In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

April 30, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

May 4 - 8: Faculty & Staff Appreciation Week

May 8: GWA Spirit Day

May 8: Senior Class Last Day of School

May 15: Last Day of School

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Are You Ready?

Today, as we focus on the world around us and we see everyone trying to adjust to a “new normal,” what exactly are you laser focused on? I am speaking, primarily, to our athletes in an encouraging sense to help you stay focused for what is coming. I am also addressing our seniors who are about to head into a brand-new world. After reading a recent devotion by Jon Gordon, here is my challenge to you.


What are you doing to prepare for your future? How are you investing your time? You cannot get it back, you know? If you are not focused on your outcome, the world will consume you. Look around, turn on the news, read your social media feed and you will find five enemies lurking to steal your joy. They are doubt, distortion, discouragement, distraction, and division. Do you have a plan to fight these? You need a game plan and here it is!


1. Trust in your game plan. The world always wants to plant seeds of doubt in your mind and try to convince you that you are not enough. You are! Believe it and achieve it.


2. Speak the truth to the lies being told to you by the world. Don’t let all the noise drown out what is good and right.


3. Encourage and you will be encouraged. You are not alone in this fight. Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we will reap, if we do not lose heart. (Gal. 6:9) Don’t quit!


4. Focus on what really matters. Don’t lose sight of the things that really matter. Stay the course and make good investments. I really think this “break” has made us all stop and adjust our priorities.


5. Love. Love one another. Love yourself. Do not be anxious. You must unite with others and not be divided. Love endures all.


Lastly, I encourage you all to focus on your personal game plan. Work on the five things listed above to help find that last “D.” Your destiny! What will that be? Where will it take you? Create it, work through it, and conquer it! The best is yet to come.


Go Bulldogs!


Coach Whitley

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Ready for Release!

Get ready to watch our digital talent show - The Dawg Show, TONIGHT at 8 p.m.! To view, click HERE (at 8 p.m.), visit our Facebook page or go to the GWA website events page. Our Bulldog community is loaded with talent and the competition was tough! The winners will be revealed throughout the video. Thank you to all who participated and congrats to our winners!

Here's a fun preview of tonight's show!

The Dawg Show
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Class of 2020 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

George Walton Academy is pleased to announce our Class of 2020 Valedictorian Spring Rawl and Salutatorian Jenna Lo. Spring will attend Georgia Tech this fall, and Jenna will attend Wake Forest University. Congratulations, Spring and Jenna!

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Sustainable Eating- Ranch Kale Chips

A Smaller Foodprint

Mrs. Bishop’s Global Environmental Issues class is discussing food production and how it impacts our environment. They are looking closely at the causal effect of mass food production on air quality, water supplies as well as energy usage. The class learned that the use of local food sources, i.e. a farmer’s market, can lead to a smaller foodprint since packaging, processing and transportation are all decreased. Students created a week’s menu of locally sourced and in-season meals. Senior Emma Boyer made the video above to showcase a way to use local ingredients, helping to decrease her foodprint.

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Story Time Fun

Our PreK-3 students enjoyed a special story time last night. After appearances by a new puppy and other furry family members - Dr. Dolan dropped in to read "The Gruffalo," by Julia Donaldson. This book was a favorite of Dr. Dolan's daughter, Tara, when she was younger.
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Here to Help

Do you have a technology question or issue? Check out our new tech support page and the information it provides to help resolve the majority of issues experienced by students/families and teachers. If you need additional assistance, please email tech@gwa.com.

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Introducing Middle School Division Head Amy Wilkes

With more than fifteen years of experience in a wide range of positions including currently serving as the Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation for Mount Vernon School in Atlanta, Amy Wilkes will lead George Walton Academy's middle school division next year.



For more than ten years, Amy taught in middle schools in Mississippi and Georgia where she discovered the power of community to empower each student and adult to reach his or her potential. She was also affirmed in her belief that a strong, challenging and engaging academic program is essential to preparing students for the future.


Her commitment and innovative vision for instilling a love for learning in both students and faculty, led her to several key roles including serving as STEM Instructional Coach and Maker Coordinator, Instructional Technology Specialist, and Middle School Head of Learning and Innovation at Mount Vernon.


Amy tells us, "Through leading professional learning, modeling best practices, and investing in the development of intentional unit design, I have stretched our faculty beyond their comfort zones into areas of growth that have resulted in richer more experiential and meaningful learning opportunities for our students. I am skilled at understanding where each learner is in his or her learning journey and determining a path of growth toward determined goals."


Amy holds a master's degree in educational leadership and a bachelor's in middle grades education. With her knowledge and expertise, Amy has been tapped to lead, facilitate, and present at numerous education conferences, schools and institutes.


"As an educator, I am dedicated to creating a learning environment where students can discover their passions, grow as individuals and leaders, and develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful both now and in the years to come. I am delighted to
be part of a community that fosters this type of environment and excited and honored to serve alongside a dynamic faculty committed to excellence and innovation. I can’t wait to join the GWA team!"


We encourage you to read Amy's Educational Philosophy.

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Worth the Wait

By Liz Jones, Yaerbook Advisor


If you purchased a yearbook - you will still receive it (but a little later than planned)! The yearbook has been completed and submitted to the publishing plant. Unfortunately, the plant is in Kansas City and they have been under a “stay-at-home” order for all residents that started on March 24 and is in effect for 30 days. They plan to resume normal operations on May 4th, but I don’t know what our place will be in line. Whenever they do print and ship the book, we will then schedule some kind of distribution plan – we aren’t sure what that will look like just yet.


The publishing company does usually send us a few extra books that they print as overruns. If you still want to buy a book, I can add your name to a waiting list in the order in which you contact me (we have sold all of the extras that I ordered back in January). After books have been counted and sorted, I will be able to see if we can accommodate some of the people on the waiting list. If you need to know if you bought yearbooks, just shoot me an email to ask if I have you listed in my records – ljones@gwa.com.


Instead of our traditional yearbook presentation, we will be sharing our virtual yearbook presentation on gwa.com (on the yearbook page). We will be inviting faculty, staff, seniors, and the yearbook staff to a google meet that we will record to present the senior yearbook dedication – this goes to the faculty or staff member that the senior class votes to dedicate the yearbook to. We will also be presenting our annual, end of the year wrap up video slideshow. Look for information on these very soon!


The staff has worked extremely hard, and have overcome tremendous hurdles to finish the yearbook this year. They can’t wait to show you the finished product! I’m so proud of them and what they have created for you all!

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May 8 is Spirit Day!

Please show your support for the Class of 2020 and wear your GWA spirit wear on Friday, May 8. Share your pics on social media in comments of the post we will put on Facebook that morning or use #gwaspiritday.
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#gwadigitaldays

Help us tell the #gwadigitaldays story on social media! We would love to share photos and short video clips of our students learning online – whether it is science, music or PE. Just email your photos/video clips (landscape format is best) to Christina Russell or post on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #gwadigitaldays. Additionally, feel free to share pics of your kids using their free time to learn something new or finding creative ways to have fun while we are all in self-quarantine.

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Finish Strong! Grades Do Matter!

By Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling


We are one day away from May and we are in the home stretch of probably the weirdest and most challenging semester we have ever experienced. Speaking for the College Counseling department, we are amazed at the resiliency of our GWA students. We appreciate the adjustments students and families have made to overcome challenges in their path.


We are consistently encouraging all students to finish these next few weeks strong – make up any pending assignments, take advantage of extra credit that is offered, and rock out on remaining tests and quizzes. If you have work/assignments to do, knock it out. Don’t slack off on Wednesdays. Use your time wisely to study for upcoming assessments and reach out to teachers during their office hours with questions. That is why that time is set aside – take advantage of this opportunity.


When it comes to GPA calculations, there is a HUGE difference between an 89/B/3.0 and 90/A/4.0. I’ve seen students fight for an A in core classes and end up qualifying for the Zell Miller Scholarship, which requires a 3.7 core GPA instead of the HOPE Scholarship, which requires a 3.0 core GPA.


The point is that final grades in high school courses do matter. These grades stick with students' ninth through twelfth grade on the transcript. They make students eligible (or ineligible) for admissions to colleges and scholarship programs. The finish line is in sight; we urge high school students to finish this semester’s race strong when crossing that finish line.


If you have any questions, Mr. Terrell and Mrs. Nabors are here for you.

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Thank You, Faculty and Staff!

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Week begins on Monday, May 4! Please feel free to send your teachers a message of appreciation with an emailed note, a card, a drawing or even a short video to kick off the week. Be sure to visit our GWA Facebook page and Instagram account on Thursday, May 7 to leave a comment for your favorite faculty or staff member. On Friday, we will wrap up with a special video to be shared on social media. Your expressions of love and support are invaluable and are exactly what we all need at this time!

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Have You Voted?

Be sure to visit the art contest gallery on Rep. Hice's page (@CongressmanJodyHice) to vote for works by our amazing GWA artists - including Marnie Couch, Ana Cordero, Anna Swope, Breena McGraw, and Mikee Bolle.

The winner of the 2020 Congressional Art Show will have their artwork displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. Click the photo of each individual piece to like and/or share it. Voting closes at 3 p.m. on May 7.

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GWA Symphonic Winds “Arabesque”

Stellar Performance!

Click the arrow and enjoy the wonderful sounds of the GWA Symphonic Winds as they virtually perform a part of "Arabesque." Kudos to these talented musicians, and to Mr. Smith and junior Eli Scornik for this quality production.
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Soccer Seniors

Congratulations to our senior soccer players - Annabelle Jerman, Caroline Vansant, Mary Cowan, Spring Rawl, Wesley Long, Walker May and Jaime Jacoby. The coaches are thankful for the leadership and effort by this group. They are also appreciative of the help and support from the soccer parents this year. Good luck in the fall, seniors!
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Koby Dunn Signs with Berry College

Senior Koby Dunn has signed to play baseball with Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Congratulations and good luck in the classroom and on the field!
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Volleyball Sign Ups Begin

Calling all volleyball players – sign ups for all levels are open through May 22! Please click HERE to sign up and begin receiving information from coaches. If you have questions, feel free to contact Coach Amanda Riser.

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by O'Shucks Seafood and Grill. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.

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