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January 2023Volume VII | Issue I

 Friends of Veritas Academy 


Dear Friends,

We are grateful for a wonderful fall semester at Veritas Academy and are eager to share a few highlights from happenings around campus. As Defender Grands and Alum, you can expect to receive this newsletter another time or two this school year, and we hope you will join us as you are able, to share in various events and traditions alongside the Veritas family.  

We hope you had a joyful Christmas season and pray that the peace and hope of the Advent season filled your hearts and home as you celebrated this year.

- The Veritas Family

Campus & Community

Letter From Our Head of School and Future Changes at Veritas

As scripture attests, “For everything there is a season,” and a new season for Veritas is on the horizon as well. The past 19 years have been an incredible adventure for Starrla and me, as we have served as a founding family and administrators here at Veritas. But, the time has finally come for this “start-up” guy and gal to move into a new season of our own after this school year. For us, this truly is a bittersweet time, as this is the place where we raised each of our children, alongside yours, and have devoted the prime decades of our careers. We owe so much to this amazing community of like-minded and -hearted believers. Thank you! 

A lengthier “Why This Year?” and “What’s Next?” are in the letter below, along with a second letter from Veritas Board Chair, Andy Krone, sharing about the board’s search for individuals to step into our roles and lead our school into its next season of flourishing. For additional details and updates on the search, please see the school's website.

Onward and Upward,
Jef Fowler, Head of School

   read the letters         HOS SEARCH DETAILS  

Veritas Vision Recap for 2022

To close out our Paideia Conference, Head of School Jef Fowler addressed our community to cast the vision for this school year as we “board the bus to Bozeman” and radically refocus on our counter-cultural classical, Christian, and collaborative roots here at Veritas. We are committed to growing students towards an ideal of the good, wise, and virtuous young man or woman of faith. Therefore, we have developed the Portrait & Path of a Defender to first identify the defining attributes desired for every Veritas graduate (the Portrait) and then to mark the guideposts with age-appropriate habits that should characterize a Veritas student as they progress towards graduation (the Path). 


We desire to cultivate people, particularly students, who: 

  1. Understand and believe the Gospel, trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 
  2. Are present and active in the worship and life of the local body of Christ. 
  3. Find joy in the study of Scripture, prayer, and service of Jesus Christ. 
  4. Read deeply and charitably; reason truthfully, diligently, and earnestly. 
  5. Speak and write with clarity, wisdom, and eloquence. 
  6. Engage creation with wonder and respect; pursue beauty and good workmanship. 
  7. Love Christ the King, following his command to make disciples of all the nations, teaching them to love God and one another. 

Below you'll find the full Portrait & Path of a Defender, as well as the implications of this vision for the adults in our students’ lives. You’ll also be able to watch Mr. Fowler’s address, as well as keynote speeches given by John Stonestreet and our very own AJ Hanenburg.

   Portrait & path of a defender   

   watch the keynotes   

First Days of School

Veritas Academy launched our 2022-2023 school year with 670 students in grades PreSchool-12, with 150 of them being new to us this year. We are so blessed to have added these 65 new families to our community! We kicked off the fall semester with our annual Paideia Conference where our parents, faculty, and staff came together to both educate and be educated in the instruction of the Lord as we began our school year. 


A Festive Fall Roundup

Many in our community donned their Western wear and joined us in The Meadow for this fun-filled, pre-game event. We enjoyed an evening of live music, dinner, treats, booths, and our beloved cakewalk hosted by our Fine Arts Department! It was the best way to tailgate before settling in and cheering on our Defenders in their big 50-6 victory over Faith Academy. Our BlueBelles Drill Team put on a special Father-Daughter performance at halftime!


APD Celebration

Our Scholé students making banners for local officers.

Veritas Shines and Scholé students from the Building Servants and Fruits of the Spirit classes welcomed members of the Austin Police Department, including the Chief of Staff, to our campus for breakfast. The children enjoyed visiting with the officers and asking them questions about the important work police officers do to keep our city safe.  After the event, Veritas Head of Campus Safety, Ryan Herring, delivered over 200 thank-you bags to the south Austin police station. This event was important for making sure Veritas is on APD’s radar and for our closest responders to gain familiarity with our campus, in addition to teaching our students about the immense value of our local police officers.






Veritas Art Week

The Fine Arts Department hosted a student gallery in our main building to show off the abundant talent of our student body. This year, we are excited to announce the opportunity to showcase our student artists further with an online gallery and option for print purchases. Veritas mom and photographer, Emily Cannata, has taken beautiful images of each work of art to share with the community. Purchases of any prints will go towards supporting our growing arts department and to displaying more and more beauty at our school.

   Purchase Prints   


Veterans Day Flag Raising

On November 11th, we held a flag raising ceremony to honor our veterans, marking the first time the flag has been raised on the permanent flagpole on the Veritas campus. It was an honor to have parents and grandparents who have served in our armed forces join our 7th and 8th grade classes for this ceremony. It was very special to see our veterans visiting and sharing stories with one another at the luncheon honoring them after. Thank you for your service!


School of Rhetoric Breathe Conference

During our third-annual SR Breathe Conference, 9th-12th grade students had the opportunity to cultivate curiosity outside the classroom by learning several hobbies and life skills from members of the community. There were unique opportunities for everyone, including, but not limited to: A Sew-Sew Important Skill, Cleaning a Deer, Fundamentals of Household Electricity, Improve Your Flexibility, Intro to Deaf Culture & Basic Signs, Music Producing, Oil Change 101, Stick Shift 101, Stop the Bleed, The Art of Coffee Roasting & Cupping, The Joy & Peace of Painting, and Featuring Abstract Florals.  Our SR students are so grateful for the investment of time and energy that so many in our community made in order to pull off the day. It was such a blessing—please enjoy more photos from the day below.

   Breathe Conference Photos   


National Merit Awards Announced

Typically, over 1.5 million students in about 21,000 high schools enter the National Merit® Scholarship Program each year. Some 50,000 entrants qualify for program recognition, and approximately 8,050 outstanding students receive scholarships for college undergraduate study. Congrats to our 2022-2023 Semi-finalists!



Adam Byle 

Sam Hagood

Commended Scholars 

Elijah Blythe 

Grace Herstad 

Brayden Smith 

Josh Underwood 


Fine Arts Feature


Citizens Theatre Company

ONE ACT cast The Citizens Theatre Company competed in the One Act Play competition in San Antonio. They performed scenes from Fire in the Hole and came in 3rd place overall! Students also received individual awards for their performances:

All Star Crew

Ben Clark  

All Star Cast 

Bronwyn Warner

Scout Sowers


The Veritas Drumline, under the direction of Mr. Joel Cowen, competed in Waco. They came in 3rd place and received top honors! They were also awarded for Best Front Ensemble.  

Advanced Band and Percussion Ensemble

Our band and drumline performed a winter concert in December, inviting family, teachers, and friends to enjoy their hard work and instrumental talent. What a blessing!

Fine Arts

Art week took place at the end of our fall semester—be sure to read the feature and learn how to purchase prints above!


Athletics Corner

Varsity Football

Varsity football made it to the State Final Four this year! Several players earned all-district awards including freshmen Hutt Eppes and Jed Fuller, sophomore Ryan Barefield, juniors Ethan Chandler, Joey MacPherson, and Braden Tulbah, and, finally, seniors Patrick Morgan and Graham Rooker. We also had a handful of all-state awards listed below. Congrats to these men for their hard work during a tough season!

1st Team All State 

Brighton Bresemann  

Luke Trilica  

Michael Hatfield  

Aidan Marenco 

Academic All State 

Drew Bremer

Varsity Volleyball

Varsity volleyball made it to the State Final Four for the first time in Veritas volleyball history, and we are so proud of all of the girls! We had many of our players receive individual honors including:

2nd Team All District 

Kate Brawley  

Courtney Church 

Lainey McGehee

All District Honorable Mention  

Bailey McGehee  

Mia Douglas

All State Honorable Mention  

Bailey McGehee    

Lainey McGehee

Varsity Cross Country 

Varsity Cross Country competed at State in October and Matthew Ard, a junior, led the team to an 11th place, 18:06 finish-time (that’s a 5:50 mile x3, folks)! He was one of only six boys in our division to earn Academic All-State for his excellent performance on and off the field.

Varsity Cheerleading

Varsity Cheerleading competed at the TAPPS competition in Belton, TX on December 6th. Despite a season of injuries and illnesses, our team showed up with a fire in their hearts and won 3rd place!

1st Team All State 

Faith Henry  

Katelyn Boyer  

2nd  Team All State 

Valeria Krasnoriadtsev

All State Honorable Mention  

Ella Shaw


Defender Alumni, we want to hear from you!  

If you are a member of the Veritas Alumni Community, we would love to hear about what’s new in your life as well as how we can continue to pray for, encourage, and celebrate with you. 

Fill Us In


You're Invited!  

Senior Thesis Presentations

Week of April 17th


Year-End Assembly & Cookout

Wednesday, May 24th @ 11:00am

Upper Village Courtyard


Class of 2023 Graduation

Friday, May 26th

As each event approaches, please check with your Defender family and friends for specific event details, including parking information and updated times and locations. We’d encourage you to bring a picnic blanket (or a lawn chair) to each outdoor event!