The Atonement Academy, founded by Fr. Christopher G. Phillips, is a private Catholic school with Anglican roots and provides a classical education for students from Pre-K all the way up to 12th grade. Now a freshman at Trinity University, I’m proud to say that on June 2nd, 2017, I graduated from the Atonement Academy high school along with 24 of my fellow classmates.
The literal translation of the Latin phrase “alma mater” is “nourishing mother,” which is so fitting for me to call Atonement. Both the attached parish, Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, and Atonement Academy truly did nourish me in both fides et ratio (faith and reason), in accord with the school’s motto.
As I am writing this, Valentine’s Day is drawing near and I simply could not pass up this chance to express my love and gratitude to this beautiful school. Atonement has taught me so much in academics, but even more so spiritually, and I’m extremely thankful that I chose to attend this school that brought God into every moment of my life.
I love how each class started with a prayer, and how the school brought God in not just its religion classes but even in Latin, History and Literature classes. I love how each month teachers took time out of their classes to bring my classmates and me to the Confession, and above all I love how The Atonement Academy made time for the students to go Mass every day so that we could partake in the beautiful celebration of the Eucharist—the source and summit of the Catholic life—each day and receive the sacramental graces which come with it.
And because of Atonement I can proudly say that I read, outlined, and studied the Catechism of the Catholic Church cover to cover, and that I studied and read the whole Bible in the course of one year. Because of Atonement I was able to go to the March for Life in DC, and go on a week and a half long trip in Italy and the Vatican. Because of Atonement I can proudly say that I’m a Catholic, and that I have been equipped with the tools to help me distinguish right from wrong.
I can go on forever, but in short, the Atonement Academy has taught me things that will stay with me for the rest of my life– things that will prepare me for a world full of persecution and misguidance.
During my studies there I was shown nothing but love from the staff, the parish priests and my peers, but that is not to say my time there was nothing but sunshine and rainbows.
After transferring from St. Luke’s Catholic middle school to my first year in high school at The Atonement Academy, through no fault of the school, I developed a severe social anxiety disorder. Because of this, most of my days went by with me not using my voice at all, save for a few barely audible murmurs of a “thank you” or “good morning.” I had extreme difficulty making eye-contact to where at one point it took herculean effort to simply look up at the board and stay in the classroom full of people. Eventually four hours of sleep became what I considered a decent amount of rest for one night, if I was able to even sleep at all, and this led to an even bigger can of worms– psychiatric medications, long-term depression, and eventually being hospitalized multiple times after having suicidal ideations.
These were the hardest four years of my life, yet these hardships made me love The Atonement Academy even more. Throughout every step of the way, the teachers of the Atonement Academy, most especially Mrs. Catherine Prochko, Mr. John Markovetz and Mrs. Ana Powell, were there to help me and my family and made sure that I was able to graduate; and I cannot thank them enough.
The Atonement Academy showed me nothing but love, and out of all the things I learned during my time there, above all, I was able to learn the importance of loving myself. It was here that I learned that I had to be kind to myself to be kind enough to the world.
Because of the Atonement Academy I am where I am at today. I am now a freshman at Trinity University and the president of Trinity’s pro-life group, Tigers for Life. I am now majoring in Psychology and Business Administration with the aim to be a psychotherapist for the mentally ill. I am now the owner of the best pug in the world, Nugget.
My name is Angelique Lopez, and I am a proud alumni of the Atonement Academy.