Friends of Veritas
September 2021Volume VI | Issue I
Friends of Veritas Academy
The First Days of School
Veritas Academy kicked off its 16th school year this August, and what a joy it has been to have Defender students throughout our halls, our classrooms, and our 97 acres once again! We have much to celebrate and praise God for as we have welcomed 106 new families, 191 new students, and over 40 new faculty members to the Veritas community, reaching a record number of 686 students enrolled from the youngest Defenders in our PreSchool classes to the 41 seniors in the Class of 2022.
NEW FOR THE 2021-2022 SCHOOL YEAR
With growth in our Grammar School (GS) which includes grades PreSchool-4, we have added new PreSchool, PreK, and Kindergarten class sections on Tue/Thu that allow us the ability to utilize the same classroom space and teachers already here on Mon/Wed, while partnering with more young families and providing an option for larger families to alternate their children’s on-campus and at home days. This addition, along with expanding our GS Friday enrichment offerings to include a History & Science elective, are two simple, yet very impactful ways to provide more flexibility and leisure in our partnership model and for our youngest students’ and their co-teachers on school at home days.
In the School of Logic (SL), grades 5-8, and the School of Rhetoric (SR), grades 9-12, the school year did not begin with academic classes, but with the first-ever annual Connect Conference. The conference allowed students and faculty alike to strengthen friendships and invest in one another and our community before the introduction of bell schedules and course syllabuses. During this time, all freshmen were also inducted into one of our four houses—Augustine, Bonhoeffer, Francis, and Mueller—with ample opportunities to earn House Points toward the House Cup. The Connect Conference was led by SL Discipleship and SR Leadership teachers, along with our new Dean of Students, Christin True. Christin is a beloved long-term faculty member and Veritas mom, who will now be leading a team of six other faculty and staff members as they share the joys and responsibilities of culture-creating in our Student Commons and across campus each week as we seek to lift the name of Jesus high beyond the classroom.
Annual Paideia Conference & Camp
Paideia is a Greek word referring to the disciplined crafting of a man—the whole man—in excellence and virtue. As a partnership school, Veritas aims to equip our teachers and co-teachers (parents) to work together in the instruction and training of the children God has entrusted to us. Our annual Paideia Week is one way we are able to do just this.
The week of August 9th, Defender parents, faculty, and guests from other schools wrapped up the summer holiday by convening on campus, where they participated in Paideia Conference sessions with as many as ten tracks offered. On Tuesday, our guest Keynote speaker Dr. Richard Ross spiritual transformation in their own lives as a conduit for true spiritual development in their children.
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, Head of School Jef Fowler cast a vision rooted in truth from Psalm 119:32, “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart!” during his Veritas Vision Keynote session. Mr. Fowler took this time to challenge the community in the thematic goal of this academic year:
Aligning our affections to promote spiritual transformation within our community.
“Share your stories, especially your family stories of faith, with your kids. Invite them into your prayers, especially when you need Him to show and to move and to manifest His power. Let your children see that. Let them see evidence that you think and know that God is real, and then let them see Him answer for Himself ... If you really want to see lifelong transformation in your kids to pursue Christ above all else, then start by transparently transforming your own heart, connect your heart with theirs, and watch that transformation be transmitted from you into them. All for the glory of God.”
Our students weren’t left out of the week! Alumni, student leaders, and new & returning students alike gathered for a memorable time rotating through numerous stations including worship, community service projects, a petting zoo, miniature horse racing, a train ride, science experiments, water games, and more at Paideia Camp.
Defender Date Night on Friday provided a wonderful end to a week full of learning and fellowship. This whole week was a great opportunity for new and veteran families alike to become better equipped to educate our children and for us all to pursue spiritual transformation together as a community!
Honoring Our Heroes
On the morning of September 11th, many in our community gathered in the courtyard to honor the heroic men and women who have served, continue to serve, and have given their lives to protect us. Through a presentation, prayer, reflection, and a service project, we were all reminded of the sacrifice so many make to preserve our individual and collective freedoms. May we continue to remember in our prayers, speech, and actions that our lives and freedoms come at a great cost to those who have so sacrificially given of themselves on our behalf.
There is another type of hero, someone who takes the unexpected and sometimes unimaginable circumstances in life and faces them with faith, grace, and strength. Norah Howard was that kind of hero, along with her parents, family, and friends. Norah approached her short life, including the months since May when as a 1st grader, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with high-grade glioma—a very aggressive cancer that spreads quickly through brain tissue, making treatment extremely difficult. Norah and her family began to fight this disease immediately and on all fronts, facing adversity with the strength of an amazing and faith-filled family behind her, a strong community around her, and a promise of heaven ahead of her, expressing a childlike trust in her future with Jesus. May we all live our limited days on this earth with the intentionality and hope that Norah lived her final ones before being welcomed home on September 10th.
Unspoken heroes are all around us. Please join us in praying for all of our heroes and their families, especially those who are walking through—or perhaps reliving—grief and loss, including the families of Wright Wood, a Veritas dad who passed away in June from complications with COVID and left a beautiful legacy in his wife Elizabeth and children Jackson (VA ‘21), Grayson (VA ‘22) and Gabrielle (VA ‘24), and Dr. Frank James (“Jim”) Guszak who helped almost all of our Kindergartners and 1st Graders (from 2006 to 2019) learn how to read before taking on another battle with cancer and passing away in July from pneumonia.
Introducing our new Alumni Coordinator, Connor Silkett (VA '15)
Connor and the Silkett family have been a part of the Veritas community since 2007, Veritas’ third year in existence. As a Veritas graduate himself, Connor attended Veritas from 5th grade until his graduation in 2015. After Veritas, Connor attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a degree in Finance in 2019.
As the oldest in his family, Connor has three siblings, two of whom still attend Veritas, Ethan (VA ‘22) and Victor (VA ‘31), and Emma (VA ‘18) who has followed in his footsteps and will graduate from Texas A&M in 2022.
Connor is now back at Veritas in a dual capacity as both an SL/R instructor and Alumni Coordinator. Connor is reliving his days as president of the Math Club by teaching 6th Grade math and Elementary Algebra. He also serves as an assistant for the Senior Thesis Program, where he is able to use his valuable experience as Veritas 2015 Thesis winner. As Alumni Coordinator, Connor is seeking to (re-)connect with all 10 of our graduating classes to ensure Defender alumni are always able to call their Veritas classmates and community home.
“I had absolutely no clue I wanted to teach until 2021. I went to school to do something entirely different and even had a great job surrounded by great people for nearly two years. In the spring of this year, it became clear very quickly that God was calling me to make some type of change. After much talk and prayer with family and friends, I felt confident that the Lord was calling me to come to Veritas. I haven’t been here for too long, but my experience thus far has been amazingly fulfilling—and filled with a joy that I hadn’t remembered in a long, long time.”
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.
Be sure to check out our previous Defender Alumni Spotlights, too.
Valiant Grant 2021
The Veritas Valiant Award is the academy’s highest honor acknowledging a graduating senior whose life is marked not just by intellect and accomplishment, but also by excellence and virtue. Beginning with the class of 2019, the recipient of the Veritas Valiant Award has received a $3,000 grant to award to a charity of his or her choosing.
Class of 2021 recipient, Jared Fuller, has awarded the Valiant Grant to a charitable organization he has served: Hungry Souls, a food bank that partners with local schools to provide weekend and school break meals to students and families.
Introducing the BlueBelles
This year we have the joy of announcing the new Veritas Drill Team, the BlueBelles! After working hard all summer, these girls have already begun to bring even more excitement to our Varsity football half-time shows. Join us in celebrating this new tradition and avenue for present and future students to get connected and support the Defender community.
The inaugural BlueBelle members include Ashtyn Boyer, Zoe Caskey, Callie Church, Harper Dorris, Claire Finch, Eliza Hollifield, Rebekah Leyendecker, Mia Loo, Tori Olivares, Sadie Sachtleben, Ella Strickland, Emma Woodruff, and Abigail Woodruff.
Meet our New Fighting Scot
After seasons of cheering on the Defenders, we finally revealed our unique version of a Defender with the introduction of our beloved mascot last fall. This year, we’re introducing a digital version of the very same friendly face, whom you’ll see appearing across Spirit Wear and Defender Athletics collateral.
Our Defender is inspired by a highlander defending his homeland, rather than a traditional knight seeking conquest. Not only is this reflected in the design such as leather in the place of metal and war paint instead of a helmet, but it is also reflected in our spirit as a community. We are loyal, resourceful, gritty, and courageous people who daily choose to go against the prevailing current. We serve and follow a sovereign and good God, prioritize and invest in our families, and protect and serve the lost and vulnerable. And now we have an image to help remind us that WE ARE DEFENDERS!
10% off the Veritas Vault until 9/30
The Veritas Vault is the home of all Spirit and House Wear. The vault can be accessed any time through our website and orders are shipped directly to your door. From now until the end of September, all purchases from the Vault will receive a 10% discount!
Discount Code: VERITAS10
Fall Round Up
Festival & Football Game v. San Marcos Academy
Football Game v. Round Rock Christian
Christmas on Campus
A Very Veritas Christmas
Join Us in Memorizing Scripture
Each semester, our students throughout all school levels memorize a passage of scripture. This fall, students will be memorizing Psalm 139:7-16 and Isaiah 53:1- 7 from the English Standard Version (ESV). The goal of this exercise is to hide God’s word in our hearts, reflect upon these truths, and converse among our families.