In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

November 15, 2018

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Gingerbread House Contest Entry Deadline: Nov. 19
  • Thanksgiving Holiday: Nov. 19 - Nov. 23
  • Fall Dance Performance: Nov. 30
  • Piano Recital: Dec. 2
  • Gingerbread Christmas at GWA: Dec. 2
  • Lower School Pictures With Santa: Dec. 5
  • Coffee With Admin: Dec. 6
  • Christmas Tree Presentation: Dec. 7
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Need Some Extra Help?

By Femke Cote

Associate Head of School - Curriculum and Global Studies


All of us can remember teachers in our lives that helped us have those “ah-ha!” moments, or who put in extra time to make sure we felt we had properly mastered the content. There were teachers who were available when we needed them and helped us to become better learners, and by extension, more responsible and prepared students. I myself can remember more than a handful of teachers whose dedication to their classrooms, and me in particular, made a huge impact on my education experience...Read More.

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A Sweet And Salty Science Lesson

Using a mouthful of salt water to swish and gargle, Life Science students were able to extract their own DNA and observe it in a test tube as well as under a microscope. They also obtained DNA from a smashed strawberry which offers a much larger sample to observe since strawberries have up to eight copies of each chromosome. In addition to this project, students had fun replicating DNA using candy to help visualize DNA structure (and then they got to eat it!).
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Beyond the Classroom

The Honors Global Health class traveled to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This trip coincided with their study of pandemics and they were able to view related exhibits to learn about the CDC’s role in preventing disease outbreak as well as seeing a real-time map that tracks disease around the world. The group also visited the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and a wellness clinic. A special thank you to Joe Gregg for obtaining the special access for our Global Health students.

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Teacher Spotlight

Spanish teacher Angie McElveen recently presented at the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) South Conference in Perry, Georgia on “Creating a Successful World Language Classroom.” It was her sixth time presenting at GISA. This opportunity is a great way for our faculty to engage in professional development while sharing knowledge and ideas with educators from around the state.

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A Salute to our Veterans

Friday’s Veterans Day Celebration was a meaningful tribute to the military men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. We were proud to host so many of these heroes, and enjoyed sharing this special day with them and their families. We are forever grateful for each and every one!
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Alert- Time Change!

Please note a time change for our next Coffee with the Admin event! The meeting will take place Thursday morning, Dec. 6 at 8:15 a.m. rather than that evening as originally planned- in order to avoid overlapping with the Monroe Christmas Parade. So, please plan on joining us that morning to chat with Dr. Dolan, hear the latest GWA news, and discuss any rumors swirling around.
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Spread the word, our first Prospective Family Open House is coming up! Contact Cari Bailey cbailey@gwa.com with questions or prospective family referrals.

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Have you submitted your entry yet? The Gingerbread House Challenge is open to the public! Individuals and groups may enter. Please go to gwa.com for details. Entries must be pre-registered by Nov. 19 and gingerbread houses are to be delivered to GWA by Nov. 30. Winners for the gingerbread house contest will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4:30 p.m. at the Gingerbread Christmas at GWA event.
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A Young Equestrian Wins Big

GWA fifth grader Sara Pledger's recreational equestrian drill team competed in the Southeast Mounted Drill Team Association National Championships last weekend and proudly brought home two medals!


The team competed in the Green competition division and won National Champions in Themed Performance, and Runners-up in Freestyle Performance. Congratulations to Sara and her team!

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Off to a Winning Start

Our varsity Bulldog basketball season opened with a 28-23 win over East Jackson! Way to go, Lady Dawgs! Come out and support the girls varsity basketball team tomorrow, Nov. 16 at 4:30 p.m. as they take on Savannah Christian at home!
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Swim Team Success

Swim season is underway, and the GWA swim team is already proving they are a force to contend with! All 14 swimmers on the team have cut their times and have worked hard to improve techniques every day. Team member Charlie Stout has already qualified for state in six events thus far, and many other swimmers are only a few seconds away from making state time as well!


We wish our awesome swim team the best of luck at their next meet on Friday, Nov. 30 at Morgan County!

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Calling All Soccer Players!

On Monday, Nov. 26 there will be an informational meeting for parents and players interested in joining the GWA soccer program. The league is open to middle and upper school students. Please reach out to Sara Smith ssmith@gwa.com with questions or to obtain for further information.
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Simulator Teaches Powerful Driving Lesson

The Arrive Alive Tour visited campus to provide upper schools students an opportunity to take a test drive in a simulator and experience the sensation of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol or driving while texting. Junior Jaime Jacoby said, “I did the drunk driving simulation and it was really cool because you could understand how much your reactions were delayed.” Thanks to the Arrive Alive Tour for helping students make better decisions before getting behind the wheel.
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The GWA Student Council is participating in the annual canned food drive for the Walton County Empty Stocking Fund. Food boxes will be prepared for 375 needy families for the Christmas holidays. GWA is a valuable part of this endeavor. Please place your items in one of the collection barrels located around campus. The lower school homeroom and the middle school homeroom that collects the most cans will receive a pizza party. The upper school student who turns in the most cans will receive a gift card (cans should be delivered to Mrs. Carson’s classroom). The deadline to submit the total number of cans your class collects is Thursday, Dec. 6. Winners will be announced on Friday, Dec. 7. Thank so much for your support!
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This summer, GWA is taking an educational tour through the Galapagos Islands to change the way our students look at the world, and themselves, through an immersive travel experience.


Students will have a chance to broaden their perspectives, grow through experiential learning, and gain the skills needed for success in today’s interconnected world.


Mr. Cole and Mrs. Walker will take students on a 12-day adventure to explore the beauty and wonder behind the unique species that call the Galapagos Islands home. On mainland Ecuador, students will experience the local culture through trips to capital city Quito, by visiting local communities in Riobamba, and will enjoy the natural beauty of the country through snorkeling and outdoor activities.


For full details, view the itinerary and pricing details here. Payment plans are available and students can even share the trip’s page with family and friends in order to receive gifts or donations toward their experience!

Contact Brian Cole at bcole@gwa.com or Femke Côté at fcote@gwa.com for more details!

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Spirit Wear Blowout Sale!

All spirit wear in the Dawg Shop is on sale at 40% off the original price. The discounted price for Dawgs 360 members is 50% off the original price. The sale runs through December 21 and quantities are limited.

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Art Pieces That Pop

Fifth grade students in Mrs. Carver's art class studied pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, and created some fun, interesting masterpieces! The students explored linear perspective, learned about triadic color harmony and had some fun with onomatopoeia while creating their own unique pop art works.
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Yearbook advisor Liz Jones has been super busy taking pictures this year. Here is a link to some of her photos. The password is gwadawgs2019. You may have to enter the password to get into the main folder and then again for each gallery. Feel free to download and share her pictures!


Also, don’t forget to buy a yearbook! Click here for a list of yearbook buyers. If your child’s name is not on this list, you have not yet purchased a yearbook (THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO SENIORS! Seniors each get a free book!). If you haven’t bought a book, you can order one here or send a check made out to GWA ($75 per book) to Liz Jones in the front office. Don’t forget to include your child’s name, grade and homeroom.


And if you have any questions regarding school photography, please contact our school photographer, Elena De La Rosa at elena@elenadelarosaphotography.com or give her a call at 770-861-5890.

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Lower school students will visit with Santa on December 5. Look for envelopes in your child’s bookbag on Wednesday or Thursday when we get back from break. Photos are optional. Your child will still get to see Santa if you don’t purchase pictures. However, you will get a 4x6 print for ONLY $5 or you will get a print package for $30. Look for the envelope and send it back with your payment NO LATER than December 4 if you would like to order pictures!

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Mindset Matters: Fixed or Growth?

Some people believe that intelligence is set or fixed at birth. They see this as an unchangeable fact and a limitation on their abilities and achievement. This way of thinking is known as a “fixed mindset.” People with a fixed mindset tend to give up easily, shy away from challenges, see mistakes as weaknesses, and respond defensively to critical feedback...Read More.

Calling All Career Day Volunteers!

The College Counseling Department at GWA is seeking professionals who are interested in speaking to students about their careers. If you are available to volunteer on March 15, 2019 from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. please contact Mr. Michael Clancy at mclancy@gwa.com. Our students can greatly benefit from your expertise, experience and knowledge- so please consider joining us!

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Today's In Focus is Proudly Sponsored by Haines Gipson & Associates

Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.