In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

August 9, 2018

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or visit us online.
Big picture
Big picture

Welcome Back!

With modern spaces and fresh faces, George Walton Academy is ready for a new year!

The cafeteria now features a sleek, industrial design and a comfortable, conversation area. Our upper school lobby welcomes students and visitors with an updated, stylish design. The finishing touches are now being added to the PARC academic support centers and new signage welcomes visitors as they arrive on campus. A huge thank you to Heather McFarland for her tireless efforts as project manager. Her vision, and the donations made by so many of you, brought these renovations to life. And thank you to all who volunteered throughout this summer and during our Campus Cleanup Day. Your efforts made a tremendous I.M.P.A.C.T.!

The renewal reaches far beyond the aesthetic as new programs and initiatives also debut. From the “Dawg Days” winter term to increased schedule flexibility, GWA students have more choices than ever before. Hopefully, you had an opportunity to meet some of our new teachers and reconnect with other members of our dedicated faculty and staff during Open House. Our teachers are the backbone of GWA and we are very proud of our talented team and how dedicated they are to bringing out the very best in our students.

And we’re not done! Our efforts to enhance the George Walton experience are ongoing. We are constantly assessing and evaluating all that we do, looking for opportunities to grow and improve. And we’re listening. We are open to hearing your feedback and remind you to take advantage of opportunities to share your thoughts and connect with administrators and other parents. Our inaugural grade-level Parent Socials kick-off next week and we will host “Coffee with the Admin” sessions throughout the year, beginning on Thursday, Sept. 6. Coffee with the Admin is an informal meeting featuring remarks by Dr. Dolan or other administrators, with time to ask questions and socialize.

Join Dawgs 360. Come out to the athletic and arts events. Be a part of Dawgs Unleashed, Homecoming and our Veterans Day program. Our wonderful community is one of our greatest assets and we invite you to join us on the 2018-2019 GWA journey!

Looking forward to a great year!

Femke Cote

Associate Head of School

Curriculum and Global Studies

Big picture

Parent Socials

Dawgs360 is excited to announce the debut of grade-level Parent Socials! Join us to hear about exciting things going on at George Walton Academy and reconnect with parents in your children's respective class. Socials will be held in the cafeteria from 6 to 7 p.m. on the date assigned to your child's grade. Please, only parents at this event. If you did not receive your emailed invitation, please contact Elizabeth McDonel at See you there!
Big picture

Changes to Publix Partners Cards

Publix Partners cards are being phased out as of September 30 and after that date, customers will only need to enter their phone number at check out. To support George Walton Academy, you must first sign up for Publix Partners through your account (or create one, if you don't already have one) and select George Walton Academy as your Publix Partner school. Then. enter your phone number each time at checkout and GWA will benefit from your purchase.
Big picture
Big picture

Campus Clean Up Report

Over 100 Parents, faculty and students alike gathered on campus this past Saturday to make GWA shine before welcoming our students back! Our concession areas received a deep clean, over 80 Azalea bushes were planted, every desk in the school was sanitized, and more. We enjoyed seeing grandparents, sports teams and new families join in the fun. It is estimated that over 400 hours of manpower were donated. Thank you to all who came out to help spruce-up campus!
Big picture

Parents: Cast Your Votes!

Make your opinions known! We are beginning our GWA adult programs so please take a few minutes to let us which of these options capture your interest. With your help, we can offer our community vibrant new opportunities to learn, socialize, and enjoy. Let us hear from you by clicking HERE to vote!

Big picture

All-Sports Meeting: Canceled

The All-Sports Round-Up set for Thursday, Aug. 9 has been postponed. We will notify our athletes about a rescheduled time in the upcoming weeks. Please refer questions to Grace Martin at
Big picture

Equestrian Meeting

The GWA Equestrian team will host a kickoff informational meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria. We welcome all past team members and anyone interested in hearing more about the team to attend. The equestrian team is open to middle and upper school boys and girls and horse ownership is NOT required! Come learn more about this exciting opportunity!

Big picture
Big picture

Saluting Steven Whitley

By: Amanda Riser, Advancement Associate

We started the school year off with the raising of a very special flag by our Eagle Scouts Austin Schorr and Bailey Croker and Life Scout Zachary Flynn, in memory of former GWA administrator Mr. Steven Whitley.

This special American flag was flown by Mr. Whitley's nephew, 2008 George Walton Academy alumnus CPT Matthew D. Whitley, Pilot in Command and Alpha Troop Commander on board his United States Army AH-64E Apache Attack helicopter during combat missions over Iraq and Syria in the spring and summer of 2018, in support of American forces and the fight against ISIS.

George Walton Academy was presented this flag by the officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the Alpha Troop, 7-17 Air Cavalry Regiment, 1st Air Calvary Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division from Ft. Hood Texas.

Big picture

Friday Dress Code: Spirit Day

Our first Spirit Day will be this Friday! Wear your GWA colors proudly to end the first week of school. Lower and upper school students may wear spirit wear shirts with jeans or normal dress code shorts and skirts.

Middle school students (only) are approved to wear athletic shorts with their spirit shirts for their mega relay day outside.

Big picture

Show Your GWA Spirit!

We couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming year and the awesome events that contribute to GWA Bulldog life! Show your support for our varsity football team by attending the first game of the season at Walnut Grove on Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. This game will be a whiteout and t-shirts will be available in the Dawg Shop beginning Aug. 15 for $12 (youth & adult sizes).

Our Homecoming Week game will be a blackout against Towns County on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. The blackout t-shirt design includes the homecoming theme - the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” or “Día de los Muertos.” Please click HERE to purchase homecoming tees as they will not be available in the Dawg Shop. There is also an online link to order on the Dawg Shop web page. The cost is $12 in youth and adult sizes. Go Bulldogs!

Did You Pick Up Your FREE School Calendar?

Contact Ashley Short if you have not at

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture


Our award-winning Yearbook team is currently featured in the newest "How To Yearbook" Herff Jones curriculum materials. The featured photograph is shown as an example of how to compose a great shot, using depth of field. GWA is one of only five schools in Georgia featured in the teaching resources. Don't miss the chance to order your own yearbook! Click HERE to get a jumpstart!
Big picture
Big picture

Five Band Alumni Compete in World Championship

The George Walton Academy Band continues to instill a lifelong love for artistic expression through music while honing the competitive spirit that the Bulldog Band is known to inspire.

It should not surprise you that five GWA alumni are competing in the Drum Corps International World Championship (DCI). Band Director, Christian Smith said, “What a huge accomplishment for our fantastic band alums representing our band and school all over the country! We have had over 20 GWA alums compete in DCI over the last 15 years. We've had several bronze and silver medalists and we've had five World Champion gold medalists.”

For nearly half a century, DCI has been the leader in events for the world’s elite ensembles of musicians and performers and is considered the highest level of marching band. Musicians come from all over the world to audition for selection. Once selected, (after multiple auditions), musicians attend spring training for five weeks where they learn their respective shows. For the summer, they travel the country, competing at high schools and colleges to earn their placement on the leaderboard. Some corps travel stretches over 17 states.

All five of our competing alumni are members of the top five corps, with alumnus Curtis Reep’s corp in position to take the title. Other alumni include Eli Lindsey (’18), Jason Dokes (’17), Justin Cohen (’15) and Murphy Pullium (’15). Pullium said, “It has been an incredible season so far! I love the members and working with the staff is such a unique experience that I couldn’t get anywhere else.”

Big picture

I always have disliked the notion that the beginning of the school year should start off “right.” As a former teacher and as a school counselor, I don’t know that there is a right or a wrong way to start the school year. Instead I find it’s about managing the busyness that comes from starting school again. Granted, some school years start off at a slower pace, while others start with the hold-on-because-the-rollercoaster-you-are-on-is-about-to-go-through-the-corkscrew-part-of-the-ride kind of busyness. Eventually the busyness subsides. Routines replace the chaos and life becomes manageable again.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t think that the start-of-school busyness is a bad thing. In fact, I rather enjoy the busyness. I enjoy it, because it’s accompanied by an excitement that makes the busyness worthwhile. There are new challenges to face, new possibilities to think about, new people to meet and more fun to be had. Plus, not knowing exactly what the new year will bring turns school into a kind of adventure. I do love the adventure of a school day. Of course, I also love riding rollercoasters, especially the ones with a corkscrew.

This August starts my thirty-seventh year as an educator, and I’m just as excited about this school year as I was about my first one. I am excited about being a member of the GWA community, too, and I look forward to meeting my fellow adventurers in the months ahead.

Here’s to great start to the 2018-2019 school year!

Lynn Robinson

School Counselor

Big picture

Friday, Aug. 10

Lunch for Senior Students

12:50 - 1:25 p.m.

Nicholson Concession Area

College counselors will remind seniors of what they need to do to apply for college plus a few other items specific to senors at GWA.

Thursday, Aug. 16

Coffee with Counselors

8:30 a.m.

Upper School Media Center

Meet the Counseling and Learning Support Team at GWA. Learn how GWA can support your child academically, socially and emotionally. This gathering is for parents of students in any grade.

Tuesday, Aug. 28

GA Futures College Information Session

6:30 p.m.


This meeting is for seniors and/or their parents and will include information on the elements of a college application, how to use the GA Futures website and GSFAPPS, along with how to apply for Hope, Zell Miller, and other scholarships.

Friday, Aug. 31

How to be a BIG DAWG!

11:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. (Flex Block)

A representative from UGA will present to juniors and seniors who pre-register for the event. Parents are welcome drop in without pre-registering. Please note that seating may be limited.

Big picture
Big picture