friends of veritas academy
Summer break doesn't seem too long ago—especially with the heat that has stuck around so long—but campus has been abuzz since early August, with many traditions and new events already under our belt for the new school year! In fact, Homecoming Week is going on right now with the Veritas Defenders taking on the Texas School for the Deaf Rangers this Friday, September 29, at 7:30pm on Defender Field.
After catching up on recent happenings in this first edition of the ‘23-’24 Friends of Veritas Newsletter, please join us Friday evening—and throughout the fall—as special members of the Veritas community!
- The Veritas Family
campus & community
First Days of School!
Veritas Academy kicked off its 19th school year this August, and what a joy it has been to have Defender students back throughout our halls, classrooms, and 97 acres! We have much to celebrate and praise God for as we have welcomed 124 new students from 65 new families, 22 new faculty members, and 7 new staff members to the Veritas community, reaching 676 students enrolled from the youngest Defenders in our PreSchool classes to the 33 seniors in the Class of 2024. Additionally, we kicked off the school year with our 5th-12th graders attending the Connect Conference, which was followed a few days later with the 1st Day of Classes for all students. Parents also gathered for “Cheers and Tears” to pray over our school, students, faculty and staff, and campus. It was a bonus that August 21, was also the birthday of our new Head of School, Cameron Cook, which meant extra celebrating!
ADMINISTRATION FOR THE 2023-2024 SCHOOL YEAR
After a few weeks off in the middle of the summer, campus reopened in early July with Cameron Cook officially assuming the role of Veritas Academy's Head of School (HOS). He stepped into this position after a year of serving as Veritas's Chief Business Officer and after 3 months of being named our next HOS, which allowed him the opportunity to work closely alongside Jef Fowler (VA HOS ‘05-’23) in preparation for this transition.
Though some change is inevitable for all communities during a transition of this magnitude, Cameron is committed to building on the solid foundation that has been laid for our school through the wise and effective leadership of the Veritas Board, Jef, and so many others. As he leads Veritas forward, we will continue to build on the calling and values that unify us and the worthy mission that we have together as the Veritas community.
To further support the vision of Veritas, Cameron is surrounded by respected leaders at the helm of each school level and department, with a few new faces joining him as fellow administrators.
2023 Thematic Goal & Few Words From Cameron
At our annual Paideia Conference the week of August 7, Cameron spoke to the entire community of parents and faculty/staff as he cast a vision for the 2023 school year rooted in the truth and goodness of Isaiah 58:12 which reads: “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” Cameron further explained that Veritas has 18 years of a faithful, hard-fought, and wondrous foundation for us to continue to grow for the Glory of God. In this, he shared the thematic goal and defining objectives for the year, which you can watch—or read—below.
Cameron also took a few moments before Labor Day Weekend to reflect on the first few weeks of the school year and to encourage parents as they press into the opportunity that Veritas gives them to better know how God has uniquely created each of our children and is preparing them—and us—to be His light in this world in a variety of ways. This is a season to be embraced!
Oh, the Places You'll Go! Class of 2036
Since 2012, each graduating class at Veritas has had a special storytime towards the end of their senior year—usually on “creek day”—with the reading of Dr. Suess's Oh, the Places You'll Go! Beginning in 2018, the tradition has been mirrored with a reading for the Kindergarten class when they take their first venture into the “woods” behind their classrooms and gather in the Rock Garden. The tradition has continued with the Class of 2036, marking Cameron's first of many readings.
Students are memorizing Exodus 20:1-17 and Psalm 103:8-10 from the English Standard Version (ESV) during the Fall Semester. The goal of this exercise is to hide God’s word in our hearts, reflect upon these truths, and converse among our families. Feel free to join us in this important discipline and opportunity!
New Spirit Wear Provider
We are thrilled to announce that we have a new spirit wear provider! SwagHub offers delivery to your home 2-3 weeks after you place your order, with easy returns if something doesn't work. This is a perfect gift idea for current, future, and past Defenders so that they are geared up and ready for spirit wear days and athletic events! And for the grandparents out there, this is a great way to support your Defender—near or far. Browse the store, and be on the lookout for new items coming soon! We'll announce new designs as they become available.
Campus Projects & Phase II Development on the Horizon
On a campus our size, there is always a list of projects that we are completing and dreaming about! This summer saw several projects cross the finish line to enhance the community and values that are central to Veritas.
Light pole banners were installed and now line the road onto campus while highlighting the Virtues of a Defender as we come and go each day.
The formerly muddy hillside off of the Cafe Patio is now a beautifully terraced gathering place for students to play spikeball, parents to fellowship with one another, and all to enjoy community.
Our Grammar School Villages (grades PreSchool-4) received some needed love via a fresh coat of paint to start the new school year.
Phase II: Community Center, Gym & Fine Arts
In mid-August, current families completed a What Can We Build Survey for Phase II, which will be a community center with gym/fine arts spaces on our own campus! The feedback we received helped to narrow the scope of development between two project proposals that range from $10M to $15M. The differences between these projects are significant enough that we have spent the month of September conducting a Pre-Campaign Study to better identify our fundraising goal and project scope. Our intent is to continue to spend this semester on the Pre-Campaign Study and a Silent Phase of fundraising before launching a campaign community-wide in the Spring of 2024. Should you desire to be an early supporter of this exciting project, please complete the survey linked below or email our Advancement Director Katie Luevano. While Katie will be on maternity leave for most of the fall, she will still be able to connect you with another member of the campaign team.
Fall Roundup is Next Month!
We are close to officially “rounding up” our community at our annual Fall Roundup event! Please reach out to your Defender family for all the details so you can join us in the Meadow for a pre-game event with live music, treats, photo ops, booths, and our beloved cakewalk! Think of it as the best way to tailgate before settling in and cheering on your Defenders.
Then, stick around and join us at 7pm on Defender Field for the Varsity football game and special performances to include:
Mini Cheer Camp Performance @ 2nd Quarter
Mini BlueBelles Camp Performance @ Before the Game
Homecoming MMXXIII is Friday!
All Defender Alumni are invited to join us this Friday, September 29, for Homecoming 2023! There will be a special pre-game "tailgate" at 5:30pm in Defender Hall (4th floor at Veritas), followed by a quick stroll to Defender Field for a 7:30pm kickoff versus Texas School for the Deaf and our traditional Alumni Walk during Halftime (~8:15pm).
Alumni and their families are invited to attend each event as our special guests: just screenshot this article or the Alumni email you may have received to show at the ticket gate in Lot A for free admission to the game. Also, to help us prepare for these events, please take a moment to RSVP below!
Class of 2012 and 2013 Class Reunions!
In what seems like the blink of an eye, it is already time for our first graduating classes to celebrate their 10 Year Reunion(s)! The classes of '12 and '13 will be celebrating this milestone together on Saturday, October 28, at 4pm with a catered meal from Cabo Bob's, a campus tour, and more all in Defender Hall (4th floor of VA). If you have any questions or have not received any details, please contact Alumni@VeritasAcademy.net.
P.S. Class of '14, it's not too early to start thinking about your reunion.
2022 Veritas Valiant Recipients & Grant
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(s) of the Veritas Valiant Award have received the honor of making a significant monetary contribution to a cause or program about which they are passionate by directing an anonymously sponsored $3,000 grant to that organization.
While the 2022 Veritas Valiant Recipients, Maggie McLatcher and Elliana Krone, were announced at their graduation, their grants have only recently been awarded. As wonderful as both of these ladies are, their hearts to help provide intentional opportunities for youth to know and follow Christ and to protect and rescue the most vulnerable among us, are clearly demonstrated in their grant designations to Pine Cove's McKenzie Scholarship Fund and Unbound Now Austin.
Elliana has chosen to award her grant to Unbound Now. She is passionate about Unbound Now's commitment to prevent, protect, and bring freedom to those affected by human trafficking, and she hopes that this grant will continue the impact this ministry has had on the lives of children all around the world and in our local communities.
Furthermore, Elliana is committed to personally getting involved with Unbound Now Austin and will soon be meeting with the area director to learn more about program and advocacy opportunities. While it is difficult to imagine how human trafficking can take place in our own communities like Austin, these Unbound Now PSAs are a great start in learning more about common trafficking scenarios and can help equip you with valuable knowledge and awareness.
Pine Cove: McKenzie Scholarship Fund
As a Pine Cove camper, Maggie gave her life to Christ at age 14 at their high school camp called The Ridge. The experience was so meaningful that she now spends her summers serving as a counselor at the same camp. Maggie says, “Truly, I have never seen a better glimpse of what Heaven will be. Watching children come to know Jesus better and have a greater understanding of what the Gospel truly is makes my summers at Pine Cove worth it. Getting to mentor and encourage campers who were in the same spot I was in encourages me to this day in my walk with Christ. #SendYourKidToCamp!”
Maggie has chosen to designate her Valiant Grand to Pine Cove's McKenzie Fund with the hope of helping campers experience Christ for the first time and/or encourage them as they grow in their faith. Pine Cove's McKenzie Scholarship Fund extends financial aid to campers and families who may not be able to send their children to camp for a variety of reasons, and with generous support, the fund has been able to help numerous campers experience the Gospel for the first time and receive Christ into their lives.
fine arts feature
New Dean of Fine Arts: Neela Beddoe
Neela Beddoe has been a Veritas co-teacher for the past four years and after joining Veritas faculty last year as an instructor in SL Theater (grades 5-8), she is now leading the Fine Arts department and instructing SR Theater as well (grades 9-12). Neela has a diverse background in the arts and extensive experience in operations and management. Born to a composer and jazz musician father, and a mother who was a professor of Persian literature, Neela was immersed in a world of creativity from a young age. Her love for theater began when she joined the Junior Shakespeare Academy acting troupe at the age of 10. Over the years she performed in Shakespearean plays, musical theater productions, and as a jazz vocalist and session singer. Neela's professional work in the arts extended beyond the stage. She has also worked as a freelance makeup artist, costume designer, and interior designer in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Alongside her work as an artist, Neela has over 20 years of experience in operations and management and has held leadership positions in the tech industry, commercial real estate, and events.
Most importantly, Neela and her husband Marshall share a deep commitment to Christ and classical education and strive to model a passion for learning and creating for their 3rd and 5th Grade daughters. She and her students are currently working hard on their upcoming fall productions which will be performed in October and November.
New SR Golf Team!
The Veritas Academy Athletic Department is beyond excited to announce the (re-)formation of an SR Golf Team! Veritas Academy has registered with TAPPS to participate in TAPPS tournaments and qualifier matches. Mr. Chad Eppes will be at the helm as our Head Coach.
Athletics Calendars & Tips
Defender Athletes would love to invite you to cheer them on throughout the year! Please see all athletic schedules in Rank One and contact your athlete directly for additional game details. General “home game” details are included below. Go Defenders!
Admission for Football Games: Homes Games @ Defender Field
Admission for Volleyball Games: Home Games @ Central Texas Fieldhouse in Buda
a few more opportunities to connect!
Christmas on Campus: A Very Veritas Christmas
Wed, Dec 13 | A Very Veritas Christmas & Winter Fine Arts Showcase
A Very Veritas Christmas will be on the afternoon of Wed, Dec 13. Along with fun and festive activities for the whole family, everyone is invited to the Winter Fine Arts Showcase. The afternoon will feature:
Fun activities and service projects for children by Family Ministries
- Fine Arts performances by SLR theater, dance, and musicians (a schedule will be published in advance to make sure you don't miss specific performances)
Fri, Dec 15 @ 8:30am & 11:15am | Grandparent Gathering & Christmas Assembly
The Friday before Christmas Break is a half-day for ALL students, including those in GS who do not usually attend school on Friday. Along with a modified class schedule, special events that day will include:
- Grandparent Equipping and Connection Event @ 8:45am
- Ellen Schuknecht will discuss ways grandparents can promote service in their families and encourage grandchildren to think of others before themselves. Ideas and fellowship will be shared visit light refreshments.
- Christmas Assembly @ 11:15am
- Academic and Musical Performances by various grade levels
- Christmas Charge by Cameron Cook
Calling All Defender Alumni!
If you are a member of the Veritas Alumni Community, we would love to hear what’s new in your life as well as how we can continue to pray for, encourage, and celebrate with you. You can also reach out to Alumni@VeritasAcademy.net directly to connect with us and lead Alumni Coordinator Eli Pickering.
Veritas is so blessed by those who feel called to donate to our school, and you can give any time using the link below! All donations are tax-deductible and help us fulfill and further the mission and ministry of the entire school. Should you have any questions, please reach out to Development@VeritasAcademy.net.
Come Work at Veritas!
We are still in need of some new folks to join our team of talented faculty! Would you, or someone you know, be interested in joining the team? A love of the Lord, a love of children, and support of our mission are a must! Please visit our Employment page to see a complete list of the openings we have school-wide and contact HR@VeritasAcademy.net for more details.
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