In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 21, 2017

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National Honor Society Sponsor Rachel Jackson Discusses New Peer Tutoring Program

The National Honor Society and Beta Club are ready “plug in” and give back to our George Walton community! In past years, the service projects of the National Honor Society have been at a national or international level. I am very enthusiastic to bring a major service component of the National Honor Society to our campus.


A peer tutoring program has been in the making since last school year, and I am thankful to Dr. Dolan for providing me with the opportunity to bring this program to life on the GWA campus. Beta Club sponsor Jennifer Stapp and I are actively involving the National Honor Society and Beta Club to reach out to potential tutors looking for a way to help their peers become more successful. The center is available to provide academic assistance to any students in grades 9-12. Our goal is to help students become independent learners and feel supported and successful in their learning environment.


In my research, I have found that similar programs have been very successful in other schools. Some benefits from a peer tutoring program include higher academic achievement, improved peer relationships and social development, personal growth for both the tutor and the tutee, and increased motivation in the classroom. I hope to see some of these benefits with the students involved in our program in either position.


We are very excited to officially open the Peer Tutoring Center on September 26. Tutoring services will be provided Tuesdays and Thursdays before school from 7:45 a.m. – 8:10 a.m., and after school from 3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. in my classroom (HS 102).

Students can sign up to become a tutor or to receive academic support using QR codes around campus. New tutors participating in the program will receive an online handbook and a training session on becoming a successful tutor.


As an extension of the Peer Tutoring Center, we are also offering services in the aftercare program for elementary students on Tuesdays and Thursdays to those who request it. Parents or students in the aftercare program can either inform their aftercare teachers or contact me directly at rjackson@gwa.com to express interest in having our high school tutors visit aftercare.


This tutoring program represents the beginning steps as we move toward a permanent Learning Center for our students. We look forward to collecting data from the participants in both the tutor and tutee roles to evaluate the success of and grow our program!


Thank you for all you do in support of George Walton Academy!

Rachel Jackson

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National Merit Scholarship Commended Students

Wallis Lucas and Danielle Murphy have been named Commended Students in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program. As Commended Students, they placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2018 competition by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.


Danielle and Wallis embody the school’s mission of striving for excellence in all areas as their dedication, enthusiasm and insight have inspired others. These two seniors have demonstrated their outstanding potential for academic success while at GWA and will continue to be successful as they pursue their best in college. We are so very proud of them!

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Grayson Eady is Rotary Student of the Month for September

Senior Grayson Eady has been selected as GWA’s Rotary Student of the Month for September.


Grayson has been recognized as an AP Scholar and is a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club. Grayson plans on attending Georgia Tech next fall and would like to study Electrical and Aerospace Engineering.


Grayson selected Mr. Peter VanWyk as the September Teacher of the Month. Congratulations Grayson and Mr. VanWyk.

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Juniors Attend College 101

On Tuesday, September 19, Mr. Michael Clancy, Director of College Counseling made a presentation to juniors and their parents titled “College 101." He covered topics on what students should be doing during their junior year to discover the universities they should apply to in their senior year.


After a brief introduction about his experience working with both U.S. and non-U.S. citizens living in China, Indonesia, Uganda, Myanmar and Bolivia; Mr. Clancy broke the process down into four parts. He explained it starts with knowing oneself and what one wants to do after graduation. He spoke about the ways GWA supports students in this endeavor through the use of YouScience and Humanmetrics, which are aptitude and personality tests meant to guide students in selecting careers. He also emphasized for juniors the importance of finding university programs and college majors that would be a “good fit.”


"Good Fit was the theme of the presentation," said Mr. Clancy. "Students should select universities where they would 'thrive not just survive.' ”


Mr. Clancy went on to show the audience websites, like GA Futures and Big Future, where students can search for colleges based on certain criteria such as program offerings, size of university, region, size of the college’s town, selectivity and other criteria. Another way for students to find colleges that are a good fit is to attend the presentations when colleges visit GWA.


“Don’t just visit colleges you have heard of, tour the one’s you haven’t heard of. I know many students who have visited and loved universities they had not heard of at the start of their junior year,” Mr. Clancy explained. He went on to say, “To encourage more colleges to visit GWA, students should take time to meet with those who come here. The college and university reps talk to each other. They will ask each other: ‘I’m going to be in Walton County, which schools should I visit?’ I want them to hear: ‘I had a great turnout at GWA.’ "


Mr. Clancy went on to emphasize the importance of taking standardized tests in one’s junior year and shared some websites that students could complete a profile that would then match them with scholarships. Many of these scholarships are available to students in their junior year of high school.


A paired-down version of "College 101" will be presented on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 12:15 p.m. for those who missed Tuesday’s event. Juniors or parents of juniors need to RSVP with Mr. Clancy at mclancy@gwa.com. His next evening presentation will be for freshmen and their parents and is scheduled for October 24 at 7 p.m. in the Cafeteria.

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Twenty Questions at Break

What started out as a small group of young men who met in Mr. John Welsch's class for an impromptu bible study several years ago has grown into a larger group of young men and women who stop by weekly for Bible study during their break. Recently 26 students were involved in a game of 20 questions where they had bible characters put on the front of a crown that they wore. They had to ask questions of classmates and friends to try to determine their Bible identity.
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Making a Joyful Noise

Piano instructor Corrie Beth Noll is excited to be starting up piano lessons this week, which includes our first ever group piano classes.
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Partnership With Monroe Downtown

On Saturday GWA students and faulty members participated in the opening ceremonies of the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit in Monroe.The Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Museum on Main Street Program, selected 12 communities across the state Members of the symphonic winds brass and percussion group played music while visitors arrived. Athletic Director Mark Whitley was one of the guest speakers. Chorus teacher Ammie Bruce directed the Walton Proud Honor Chorus which is comprised of GWA and other area school choir members to sing the National Anthem.


Over 48 years of GWA athletic history are included in the display. The exhibit will be open until October 28. Click HERE for more information on the exhibit.

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Pre-Registration for Dawgs Unleashed Extended

Pre-registration for Dawgs Unleashed 5K and Fun Run has been extended to September 27.

Click HERE to download a race form.


Golf Tournament - Monday, Oct. 16

We are filling up fast, but have room for a few more teams or players. Click HERE to access a registration form.


Tennis Tournament - Tuesday, Oct. 17

We still have several tennis slots open. Click HERE to access a registration form.


We still have openings for sponsors! Click HERE for a full listing of available sponsorship. Our cutoff for sponsors is September 27.


Volunteers are needed for the golf tournament, 5K and fun run. Volunteers receive a free event T-shirt. Email Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com to sign up.

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Learning How to be Better Friends

On Monday lower school students attended their first character assembly on friendship. Miss Sara Smith, our Bible teacher, along with fourth and fifth grade students, presented skits showing how to be a better friend. The first skit was about two boys having an argument and then taking responsibility for their actions. The second skit covered the importance of being inclusive when one student feels left out. The final skit encouraged students not to engage in gossip. One character assembly will be held each quarter.


"We try to present these assemblies so that students from K4 to the oldest in the room can take something away from the topic," said Lower School Principal Kevin Cloud.

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Middle and High School Tackle Science Labs

Middle and high school students were busy this week running labs. Students in Dr. Collin Dibble's 9th grade Honors Biology class were assigned to investigation teams where they were tasked to design their own cells and carve models from gel cubes. Students learned how the ratio of volume to surface area plays a role in the diffusion of nutrients into cells. The team with the fastest diffusion time won the “diffusion race.”


Middle school students in Dr. Debra Cook's science class took the mixture separation challenge where students were given 20 grams of assorted plastic beads and instructed to separate them. Using their new-found knowledge of separating items according to their density; first they added the beads to water and the first beads floated to the top and were scooped off. Next they added salt to change the density of the water, causing the next color bead to float to the top. After scooping these off, they added additional salt and the next set of beads came to the top. The final beads stayed at the bottom and were strained off. They learned it is much easier to use science to help sort a large amount of material rather than sort one by one.

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TSA Officers Acquire New Skills

Last weekend the GWA Technology Student Association officers attended CORE, a camp focused on building leadership skills and creating a strong bond for the club’s members. The camp is hosted by the Georgia TSA, and includes interactive informational sessions with the Georgia TSA state officers, and chapters from other schools. CORE also teaches campers other activities and fundraising techniques that the chapters can take back to their school. Held in the North Georgia mountains, CORE does not confine campers indoors. Along with informational sessions, the students were also able to participate in climbing, swimming, and ropes courses. The team building ropes course allowed chapter officers to build a strong relationship through problem solving and teamwork. Through CORE, the GWA TSA has built a stronger foundation for the school’s chapter. The officers who attended CORE were Megan McGoldrick (President), Grayson Eady (Vice President), Wallis Lucas (Secretary), Natalia Chapar (Treasurer), and Libby Lee McDaniel (Reporter).

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Learning How to Research

Students in forth grade have been learning how to use reference materials, specifically the encyclopedia. This is an add-on to a previous lesson hosted by the lower school media center where students learned about the five main reference materials (atlases, almanacs, thesauruses, dictionaries, and encyclopedias) and their uses.


Students are given a card with a fun fact about a topic and then asked to find a fact from the encyclopedia. They have to determine the main idea from the question in order to know which encyclopedia to use. Next, they have to look up the topic (reinforcing guide-words and alphabetical order) and find the answer. Once they think they have the answer, they check it using a QR code reader.


Students have also been discussing how these books are quickly becoming obsolete due to the wide-spread use of the internet and online encyclopedias and databases.


"The students love the hands on activity," said lower school media specialist Rebecca Ratliff. "We do many hands on activities throughout the year with the curriculum that we have followed in the lower school library. This helps students become independent users and learners in and out of the library. "

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Bulldogs Off to a Great Season

It has been a busy week last week for all fall sports as softball and volleyball are wrapping up their seasons. The middle school teams in both of these programs are doing extremely well. The middle school softball team is still undefeated. Our cross country teams hosted their first home meet this past Tuesday against South Gwinnett, with both boys and girls winning their division. Football was idle last week as they gear up for Prince Avenue this week in Bogart. We are 3-0 at the moment as we prepare for a long run of tough opponents that will determine the region championship and seeding for the tournament.


GWA is honored to host both the softball and volleyball region/area tournaments the first week in October. Be on the lookout for those schedules and come out to support our girls in their efforts to make it to the state play-offs.

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It's a White Out!

Friday night's varsity football game at Prince Avenue is a white out! Long sleeve white t-shirts are on sale now in the Dawg Shop for $20 in youth and adult sizes. Come out to support your Bulldogs and let's fill the visitor's side with a sea of white shirts! Kick off is at 7:30 p.m.
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Fall Choir Concert

Fifth through 12th grade choirs will be performing their fall concert next Tuesday, Sept. 26 at First Baptist Church Monroe at 7 p.m. Fifth grade Showstoppers, sixth and seventh grade Choristers, sixth and eighth grade Meistersingers, along with the High School Chorale are excited to show you what they have learned so far for the 2017-2018 school year in this wonderful concert. Admission is free.

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ParentsWeb (RenWeb) Got You Confused?

Not sure how to check your child's grades, assignments, change your family information or access school news? Sign up for one of our ParentsWeb classes for parents. There is one morning and one evening session to choose from: Wednesday, Sept. 27 starting at 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m. and Thursday, Oct. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the auditorium. Click HERE to sign up.

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