In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

May 20, 2021

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • End of the Year Parties: May 21
  • Baccalaureate: May 21 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Graduation: May 22 @ 9 a.m.
  • Jr. Class Pick Your Parking Spot: May 24
  • Exam Week Grades 8-11: May 24-28 (check details below)
  • New Parent Dinners: May 25 & 27
  • Rising Senior Parent Meeting: May 26
  • K5 Graduation: May 27 @ 7 p.m.
  • 5th Grade Graduation; May 28 @ 9 a.m.
  • Last Day of School: May 28 - early dismissal
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Don’t miss a minute of upcoming GWA graduation ceremonies! We will provide a livestream video of all upcoming events for those unable to attend in person. See links below. The Class of 2021 Baccalaureate and Commencement will be streamed via our YouTube channel – Dawg News Network and K5 and 5th grade graduations will be streamed on the NFHS Network. Additionally, recorded video of each event will be available for purchase at or scan the QR code at the event to order your copy.

Baccalaureate – Friday, May 21 @ 6:30 p.m.

Commencement – Saturday, May 22 @ 9 a.m.

K5 Graduation – Thursday, May 27 @ 7 p.m.

5th Grade Graduation – Friday, may 28 @ 9 a.m.

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Silver Linings

Today’s yearbook presentation was a clear reflection of the school year, the optimism of our community and the hard work and dedication of the entire yearbook staff. Senior co-editors Josie Evans and Natalie Lucas explain the inspiration for their marvelous book –

“As we all know, this unprecedented year set forth challenges that no one ever expected. We have all had to adapt and alter not only some minor details, but our entire lives. Our theme was carefully selected, and throughout all of the craziness, one thing stuck out to us. We wanted our book to represent positivity. The light amidst all the darkness. The calm in the middle of a chaotic year. This yearbook represents not only the class of 2021, but George Walton Academy as a whole. We overcame the difficult times, took it day by day, and readjusted to a new normal. And because of all these things, we found something even more important. The Silver Linings. When we came across this theme, we knew it embodied our school and our approach. Throughout the year, we had a positive outlook no matter the circumstance - GWA has remained optimistic. We needed something reliable and present in the middle of chaos and we found it. We found our silver linings.”

We are grateful for the opportunities we have enjoyed throughout the school year and we celebrate Bulldog traditions, achievements, engagement, and everyday Bulldog life. Here’s to a year we will never forget!

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Val and Sal Announced

George Walton Academy is pleased to announce our Class of 2021 valedictorian Claire McNulty and salutatorian Joe Brown. Both Claire and Joe will attend Georgia Tech in the fall. Congratulations to these fine scholars!
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Senior Banquet – A New Tradition

The Senior Banquet took place in the Nicholson Center on Tuesday evening to honor, celebrate, and recognize the GWA’s Class of 2021 achievements. Soon to be graduates and parents fellowshipped together over a meal before the program began.

The senior members of the band played a smooth jazz version of “Georgia” to set the evening’s mood. It reminded students of when the song was played at the end of football games and marked the end of high school for these students.

It was a sweet moment to have GWA Alumni Laura Beth Caudell (’04) present a scholarship from the Monroe Junior Service League to Abbey Sheppard. She recounted that some of her favorite memories took place in that very gym. At the conclusion of the evening, over $32,000 in scholarships were awarded to individuals from the senior class by 18 different local businesses and organizations. Additional recognitions included:

· 37 seniors have attended GWA since K4, K5, or 1st grade and were presented with a silver honor cord.

· 61 seniors will graduate with honors (90+ high school cumulative average), receiving a red and black honor cord.

· Four seniors were recognized for being finalists in the Governor’s Honors Program with blue, silver, and black cords.

· Colin Fennell earned an honor cord of gold, black, and white, as GWA’s first Honors Inquiry Program graduate, a new opportunity for students to master the foundations needed to become critical thinkers and proficient researchers.

The president of the senior class, DoriLord McCullers, took the podium to thank all those who played a role since her journey began at GWA 14 years ago. Russel Moore performed an original poem that encouraged seniors to take the leap as masters of the future and pupils of the past.

The grand finale of the night was a video created by GWA senior mom, Stephanie Calabrese, which highlighted senior class moments throughout the year including the traditions of painting the senior parking spots, meeting their first graders, homecoming, Christmas tree presentation, Paint Your Path, field day and prom.

The 2021 Senior Banquet was a beautiful time together and a tremendous way to kick off this week's events of baccalaureate and graduation. Congratulations, seniors!

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Exam Week

Click HERE for complete details. Please note - all 6th and 7th graders will be dismissed at 12:20 p.m. each day during exam week.
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In the Books!

Our 2021 yearbook presentation is in the books! The stunning design features pages with silver gilded edges that pay homage to the book’s title “Silver Linings” and the inspired ideas of the yearbook staff. The book is proudly dedicated to upper school teacher and softball coach Katherine Meeks.

With an opportunity to bring the entire student body together - we enjoyed a little Christmas in May as part of the celebration with a full (very loud and enthusiastic) rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" - something we were not able to enjoy at the 2020 Christmas Tree Presentation. Additionally, Ms. Pickens was presented with her framed edition of the 2020 yearbook which was dedicated to her virtually last May.

Congratulations to yearbook adviser Liz Jones and her hardworking staff -


Josie Evans and Natalie Lucas

Senior Design Co-Editors:

Rebecca Trifu and Jesse Wood

Senior Editorial Staff:

Natalie Dally, Claire Harrison, Julia Waldo

Staff: Kilissa Gasaway, Madison Marable, Rhiannon Williams, Della Couch, Aryn Gravitt, Leslie Lanthier, Kierstin Henderson, Charlie Jesel.

Click HERE to view the end of the year video. Enjoy!

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Congratulations to our 2021 graduates! The GWA Counseling Department wishes you all the best on your future endeavors. Read below for a bit of trivia and parting wisdom from each of us:

Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling

College / Area of Study:

University of Georgia / Psychology & Child and Family Development

Favorite College Club/Activity:

Rec Sports Official & Tasha's Troops (Women's Basketball Fan Club)

Favorite Campus Spot: Stegeman Coliseum

Favorite Dining Hall Food: O-House Brunch

Words of Wisdom: Network! Intern! Research! Connect with a wide variety of people and get real life experience in your fields of interest. A combination of who you know and what you know can open many doors.

Jon Terrell, Director of College Counseling

College / Area of Study:

Berry College / Bachelor of Arts in Communication

Favorite College Club/Activity:

Any intramural sport and the Student Activities Board

Favorite Campus Spot: The girls dorms

Favorite Dining Hall Food: Pizza, chicken fingers

Words of Wisdom: Work hard your freshman year, start off with a good GPA foundation. Enjoy it while you can, it flies by.

Carolyn Phillips, Administrative Assistant

College / Area of Study:

Bryant University/Bachelor of Science

Favorite College Club/Activity:

Intramural tennis and attending every basketball game

Favorite Campus Spot: Hanging out at the pond

Favorite Dining Hall Food: Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Words of Wisdom: Embrace the total college experience, step outside of your comfort zone and get involved; find a good balance between studies and social life.

Lynn Robinson, Director of School Counseling

College / Area of Study:

B.S. Georgia College / Middle School Education &

M.S. West Georgia / Middle Childhood Education

Favorite Campus Spot: The Front Lawn -it’s so beautiful,

especially in the spring and the fall

Favorite Dining Hall Food: Omelettes

Words of Wisdom: “Be still, and know that I am God.” -Psalm 46

Lindsey Bailey, Lower School Counselor

College / Area of Study:

University of Georgia / Biological Sciences & School Counseling

Favorite College Club/Activity:

Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) - I met my best friend there!

Favorite Campus Spot: The lobby of the Boyd Graduate Studies Building

Favorite Dining Hall Food: Omelette station and ECV smoothies

Words of Wisdom: 1. Take advantage of extra credit, free tutoring, and help sessions. 2. Avoid credit cards and stick to a budget. 3. Get out of your comfort zone and try something new. This is the safest time in your life to take risks, but be smart and use common sense.

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On Track

GWA Track and Field wrapped up a successful season – hosting six events at home including the last meet with 471 athletes competing. Eight GWA athletes competed in the GHSA State meet (two boys in three events and six girls in two events). Catherine Atkinson made it onto the awards stand with a 2nd place finish in the high jump. David Lalaian placed as well in the discus with a season's best throw and a 4th place finish. Coach Whitley and his staff are very proud of all of their efforts and look forward to building for next year and a repaired and refurbished track surface will be a great asset for the team as well. Go Bulldogs!

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That's a Wrap!

Spring football has come to a close with the middle schoolers having a 7 on 7 night last Friday night and the varsity finishing last night with their squad scrimmage. Super Dave cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for both occasions and a great time was had by all. Energy is growing as we look forward to the summer workouts hoping to get bigger, faster and stronger!

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A Brand New Dance

Mrs. Rawlins’ fourth grade class learned about “tinikling”, the national folk dance of the Philippines, in Mrs. Dyer’s music class on Wednesday. Tinikling is a dance in which two people beat, tap, and slide long bamboo poles apart and together in rhythm as one or more dancers step over and in between the poles. It is reportedly named after the “tikling” bird (similarly spelled). The dance replicates the bird’s movements as it steps over high grass or avoids bamboo traps set by farmers in the Philippines.

The students first practice the “dip step” and “basic step” with the poles in the stationary position, and then with the poles moving in rhythm. Tinikling is fun, but not as easy as it looks!

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If you are a middle or high school student who has performed exceptionally this year and would like to share your musical talents with a larger crowd, consider joining us for our Concert in the Courtyard on May 25 and May 27. Contact Mrs. Noll at for more information.

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Thank YOU!

Thank you to the parents, grandparents, alumni and friends who have made their contribution this year to the 2020-2021 Annual Loyalty Fund Campaign. Your investment has helped make possible:

  • Professional development
  • Increased STEM offerings
  • Exceptional fine and performing arts programs
  • Robotics
  • Technology support such as audio-visual equipment, Chrome Books, and iPads
  • Academic coaching through The PARC, Writing Center, and Math Lab
  • Strong counseling department
  • Expanded curriculum
  • Digital subscriptions such as See Saw, Razz Kids
  • Athletic equipment and competition space
  • Buses and drivers
  • Attractive facilities and grounds
  • Clinic staff and supplies
  • Campus security

If you haven’t made your gift yet, it isn’t too late! Deadline for the 2021-2022 Annual Loyalty Fund is June 30, 2021. Click HERE if you would like to make a gift online.

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Sign Up for Summer Camps!

We are thrilled to offer summer camps for kids of all ages and all interests! Our summer camps are open to the community, so bring a friend and spread the word about summer fun at GWA.

Please see camp listings below and click HERE for complete camp descriptions and the registration links. Happy camping!

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