for everyone, including the homeless community in Dallas and those who do not have insurance. After working full-time, especially during COVID, and shadowing healthcare providers, I decided I wanted to become a nurse. Now I am working part-time on the General Surgery/Trauma floor and obtaining an accelerated online Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing.  

The most wonderful experience I have had in my career is one that at first presented many challenges. I moved to a new city and in an attempt to garner exposure in the medical field, I chose to accept a job at a Level 1 Trauma safety net hospital. At first everyone questioned why I would choose to work at a place that served such a poor community and in addition put me on a night shift schedule during my first few months of marriage. It was not easy by any means, but now two years later I can confidently say how proud I am of this experience. I have met incredible colleagues along a broad spectrum of medical professionals, learned more medical practice than I ever thought possible, and learned how to care for a wide variety of patient populations. I was also able to float to other units to see burns, ICU level care, post-partum, neurology, and cardiology. I quickly moved to day shift, established recommendation letter relationships, and received tuition reimbursement to continue my education goals. Nothing in life ever comes easily, and this was a blessing that God had intended for me before I could even see it myself.

My advice to young people wondering about choosing a career that takes them away from home would be to go for it! Life is too short and the time we are given is not guaranteed. Traveling somewhere that takes you away from home is a great opportunity to grow as an individual and become integrated in a new community. If it is something you are passionate about and love, then it will be worth it. Also, being away from home never has to be permanent, and a healthy balance can always be established. God never gives us something we can’t handle, and it is so important to embrace the strengths that you have been given to make this world a better place.

If I am not working or studying, I am running my side business as a travel agent with a formidable franchise. It has been a fun and rewarding passion of mine to plan dream vacations for my clients and friends! It also allows me to travel and see the world more! My husband and I also recently celebrated two years of marriage and we are building a home in Dallas. In addition, I like to stay active whether it be at the gym or hiking. Finally, I enjoy volunteering at our church community and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

A few of the most wonderful destinations I have traveled to would be Rome, Costa Rica, Belize, and soon Jamaica! They were all unique experiences and offered their own wildlife, scenery, culture, and activities. My husband and I traveled to Costa Rica for our honeymoon and we got to zipline in the rainforest, hike, see wildlife and waterfalls, and view the most beautiful sunsets on a catamaran. I still would love to experience more of Europe and also go to Greece, Iceland, Thailand, Maldives, and Patagonia. So many places still to see!
Photos include Britny's travel and home-buying adventures as well as a few photos from her life as a Crusader upper scholar.

Please don't forget to make your contributions to the Faculty and Staff Christmas effort by December 11th.
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

-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, 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.