In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 12, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • 3rd & 4th Grade Musical: Tonight @ 6 p.m.
  • Youth Sports Parent Meeting: Tonight @ 7 p.m.
  • Christmas Concert: Tonight @ 7:30 p.m.
  • MS/HS Christmas Parties: Dec. 13
  • Alumni Jingle Mingle: Dec. 13 @ 5 p.m.
  • V Basketball vs. Oconee Co.: Dec. 13 @ 6 p.m.
  • Lower School Parties: Dec. 16
  • Reading Day: Dec. 16
  • 5th Grade Chorus Performance: Dec. 16 @ 6:30 p.m
  • Exams: Dec. 17 - 20
  • Early Dismissal: Dec. 20
  • Christmas Break: Dec. 23 - Jan. 6
  • Teacher Workday: Jan. 6
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Serving a Purpose

This is the season of giving and at GWA we put this idea into action through school-wide efforts, club activities and individuals who decide to team up to make a difference in the lives of others.


The spirit of service and giving at GWA is a year-long focus for our students and staff. Students have written thank you letters to our deployed military, volunteered at Relay for Life, and stepped forward to lead the charge for important causes including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Folds of Honor and Extra Special People. The GWA band volunteered with FISH for Kids, the Recycling Club continuously collects and disposes of recyclables for a cleaner environment, and the Latin Club has made special bookmarks for lower school students to encourage language learning, and they also donated supplies for a project to benefit our troops.


The month of December is especially busy with Student Council sponsoring the annual Empty Stocking Fund canned food drive with all grades participating. Interact Club, FCA, Latin Club, Chorus, Beta, NHS, and National Spanish Honors Society visited the residents at Great Oaks to play games, make decorations and sing Christmas carols. Latin Club even held a food and treat drive for dogs in the Walton County Animal Shelter (and their donation will be delivered today!)


Second graders gave gifts to staff members and sang Christmas carols to classes all over campus. Yesterday, seventh graders dropped off bags filled with clothing, necessities and toys to give three special children in the Walton County Foster Care Program everything on their Christmas wish list! Tonight, a group of upper school students will spend time shopping for gifts at Walmart with several deserving kids from the local Boys and Girls Club.


Serving others, whether it is with the gift of resources, time, love or appreciation, will always be a cornerstone for GWA Bulldogs - throughout the year and especially at Christmastime.


Merry Christmas!

Christina Russell, Director of Communications

& Alumni Relations

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Writing Center R & D

With Dual Enrollment Composition and the Writing Center as new additions to GWA, students developed hands-on research projects as peer tutors. By observing and interacting with student writers, the tutors gained new insights that allowed them to better understand the students they were helping and help all involved grow as writers.


On Wednesday, DE Composition students presented their culminating experience projects. Based on their experience as tutors in the Writing Center and a qualitative study they developed with ninth- grade students, our DE Composition students connected their research about students’ writing process to their work in the Writing Center. Presentations were styled similar to an Exhibit Hall Conference with multiple sessions.


Through the leadership and case study inquiry by our students, we are now better situated to build confident and thoughtful writers at GWA.

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Spotlight on Shakespeare

Witchcraft, murder and vengeance took center stage when the Shakespeare Tavern presented Macbeth to our British Literature classes. Students were enthralled with sword fights during the 60 minute production of Macbeth. This provided the opportunity for students to see the beauty and power of the Shakespearean language brought to life.

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Support GWA with GOAL

Looking for a last minute gift? Visit goalscholarship.org and grab a 100% Georgia income tax credit for your stocking this holiday.

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The Joy of Giving

GWA seventh graders and their families partnered with Heart 2 Heart Ministry and Country Kids Camp in Loganville to help three kids in the Walton County Foster Care program have a special Christmas. Parents coordinated the effort using Sign Up Genius. Every item requested was listed and in turn every single item (including clothing, necessities and toys) from all three lists was purchased. Students helped with the shopping and all the gifts were delivered to school on Wednesday- ready to be transferred to a central location and distributed. The response from the grade to help with this service project was overwhelming and made Christmas merrier for all involved!

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Best Wishes to Miss Melanie!

Our Custodial Manager Melanie Lattimore (“Miss Melanie”), confirmed over Thanksgiving break that she has accepted a position outside of GWA. Her last day on staff was November 29. We wish Melanie well with her new endeavor and will miss her greatly at GWA.

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Just in time for Christmas - the Dawg Shop is offering 30% off on all apparel! Stop in Monday - Friday, 7:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m. Cash, check and cards are accepted.
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Is Something Missing?

All lost and found items have been placed in the Middle School Gym. Please stop in and take a look if you are missing shoes, clothing, water bottles, lunchboxes, etc.

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For the Love of Reading

Members of the GWA Book Club gathered in the Dawgs 360 house for their special December meeting. They enjoyed Your Pie pizza and homemade holiday treats while having a lively discussion about “Letters to the Lost” by Brigid Kemmerer. The group of avid readers meets once a month during lunch with co-sponsors Laura Nabors and Angel Grimsley to discuss a specific book- analyzing the plots and sharing opinions. Students take turns nominating books and then vote as a group as to what they will read next. “Butterfly Yellow” by Thanhha Lai is on tap for January.

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Please click HERE for details on exam week (12/16-12/20) - including dismissal times for all grades.
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Yearbooks are $85. Please send in a check before Dec. 20 – made payable to GWA, attn: Liz Jones OR order online by Jan. 1 at yearbookordercenter.com.

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Sounds of the Season

GWA bands will wrap up their holiday season with their Christmas Concert tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Nicholson Center. Come celebrate the joyous season with four fantastic performances from each band class! Admission is $5 at the door and Dawgs 360 have free admission. Enjoy!

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Jingle Bell Jukebox

Third- and fourth-grade students will perform the musical, “Jingle Bell Jukebox” tonight at 6 p.m. in the lower school gym. Many familiar Christmas novelty songs will be performed ending with the re-enactment of the Nativity and the cast and audience singing Silent Night. All are welcome to attend and admission is free.


Merry & Bright

Fifth-grade chorus students present, “Merry and Bright” on Monday, Dec. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the GWA cafeteria. This is a varied collection of novelty and religious Christmas songs. The public and our GWA family is invited to our festive night of song. The concert is free.

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Youth Sports Strengthen

By Grace Martin, Youth Athletic Director


The youth program at George Walton Academy has expanded over the past two years. We have been fortunate to add youth lacrosse, track and wrestling as athletic opportunities for K5 - fifth grade students. This year alone, we have doubled the number of our youth basketball opportunities. We have a total of nine youth boys and girls basketball teams.


While our logistics for keeping this number of youth teams up and running is challenging, we are confident our growth is a start in the right direction. By introducing student athletes to various sports at an earlier age, it is inevitable that our varsity programs will grow and make substantial improvements in the near future. We believe that giving our students the opportunity to play sports together at George Walton Academy is crucial in the development of our school and our athletic programs. We now have over 60 kids playing youth basketball and 10 youth wrestlers. These numbers are encouraging and we are excited for the future of our school's athletic programs.


It goes without saying that GWA's youth athletic programs positively contribute to the school in many ways. Youth sports help to advance our competitiveness in the region. More importantly, building these younger athletic programs help our students gain confidence and strength, both mentally and physically. Children who participate in youth sports have a better understanding of personal discipline, accountability and the value of teamwork. In addition to the physical benefits, youth athletics allow students to create a meaningful connection to school by forming strong bonds with their teammates and coaches.


Our youth coaches unselfishly volunteer their time, devote themselves to the student athletes and make these youth athletic opportunities would possible. We are grateful for these coaches- they truly work to make a difference in the lives of our younger athletes!


Go Bulldogs!

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Softball Stars

After the conclusion of an impressive season and finishing third in the state, several GWA softball players have received the following honors:


-All-State:

-1st Team - Taylor Tinsley

-2nd Team - Reign Williams

-Honorable Mention - Caroline Conner and Annabelle Jerman


-All Region:

-1st Team - Caroline Conner, Taylor Tinsley, and Reign Williams

-2nd Team - Annabelle Jerman and Torie Johnson

-Pitcher of the Year - Taylor Tinsley


-All-County:

-1st Team - Taylor Tinsley, Reign Williams

-2nd Team- Torie Johnson

-Honorable Mention - Riley Wilson and Annabelle Jerman


-Walton Tribune Player of the Year - Taylor Tinsley


Congratulations, Lady Dawgs!

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Bulldogs Finish Strong

GWA wrestling team placed highest out of all Single A schools (8th place) at last weekend’s tournament at South Forsyth. Chris Sperin and Patrick Morris are tournament champions. Nico Eberhart places 2nd, Beau Mitchell 3rd and Michael Dagenhart gets 6th. Congrats, Bulldogs and good luck at this weekend's tournament in McCallie, Tennessee!
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GWA Gets the Win!

Congrats to our sixth-grade girls basketball team on their recent 9-8 victory over North Oconee!
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Be in the Know!

GWA winter sports are in full swing! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events including swimming, basketball and wrestling.

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Christmas in the Courtyard

A big "thank you" to each family, team, grade and corporate partner that decorated a tree in the courtyard! What a wonderful display of Christmas spirit!
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Mark Your Calendar for Jan. 30!

Does your chili have what it takes to win the $100 prize! There are only 20 spots available, so email Elizabeth McDonel to enter at emcdonel@gwa.com. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with bingo calling at 6:45 p.m. This evening is a fun night full of games, music, prizes, food and great company!


Volunteers are always a part of the fun- so email Elizabeth McDonel to get involved with this year's Chili Cook Off and Bingo Night!

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Alumni Holiday Get Together

GWA alumni are invited to celebrate the season with us in cafeteria TOMORROW before our home varsity basketball games. Stop in to catch up with your GWA friends and enjoy some food and Christmas cheer.
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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Parker Road Dental Care. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.
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