In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 27, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Peru Informational Meeting: Tonight @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Re-enrollment Contracts Due: Monday, March 2
  • K3-K5 Spring Musical: March 5
  • Young Persons' Concert: March 5
  • Career Day: March 13
  • Prom: March 20 (No school grades 10-12)
  • Grandparents Day: March 20
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Early Learning

If you were to spend the day with our youngest bulldogs, you would leave feeling exhausted but smarter!


The Pre-K3 class is full of hard workers who are already more than 100 days smarter. Not only can they spell, write and recognize their own first names, they can also respectfully recite The Pledge of Allegiance. Using the calendar, they count and recognize numbers. They also use numbers during their technology time when they learn how to code.


Learning in Pre-K3 looks like playing and using manners when talking to each other. It looks like students surrounded by books and finding objects that start with the sound a letter makes. Learning also looks like following directions and packing and unpacking a backpack independently. A favorite for all is show-and-tell and the questions they ask each other about the special objects they brought from home. It’s rarely quiet in Pre-K3 when they are working on nursery rhymes or singing songs or having a dance party. One thing that you will always see is joy on their faces because they want to be there every single day.


Jenny Duke

Director of Curriculum, Lower School

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Working Together To Go Beyond


Last spring, the Board of Trustees initiated a feasibility study to determine next steps in fulfilling our mission of providing challenging instruction, engaging experiences, and global perspectives designed to inspire lives of intellectual curiosity, integrity, and purpose. It quickly became evident that a capital campaign was necessary to keep our physical plant aligned with our strategic initiatives. The campaign was led by a dedicated and tireless team of volunteers, who deserve our recognition and gratitude for a job well done.


Go Beyond Steering Committee

Co-Chairs James & Kellee Hammond

Co-Chairs Aubrey & Marianne Akin

Lee & Kelly Waldo

Nathan Purvis

Roy Roberts, Jr.

Justin & Mikelle Brady

Loy Turner

Meredith Malcom

Heather Knapp

Kelly Jesel

Wes Bond


Thank You To those That Helped GWA Go Beyond

This campaign was successful not only in the dollars raised, but also in the broad level of support realized by our GWA families and friends. We want to thank all who gave, regardless of the amount, to help the Go Beyond Campaign. We not only met our initial goal, but we exceeded the “stretch” goal! Each gift is an investment into our students.


There was also another group of parents that we would like to recognize and thank for their help during the public phase of the campaign: Darlene Miller, Courtney Croker, Phil Lanier, Jason & Andrea Hill, Jill Harkins, Doug Root, Susan Wood, Janet Byers, David Boyle, Russel & Bonny Moore, and Jay Mashburn.


Thanks to all. Your investment in our future will pay dividends for GWA students for generations to come!

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Come to our informational meeting to learn more about this incredible Global Studies opportunity TONIGHT at 6:30 p.m. in The Commons. Please RSVP to Jessie Croft at jcroft@gwa.com.

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Celebrating Black History Month

During their social studies classes, sixth-eighth grade middle school students heard from Mr. Brandon Hardison, former GWA grandparent and member of the Jim Ellis Automotive Group. Mr. Hardison has visited GWA each of the past five years during the month of February to speak to the students about a specific prolific figure for Black History Month.


This year, Mr. Hardison spoke about Vonetta Flowers, an aspiring track and field athlete during the early 2000’s. While Ms. Flowers never qualified for the Olympics in Track and Field, she was able to persevere and achieve her lifelong dream of representing the United States in the Olympics on the gold-medal winning bobsled team. She is the first African-American (male or female) from any country to win a gold medal in the Winter Olympics. Mr. Hardison used Vonetta Flowers' story of perseverance to encourage students to dream big and work hard towards achieving these goals.

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New News

The GWA Broadcast Team has been learning how to run a more student-led newscast this semester and how to do a professional interview. The news has a new format as well! There will be a shorter daily newscast with announcements called "Hey GWA," and then a longer episode for a weekly newscast called "Dawg Dayz." Scan the QR code to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel where all news related content will be posted. Be sure to check it out!
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Dental Hygiene 101

Our K4 and K5 classes enjoyed a lesson on dental hygiene this week thanks to a visit from Walton Dental Care and hygienists Heather Martin and Jill Broach. They demonstrated the proper way to brush and floss and answered questions from an inquisitive group of students!
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The Power of Kindness

Upper and middle school students were uplifted by the message shared by speaker, Maria Anifowose, during Wednesday's flex block. She is from Nigeria, but currently attends UNG-Oconee and lives here with her host family – her host mom is GWA alumna April Whirley Farlow (’98). Maria’s inspiring story takes her from a life of poverty in her home country to now living her dream of going to college in the Unites States. She explained, “Every test you go through, prepares you for a testimony.” She spoke about her way of life in Nigeria, how she is adapting to our culture and how much she enjoys our traditions. Maria sang “Amazing Grace” as well as gospel song, “No Longer Slaves” and shared a message of kindness and faith – telling her audience, “Everything is possible and love can change the world.”
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A Bounty of Books

Three of GWA's student-led clubs, Interact, Beta and National Honor Society partnered with the Athens-based nonprofit Books for Keeps and held "For the Love of Books" book drive to collect books for students in Athens-Clarke county. Many of these children have little or no access to books during the summer months when school is not in session.


The idea for the project came from junior Claire McNulty and was spearheaded by her efforts. The clubs had school-wide participation and students came through with over 1000 books donated! The drive was seamless due to the hard work and communication of the clubs.


If you and/or your child participated, thank you!

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Washington D.C. Bound

Five GWA students (Cassie Culver, Noah Hicks, Keith Mims, Timothy Pham, & Austin Silverberg) competed as a team in a regional History Quiz Bowl Competition at Calhoun High School on February 22, 2020. They earned a 3-2 record, advanced to the playoffs, and finished fifth place overall, qualifying them to compete in nationals in Washington, D.C. this April. Cassie Culver also participated in the individual bee portion of the competition. In fact, she won first place in the JV division, qualifying her to compete at the individual level in nationals as well.

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Dancing the Night Away

Middle schoolers had the chance to “Just Dance the Night Away” this past weekend. Students came dressed in their brightest neon and white and wore glow sticks. They danced along to “Just Dance” videos projected on the Nicholson Center wall and music was provided by high school freshman DJ George Zupko.

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Oops- we inadvertently left this Carmichael's ad out of our recent Partners Promo.
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Dawg Shop Sale

Stop by the Dawg Shop for special pricing on select spirit wear - including $3 graffiti tees and 20% off on the Folds of Honor t-shirt. Also, the shop is a placing a special order on a black hoodie, perfect for chilly spring mornings. Please complete the order FORM and return to the Dawg Shop by March 5. The shop is open M - F, 7:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. To contact an associate, call 678-635-3826 or email dawgshop@gwa.com.
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My Take-Aways

By Lynn Robinson, Director of School Counseling


Last week, GWA hosted an informational program on Vaping and Juuling. Dr. Brian Dew, Chairperson of the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Georgia State University, helped us better understand the vaping/Juuling trend. In my opinion, here are the four facts that stood out:


1. Atlanta is a primary distribution hub for all four major drug categories (methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and cocaine). In other words, we live close to a drug hub.


2. Forty-two percent of people who are consuming alcohol at the age of twenty will begin to drink alcohol by the age of thirteen. A thirteen-year old can be in the seventh grade but is more likely to be in the eighth grade.


3. Substance (drug) use impacts families of all socioeconomic groups.


4. Because drug dealers need to create new markets for their product, they see adolescents as potential customers. They market their product with the adolescent in mind.

Now more than ever, we need to talk to our students, and we need to talk to them as soon as possible.

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GWA Hosts Relay for Life

We invite our entire community to get involved with Relay for Life: volunteer, donate, honor a loved one affected by cancer and help raise awareness and funds to fight cancer. To be part of this life-changing event, please contact Director of Dawgs 360 Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com. Click HERE to access team registration.


Survivor Dinner:

GWA is partnering with First Baptist to host this special dinner on Friday, April 17. If you are a cancer survivor and/or know someone who is please fill out the FORM by April 1 to receive an invitation to dinner.


Dedicate a Luminaria:

Light up your community and honor every life touched by cancer. Dedicate a luminaria to a loved one lost, someone currently battling, or anyone who has overcome cancer. Dawgs 360 is selling luminaria bags with all proceeds going to American Cancer at the price of two for $10.00. If you are interested contact Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com for more information. If you would like a student from our art department to decorate your bag for you, please let her know. Please click HERE for the order form.

Volunteer:

We are in need of 100 volunteers in different areas, from unloading to loading tents, traffic marshalls, joining GWA Relay Team, helping at the survivor dinner, as well as providing and driving golf carts! If you are interested, please email emcdonel@gwa.com.

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Tickets For Sale

Stop by the Dawgs 360 house to purchase tickets for the upcoming Daddy Daughter Dance, sponsored by the Monroe Rotary Club.
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Creating Awareness

By Steve Reagan, Art Teacher


Our two Art 1 classes have recently completed an assignment in which they were assigned the task of creating artwork, which would raise awareness for a social problem in our society both at home and abroad. Each student was given time to research a cause they felt was of personal interest and concern. The art was created with Prisma pencil and paper. Once the art had been created, the students came up with a headline that would capture the eye of the viewer to draw them into the copy, further informing them of the cause. The art was photographed digitally, brought into Photoshop and combined with copy. The students were challenged to select a typeface that would enhance their posters. Once completed they were printed and displayed.


As an educator, projects of this nature truly inform me and raise my awareness of social issues which I have little or no knowledge exist. It gives me hope for the future when I see students able to articulate their concerns visually and have compassion for others.

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GWA Golf Tees Up

By Amanda Riser, Athletic Coordinator


GWA golf team is getting ready to slice the competition with a full week of matches. The rain may have dampened the course for practice, but it sure hasn’t clouded their spirits. We are proud to announce that we have the most participants ever in our golf program this year with 32 total athletes participating. This can be attributed to Coach Reynolds' passion and dedication.


I had the chance to sit down with him for a few moments and ask some questions. I was impressed by how much he enjoys all his players and believes that they are learning a skill they can have for a lifetime.


When a non-golfer like myself thinks of golf, it looks easy. Just pick up a metal stick, hit a small target through the air, trying to get it as close to a hole in the ground as possible. My mindset has been since changed. The competitor in me has never thought about golf in the same light. Coach Reynolds described the goal in golf to be about family, friends, skill and “beating the course” not just the other team. Intrigued, I asked what makes someone good at golf? He admitted it takes countless hours of practicing the correct way to hold the club, perfecting the swing, thinking about the wind direction and speed and practicing any chance you can.


After learning more about golf, I have a greater appreciation for the sport, the athletes and Coach Reynolds. Coach said it best when he said, “Golf is a sport that someone can do at any age and still have a potential of getting better. Unlike competing in other sports where there will come a time that “you will never be as good as you once were.”


If you see one of our golfers, please wish them good luck in their matches!

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Game, Set and Match!

The GWA varsity tennis teams are off to a great start! Both teams defeated Bethlehem Christian on Tuesday. The girls won 5-0 and the boys finished with a final of 4-1. Last night, the boys team beat Riverside Military 4-1 in a Region match! Congrats, Bulldogs!
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Soccer Sweep

Our varsity soccer teams swept Athens Christian on Tuesday night! Both games end with a shutout - girls beat the Eagles 9-0 and the boys win with a final of 3-0! Way to go, Bulldogs!
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Youth Cheer Information

There will be a youth cheer uniform drop off March 17 and March 19 from 2:30-3:15 p.m. in the Nicholson Center concession area for used youth cheer uniforms. Parents can bring their used uniforms that are too small for their daughter or that they simply don't want anymore to Michelle Bowen during car pool on these dates. They need to be in a bag that is labeled with their name and contact. We will sell them at registration on 3/23 and 3/26 for $45. Money will be collected at registration and given to the seller.


Youth cheer sign ups will be March 23 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the cafeteria and March 26 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. Registration for youth cheer will be $75. Checks can be made out to GWA.

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Be in the Know!

GWA spring sports are in full swing! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events. Go Bulldogs!

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Have You Taken the Survey?

GWA Alumni - we want to hear from you! We are currently gathering alumni information for our upcoming Bulldog Magazine and we are looking forward to publishing a comprehensive “Alumni Roll Call.” Please complete the short survey HERE and let us know what’s new in your life! We hope to gather more great information on our alumni than ever before. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @georgewaltonalumni and join our George Walton alumni facebook group. The survey will be active through Feb. 28. Anyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card!

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Conner Grading & Landscaping . Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.

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