In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

March 22, 2018

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High School Student Reflects on Vietnam Intensive

by Lydia Akin


Before our school began the Vietnam War intensive, most students were unaware of the significance of the '60s. If asked to describe the 1960s, many would have mentioned dresses with bold patterns, tie-dyed t-shirts, peace signs and even the Beatles. Although this portrayal of that groovy decade is not untrue, it hardly represents the spirit that embodied the time. The 1960s were filled with Civil Rights Movements, scientific breakthroughs, controversial foreign affairs and radical new ideals that are still prevalent. During this study, we have transformed the science building into the jungles of Vietnam, witnessed the conflicting standpoints of the war and danced to the influential new tunes of the '60s. Most importantly, it has offered an incredible opportunity for students to learn from our nation’s heroes.


Within the last few months, the school has invited veterans into our classes. Everyone has had the honor of listening to the inspiring stories of these courageous men. Each veteran has a new perspective to offer the students and a different experience to share. I certainly cannot describe how much they have meant to me. They have sacrificed so much, but still thank us for simply listening to them. Not only did we get to hear about their experience, but we were also able to see pictures of their lifestyle. Various events including a helicopter landing on our football field brought their stories to life.


“I thought it was really cool to see them come visit us in the helicopter. It was really interesting to see what it was like in person,” said student Ben Howard. The impact of this intensive is immeasurable and varies according to each student. Although the “I Did It For You” program is officially coming to an end, it was a project that will stay with our school forever.

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Next year, Upper School students will have the opportunity to earn an elective credit by participating in GWA Intra-ships program. This is a new program that will allow students to explore areas of interest while contributing in meaningful ways to the life and mission of the school. Students may serve as peer tutors, work in the HUB (technology help desk), learn about marketing, design, and merchandising through the Dawg Shop, or explore the world of teaching by partnering with a faculty member in some of our youngest classrooms.



There is a finite number of slots available for the program. Any student interested in participating should send a letter of interest and resume to Vickie Rollins at vrollins@gwa.com. Students selected for the program should anticipate additional training before they assume their position. Students selected to work as a HUB tech or a peer tutor will also be eligible for $1,000 tuition relief for next year. (The tuition relief will be awarded in installments of $500 per semester. Students not completing the program will owe the prorating balance of tuition.)


Application deadline to be considered for the program is April 13, 2018.

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Thank You To Our Corporate Partners!

GWA is blessed to have almost 70 Corporate Partners! Click here to see our full list with links to their websites.


Information will be coming soon to sign up for the 2018-2019 year. If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor, contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or (678) 635-3812.

Uniform Updates

Beginning with 2018-2019 school year, GWA will require one of these logo options on dress code approved apparel. We have made an effort to narrow down the numerous versions of GWA logos over the past two years resulting in improved visual identity in the community and a cohesive appearance on campus.


A former uniform supplier, Parker School Uniforms, is no longer in business. The Dawg Shop, Lands’ End and S’Cool Stuff in Loganville will continue to offer GWA apparel. Please check out the Dawg Shop page on our website for a convenient direct link to the Lands’ End website as well as the list of dress code requirements. Please note that Lands’ End will now offer GWA plaid skirts and jumpers. S’Cool Stuff will continue to provide our plaid skorts and jumper. We ask all families to purchase dress code items (with the exception of shorts/pants) only from approved suppliers or through sports player packs. For further details on dress code requirements, please visit the Dawg Shop page at gwa.com.

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Spotlight on Gavel Club

Gavel Club has been a longstanding tradition at GWA which continually benefits its participants during their time in high school and beyond. Countless alumni have provided feedback over the years saying that this club helped them the most with preparation for college and for life. The club focuses on public speaking, giving students the opportunity to present speeches throughout the year in the presence of both their peers and their mentors.


When asked how she benefited for participation in gavel club, former Gavel Club president and current Georgia Tech freshman, Reese Howard commented, “Gavel Club was my favorite club at GWA. As a freshman, I listened to several outstanding speeches from upperclassmen. By the time I was a senior, I knew the elements to deliver a great speech. These public speaking skills have helped my verbal communication skills immensely. I speak publicly on a daily basis - from leading campus tours to giving presentations. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to actively participate in the GWA Gavel Club."


The club currently has 68 students as active members. This club is sponsored by parents and teachers. We are thankful for those who volunteer to make the club meetings go smoothly. Parent sponsors include Susan Sykes, Barbara Howard and Susan Zupko; teacher sponsors include Katie Crowell and Cortney Pickens.

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GWA Teacher Speaks at World Language Conference

Spanish teacher Ms. Angie McElveen recently attended the Southern Conference on Language Teaching. The conference consisted of programs and sessions for global language teachers. She had the opportunity to present a session entitled "Creating a Successful World Language Classroom" during the conference. She also was able to meet her idols Laura Lee and YB Smith who are both famous Spanish teacher bloggers who regularly create curriculum for language classes.

Life-Long Impacts

Motivational speaker Chris Sandy spoke candidly to our high school students about the life-long impact of a bad decisions when he shared his personal story about the night he drove drunk and killed an elderly couple. He discussed spending nearly nine years in prison, the effects on his family and the struggle to live with the consequences for the rest of his life.


He was joined by his friend and brother-in-law, Eric Krug, who suffered permanent injuries after riding in a car driven by an intoxicated friend. The two men travel across the country to warn teenagers about the real dangers of drunk driving, but they also provide a message of hope and inspiration encouraging students to never give up.

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Sixth Grade Student Makes Big Impact on Local Community

George Walton is especially proud of sixth grade student Kierstin Henderson! In honor of her birthday, Kierstin asked for stuffed animals to donate to the Walton County Sheriff's department. She hopes that the stuffed animals will be given to children that law enforcement may encounter who are sad or scared. We are proud to have such honorable young students at GWA.

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Majorettes Win State

Congratulations to the GWA middle school majorette team on placing first at State in the their division of the Georgia State National Baton Twirling Association this weekend. Competing were Catherine Atkinson, Reese Behnke, Morgan Green, Taylor Grossman, Blakeney Sewell and Payton Stone. Lower school student MaKayla Briscoe also competed and won third in state overall. Congratulations to all of the girls for a job well done!
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Be in the Know!

Stay current on school events in the classroom, on the field and wherever GWA Bulldogs travel by following us on Instagram @georgewaltonbulldogs and Twitter @georgewalton, or like us on Facebook by searching "George Walton Academy."
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GWA Students Win at GHSA State Literary Meet

Five members of the GWA literary team competed well in the GHSA State Literary Meet. Congratulations to our two state champions – Wallis Lucas in Girls Solo and Grayson Eady in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. In addition, Jeffrey Craven placed third in International Extemporaneous Speaking and Megan McGoldrick places fourth in Personal Essay. We are proud of all of our students who competed!

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GWA TSA Team Wins First State Championship

GWA Technology Student Association students competed at the Georgia State Leadership Conference Classic Center in Athens where Megan McGoldrick won state in Extemporaneous Speech. Megan's topic was how TSA prepared her for success in her future career and in life.


When asked to share some of the points made in her speech, Megan replied, "TSA helped introduce me to competitive events, allowed me to build connections with other like-minded individuals and taught me how to learn from past failures."


Over 200 schools were represented at the conference, and over 2,000 students attended the convention. GWA’s TSA continues to improve, and this year we celebrate our first state champion along with Sara Bryan and George Zupko finishing third in Challenging Technology Issues. All three winners have qualified for Nationals in Atlanta in June. Several other students placed in the top ten in various categories for both middle and high school.

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A Dog-Gone Good Day

The third grade class spent an afternoon at the Story Shop and Scoops Ice Cream Shop in downtown Monroe. The students recently finished the book “Because of Winn-Dixie”, a beautiful story of a young girl and her dog and the unique relationship that they develop.


At the Story Shop, the students were read three books about dogs who are trained to be service dogs, military service dogs and working dogs. Ashley Hill Pet Center also played a part in the day; they brought a French Bulldog and demonstrated how to train a dog and take good care of their pets.


At the end of the presentation, everyone went to Scoops to enjoy time together and to reflect on everything they had learned that day.


We would like to give a special thank you to Story Shop, Ashley Hills Pet Center and Scoops for assisting in making it such a wonderful day!

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Equestrian Team Top Ten in Zone Finals

Congratulations to the GWA equestrian team for placing in the top ten out of over 70 teams from all across the southeast. The team was the only scholastic team to qualify to compete at Zone Finals. A great time was had by all!

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We "Love" How the Tennis Team is Doing!

Congratulations to the varsity tennis team for beating Athens Christian 5-0! The girls are 6-3 for the season.
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Middle School Girl Soccer Celebrates Win Over Providence

Congratulations to the middle school girls soccer team for getting a big 3-0 win against Providence Christian Academy!

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Youth Cheer Registration Dates

If your daughter is a rising kindergarten through sixth-grade student, she is welcome to register for GWA Youth cheer! Registration is March 26-27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Nicholson Center concession area. If you have any questions, please contact Christie Briscoe at (770) 652-8904 or at gwacheerpups@gmail.com.

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Practice Makes Perfect!

Atlanta-based saxophonist Brandyn Taylor recently held two clinics on campus providing GWA musicians with helpful strategies and techniques for practicing. He also performed for our band students and the fifth and sixth grade students. Mr. Taylor is a member of the U.S. Army Band and Associate Saxophone Professor at Georgia State University
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This Alumna Likes to "Monkey" Around!

Jessica Johnson (’10) has spent the last four years working at Emory University’s Yerkes Primate Research Center as a Research Specialist. Jones was offered the position after interning in the lab the summer before her senior year of college at the University of Georgia, where she received a degree in animal science.


Johnson works with primates in the lab to better understand how psychosocial factors affect behavioral, metabolic and reproductive health in healthy, aging females.


One thing that surprised Johnson about her field of work is that while she always knew that she wanted work with animals, she believed that she would work in the field of veterinary medicine. However, while it was not exactly what she expected, she said, “I love what I do here and being a part of the biomedical research field.”


GWA is proud to have such accomplished young alumni like Johnson!

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GWA to Host High School Career Fair

In 2007, a “Shift Happens” video went viral after dropping this famous line: “The top ten in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t exist yet, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.”


In July of 2017, Dell Technologies said, “Eighty-five percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven't even been invented yet.” So, how does a career counselor best prepare students for jobs that very well may not exist yet?


On Mon., March 26, George Walton will hold a career fair for its upper school students from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. with the support of several volunteers who have agreed to give up their time to speak about their careers and a number of other topics such as “Behaviors that Will Make You a Valued Employee”, “Women in the Workplace Today,” and “You're the Boss - Tips for Starting and Running Your Own Business”.


The fair will begin with a keynote address given to the entire upper school. Dr. Carlos A. Ortiz, Ph.D, will be speaking on the topic “How Do We Measure Success? – Finding a Career You will Love”. Dr Ortiz has an impressive resume including a doctorate in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from Vanderbilt University and a professorship at Kennesaw State University.


To read more about the career fair, please click here.

March 24 - Atlanta College Application Mini-Camp

Workshops on preparing for college presented by several university reps on the Georgia State campus. Recommended for ninth-eleventh grade students and families. Register.


March 25 - NACAC University Fair

Close to 200 colleges will be in attendance at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling University Fair. Learn more and register.


May 22 - Colleges That Change Lives Fair

CTCL is a group of small, liberal arts, primarily undergraduate, teaching colleges that are regionally well known and have graduate school placement rates better than most Ivy League schools.

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Parking For Grandparents Day

Additional handicap parking is available next to the Nicholson Center. Golf cart shuttles will be picking up those who may need additional assistance. Please do not park across the street in the business complex.

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