In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 20, 2018

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Key Deadlines & Dates


  • REMINDER: No Early Dismissal Friday Sept. 21!
  • Red Cross Blood Drive: Sept. 21
  • Fall Chorus Concert: Sept. 25
  • Senior Yearbook Pages Due: Sept. 30
  • Secio Speaker: Oct. 1
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Athletic Department Restructuring

By Mark Whitley, Associate Head of School - Athetics


Athletics teach us to strive every day to be better than we were the day before. In that spirit, we’ve been evaluating opportunities to grow the athletic department and have brought youth football back to George Walton Academy. In addition to football, there will be three other new youth sports introduced this school year: wrestling, track and lacrosse.


As GWA has increased the youth athletic offerings, it is necessary to restructure the athletic department so that all three levels (upper, middle, and youth) receive adequate attention and resources. We have decided to more formally assign responsibilities at each level. I will continue to manage upper school athletics and oversee all programs as the athletic director. Todd Shelnutt will be an associate athletic director for middle school athletics and Grace Martin will be an associate athletic director for all youth athletics. We look forward to the exciting opportunities these new youth programs will bring to GWA!

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Broadening Horizons with Visitors from Abroad

This week we welcomed six students from St. Paul’s school in Barcelona to campus. Each student is being hosted by a GWA student, who has been showing them what being a bulldog is all about. In January, our GWA host students will have the opportunity to travel to Barcelona for four weeks to live with the students they are currently hosting. This kind of reciprocal exchange offers a unique opportunity for true cultural transference and appreciation, as students from both schools engage in a life-changing adventure. Experiences like this give our students the opportunity to develop a global perspective while making lifelong friends.

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Learning Under "Pressure"

In preparation for an upcoming winter term trip to Belize, Mrs. Atkinson's Global Health students joined Mrs. McElveen's Spanish class to learn the correct pronunciation of Spanish phrases used for performing blood pressure checks. The students also practiced taking blood pressure measurements on fellow students.


"The class is learning about different body systems & diseases that affect those systems. We are taking a particularly close look at diseases that are more prevalent in developing countries, and specifically Belize," said Mrs. Atkinson. She further explained that the students will learn to check blood sugar and how to screen for malnutrition in the coming weeks.


This Belize trip is part of GWA's partnership with the Global Public Service Academy, a program that provides a chance for upper school students to take courses based on a curriculum developed by professors from Duke University and Johns Hopkins University. Students will prepare on campus this semester, before traveling to Belize in January to work alongside medical fellows from both universities. This provides a great hands-on opportunity to explore the field of medicine. Click here to learn more about GPSA.

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Jump Into Fun with Dawgs 360!

Dawgs 360 invites you to unleash the fun this fall by participating in our Dawgs Unleashed events! Join us for the tennis and golf tournaments, 5k and Scary Scurry Kids Run, or just come out and enjoy the day at the Fall Festival and Fun Zone with family and friends. We have plenty of fun planned for all ages!

Click here to register for any of these exciting events and find further information for event sponsorships and festival vendors. Be sure to sign up for the race by Sept. 24 before the price increases!


Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

Oct.15: Golf Tournament

Oct. 16: Tennis Tournament

Oct. 20: Fall Festival, Scary Scurry Kids Run and 5K Run!

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Flaunt Your GWA Pride!

We want to challenge our GWA families to show your Bulldog spirit while out and about! Wear any of your GWA gear out in the community, snap a pic, then post it to Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #gwaproud and you will automatically be entered into a contest to win a $25 gift certificate to the Dawg Shop! We will announce the winner in the first issue of In Focus each month.
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Tax Dollars Can Make a Difference!

Find out how you can re-direct your Georgia income tax liability and use it to benefit GWA. You can be a valuable contributor without spending a dime! Click here to learn more.

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New Competitive Spirit for GWA

GWA's first ever competition cheer squad is geared up and ready to showcase their skills this weekend! The team will be taking their talents on the road to compete against more than 30 other squads in the Longhorn Cheer Classic at Lambert High School in Suwanee on Saturday.


"This is something that my friends and I always wanted to do. It was something that we dreamed of for a very long time. I am so excited for the girls to be able to have this opportunity! I wish them the best of luck," said Cheer Coach Taylor Wolf, who is also a GWA alumni. Go Bulldogs!

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Varsity Volleyball Reaches New Heights!

Varsity Volleyball swept Providence Christian this weekend and landed the second place spot in our region! The team competed fearlessly and is ready to fight for the first-place spot that will lead them to State. Come cheer on the varsity Lady Dawgs for senior blackout night on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Show your GWA Spirit for Macy, Tayia and Lex, as this will be the last home match for these seniors!

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Calling All Young Athletes!

GWA Youth Sports is excited to announce the addition of a wrestling program! The league is open to all interested students in the community, ages K4 through fifth grade--so sign up, and bring a friend! Registration is currently underway and the cost is $35 per participant. Practice begins on Monday, Oct. 29.

Learn more at our parent information meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 7 p.m. in the GWA Courtyard! Click here to access the registration form.

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Click here for more details about the Lacrosse clinic!

Clinics are free and require no pre-registration. Just show up this Saturday and participate!

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That's a Wrap for Homecoming Week!

The 2018 Homecoming festivities concluded last week with many time-honored traditions! Students displayed their creative sides for the parade, shared some friendly competition during the powder puff game, danced the night away on Saturday, and of course celebrated the crowning of the King and Queen. Congratulations to the 2018 GWA Homecoming King, Jason Rockmore and Homecoming Queen, Caroline Hart!
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You Asked, We Delivered!

We received such an overwhelming response to the 2018 GWA homecoming shirt that we brought it back for one last chance to order! Size availability may be limited, and the deadline is midnight, Sept. 23. Click HERE to place your order. Don't delay!

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Marching with Honors

The Bulldog Marching Band produces another star! GWA senior Alex Aull was selected to join the prestigious NAFME All-National Honor Ensembles (ANHE). The ANHE is open for all high school musicians to apply and the ensemble represents the top-performing students in the United States. After completing the audition and rigorous application process, Alex was one of only seven students selected from the entire state of Georgia. He will go on to perform with the 2018 ANHE in November at the Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida under the baton of leaders in the field of music education.

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Picture Perfect

Sophomores, Suhani Rama and Kayla Ralston both scored a five on their AP photography portfolios that they completed as freshmen in the spring. This is an amazing achievement! Suhani's fabulous work will be displayed on the walls of our new industrial-style dining area. Her declared concentration was “City” and she used the opportunity to photograph the streets of New York.

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Visiting Old Stomping Grounds

We loved catching up with George Walton alumni last Friday at the alumni hospitality area before the homecoming game! Make sure your contact information is up to date, so you can be in the know about alumni events. To update your contact information please email ashort@gwa.com.

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Want better grades? Go to sleep!

By Michael Clancy, Director of College Counseling


There is a lot of research showing there is a link between getting an adequate amount of sleep and optimal brain function. Researchers at McGill University and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute in Montreal found that children who had a better quality sleep performed better in math and languages. So pulling an “all-nighter” is actually counterproductive.


Research conducted by the Department of General Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children in Boston found, “Children who aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep...Read More.

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Discover a World of Colleges...Right Here on Campus!

Finding out about a college is as close as the Upper School Media Center! The months of September through November are when most college admissions representatives visit high schools. This a great way to find out what colleges have to offer and to hear straight from an admissions counselor (often the one who will be reading applications from GWA) about what their university looks for when admitting students. It could be as simple as needing to have above a certain GPA or it could be more nuanced, such as demonstrating leadership or showing a commitment to one’s community.


Only a few high school students take advantage of these visits. When I asked students why they don’t attend...Read More.

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Cambridge Exam

George Walton Academy has just been approved to administer Cambridge Examinations. These are the entrance exams that the more elite universities in the United Kingdom require. George Walton is now one of only 25 institutions nationwide, and the only one in the State of Georgia, to offer these exams.


This journey started when Grace Hansen, a senior, told her college counselor the closest location to take the BMAT (BioMedical Admissions Test) in order to apply to programs in Medicine in the United Kingdom was the University of Florida. Michael Clancy, Director of College Counseling at GWA, has been a test center supervisor for Cambridge Examinations in past and decided to apply so that George Walton could administer these exams. He says it is not just a way to help our students, but it is a good way to let families in other parts of the state hear about George Walton.

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Mark your calendars for these important dates!

Fall Chorus Concert: Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

Galapagos Islands Trip Parent Meeting: Sept 26 at 5 p.m.

Dawgs Unleashed Golf Tournament: Oct. 15

Dawgs Unleashed Tennis Tournament: Oct. 16

Dawgs Unleashed Road Race and Festival: Oct. 20

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Today's In Focus is Sponsored by Brysan Utility Contractors, Inc.

Today's issue of In Focus is proudly sponsored by Brysan Utility Contractors, Inc., Chris and Mindy Barber.

Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.

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