In Focus @ GWA
A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy
GWtA: George Walton teacher Academy
Beginning this summer, the George Walton teacher Academy (GWtA) will play a central role in welcoming new faculty and introducing them to the traditions, values, and culture of our community. The mission of the GWtA is to inspire, support, and inform our faculty in their professional growth as educators, leaders, mentors, and colleagues. The GWtA, in conjunction with the Learning Center, will provide on-going professional development opportunities for all faculty to not only remain current in their craft, but to continue to position GWA as the regional leader in independent education.
Coordinator Lori White has formed a group of faculty and staff that will execute the teacher academy. Jennifer Stapp, Jere Lin Hutter, Peter Van Wyk and Angie McElveen will join White in this project.
Saluting our Student and Teacher of the Month
Congratulations to Stevi Lee Manning for being selected as April's Student of the Month; she has selected Mrs. Croft to be the Rotary Teacher of the Month. Stevi Lee is a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club. She is the current president of Executive Student Council, National Honor Society and Spanish Club. Stevi Lee also participates in volunteering with Team Up Mentoring and the McDaniel-Tichenor House. She will attend the University of Georgia and would like to study law and psychology.
Leading the Way in Technology
GWA is proud of teacher Philip Peavy and student Odile Vidrine for being recognized at the Aspirations in Computing award ceremony earlier this week by the National Center for Women in Information Technology (NCWIT). Odile was recognized for her hard work in her pursuits of computer science after taking extra efforts to learn Java programming, CAD modeling and video game development. She has also extended her studies into cybersecurity by attending a summer camp at the University of North Georgia.
Mr. Peavy was one of three educators in the state of Georgia recognized for their accomplishments for promoting computer science and encouraging young women to explore topics in technology, helping bridge the gap of gender inequality in the field of computing.
"BeeBotting" Through Robotics
In elementary school, students are still learning with their eyes and hands – drawing, molding, and manipulating objects. As they transition to reading, robots make it possible for them to work through problems visually and experiment with concepts they are learning. Currently, GWA is one of just a few schools in our area that actively places our elementary students side-by-side with robotics each week.
Recently, K4 students designed a bridge using Duplo-Legos, with specifications that allowed BeeBots to be able to pass through. They lined up their bridges and coded their robots to pass through the row of bridges for a “Robot Parade”. “Robotics gives students an opportunity to actively engage in challenges that promote a growth mindset requiring problem-solving, persistence, and perseverance, not to mention communication skills and teamwork,” said teacher Mandy Gudnason.
An Insider's Look at Law Enforcement
AP Government students took a trip to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office to learn more about due process and how accused criminals are apprehended and processed while awaiting trial.
Deputy Matt Hill shared a presentation on the use of dogs in searching, tracking, and detection. Deputy Hill is the handler for Sergeant Falco, the department's senior canine. Students were allowed to meet Sergeant Falco after learning about his training and work for the county. They were then guided on a tour of the Walton County jail by Captain Darren Vinson from Youth Investigations, Captain Dean Thrasher and Captain Audrey Etchison from the jail. One thing is for sure, none of these students ever want to experience the jail from the other side!
Hands-On Environmental Education
Spring is always long-awaited for GWA’s fifth-grade students. Our junior scientists travel to Jekyll Island and learn all things ecology. Students experienced herpetology, seining, beach ecology, shark dissection, and more.
Fifth graders Julia Tanase and Leah Gibson agreed that the “Night Walk” was their favorite event. During this class, students learned about the stars and bioluminescent phytoplankton, a type of squid that emits light throughout it’s body. Josh Woodard added that while he enjoyed the Night Walk, the herpetology lab was neat.
CSI: GWA Edition
Tara Walker’s forensics class learned about fingerprints this week by learning how fingerprints linger on objects and how they can be traced and recorded. They did this by placing their own fingerprints in various places on newspapers, then lifting the prints using paint powders and lifting tape. They then studied the prints for ridge characteristics that make the print identifiable to a specific person.
“I have loved utilizing labs for the various sections of the class because it is a way the students can practice what they learned thus far,” said Ms. Walker.
Forensics is a senior level science elective focused on the applications of all fields of science to law related incidences. Students enjoy learning practices that will apply in various forensic fields.“This lab was awesome in showing how detectives have to have a lot of patience and skill in searching for fingerprints in the field,” said student Neal Dave.
The Next Jeff Gordon?
Last week Dawgs 360 hosted a night for parents to educate themselves on issues concerning drugs, alcohol and social media. Investigator Sam Duff and Captain Darren Vinson from the Walton County Sheriff's Department dropped by to discussed with parents how alcohol and drugs can affect an entire family. They provided information on current trends, symptoms and statistics specific to Walton County. Teachers Mrs. Stapp and Mrs. Gudnason discussed the role social media plays in these issues. The presenters encouraged parents to be their children’s biggest influence on their decisions regarding alcohol, drugs and social media.
Tutus for Tots
Beta & NHS members volunteered after school to make tutus for Children’s Hospital of Atlanta for kids with long-term illness and disabilities. Barbara Mock, the founder of Tutu Capers for TuTu-Riffik Kidz and former GWA counselor, Barbara Kutchback brought the supplies to lead us in this service project. Mrs. Mock’s foundation meets multiple times a month to make tutus and superhero capes and she travels to schools & clubs. They deliver once a month between CHOA (Egleston) & Scottish Rite and have currently delivered more than 8000! GWA students & teachers made 24 tutus! Even Mr. Jones came by & made a tutu!
Middle School Tennis Finishes Undefeated
It was a season to remember! GWA girls middle school tennis team beat Lake Oconee Academy 5-0 to finish out a phenomenal 12-0 season! Coach Chiara Di Salvo Roqué said, “I am proud of how hard we’ve worked and how hard we’ve fought throughout the season. We are looking to improve even more and are feeling confident about the future of George Walton tennis.” Congrats to all!
Big Win for Baseball
The varsity baseball team had a great win 11-1 against Athens Christian at home this past Monday. They play at home on Thursday, April 19 against Prince Avenue followed by their last home game on Fri., April 20 against Chestatee at 5:55 p.m. Come out and cheer on the Bulldogs!
Celebrating Our Seniors
Congratulations to our golf and soccer seniors! These athletes played their last GWA home outing this week. Best wishes in their future adventures!
Golf seniors include Jackson Cornelius, Austin Bell, Haynes Waldo, Lucy Walker. Soccer seniors are Eli Lindsey, Noah White, Sydney Jerman, Sara Marchman, Megan McGoldrick, Haley Russell, and Kaitlyn Rutledge.
A Born Performer
by Izzy Ott, senior
Ever since I was a K4 student at GWA, I’ve loved to perform. My passion for fine arts comes from my big family full of singers and actors. Mrs. Debbie Dyer was my first music teacher, and in elementary school her class was my favorite. We would always dance, sing, act, and just have fun. My favorite memory from that class was when I was selected in the fourth grade, alongside my classmate Dory Berry, to be an assistant director for the Christmas musical. That’s when I knew that the fine arts life was for me.
During fifth grade, you decided whether to take either chorus or band. I chose chorus with Mrs. Kristen Donaldson mainly because my mom wanted to see if I had inherited the singer/performer gene. In our dessert theatre, my best friend Susanna Grimsley and I sang the duet “Anything You Can Do” from the movie musical Annie Get Your Gun. That is when my parents noticed that I can actually sing, and they were so excited and shocked. After that night, I began auditioning and receiving main roles in the musicals in chorus. I performed in High School Musical (as Taylor McKessie), Wizard of Oz (as Glinda), Seussical (as Gertrude McFuzz), Into the Woods (as Rapunzel), and The Little Mermaid (as Ariel).
I also enjoyed being part of some plays, which are the equivalent of musicals, just without singing. My biggest honor was being part of the original cast of "1001 Weimaraners: A 101 Dalmatians Parody", which was written and directed by GWA Alumni Joseph Johnson. I played the infamous and very funny Genie. I even had the opportunity to relive my role of Genie in a short film that was a sequel to the play. I was also a part of Almost Maine (as Glory, Gayle, Hope) and Salem’s Daughter (as Jeannie). I would not be the person I am today without the support of Mrs. Debbie Dyer, Mrs. Kristen Donaldson, Miss Ammie Bruce, and Mrs. Rhonda Grundy. They have always been there for me through the tough times in life and have celebrated with me in the high parts of my life. I would like to end this article with my favorite quote from William Shakespeare “If music be the food of love, play on."
Spring Piano Recital
Did you know that the GWA Piano Studio has 70 students who are currently taking group or private piano lessons? Chances are you might know some of our talented musicians! Join us this Sunday, April 22 at either 1:30 or 3:00pm in the Auditorium for our spring piano recitals. Hear classics from Chopin and Kabalevsky, as well as some selections from your favorite movies. It’s the GWA Piano Studio meets Hollywood!
We The People
3rd Grade: 8:30 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Lower School Gym
4th Grade: 10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Lower School Gym
Spring Band Performance
Bullpup Band and Percussion Theatre Concert
A Need to Not Be Needed
This summer, in preparation for beginning her social work graduate program this fall, GWA alumna Kelley Delchamps (’13) will intern in the village of Oyuma in Kenya this summer with an organization called Living Hope as a social work intern. After spending a few weeks last summer volunteering with the children there, she knew that she wanted to go for a longer time.
When asked what the purpose of her trip was, Delchamps listed several jobs including mentoring children, helping abandoned children find sanctuary at the home, securing sponsorship for kids and much more. However, she did say that there is a more long term goal to the mission:
“My vision for ministry as a whole especially in rural Kenya is to no longer be needed… I want to invest in the community so I can train them and encourage them to invest in the children, so that one day they aren't dependent on western help. So the vision is to no longer be needed.”
GWA is proud to have alumni who recognize global needs and help the world in ways that are sustainable and long-term minded. If you are interested in learning more about Living Hope or in partnering with Delchamps during her time in Kenya, you can find more information here.
On the Road with Mr. Clancy
As part of GWA's commitment to continuing education for our faculty and staff, Michael Clancy, our Director of College Counseling, is joining about 90 other college counselors from around the world at a conference hosted by Vanderbilt University in Nashville. These visits provide a great opportunity for our counselor to see what it might be like for our graduates to attend a particular university. In addition to seeing student housing and other facilities, he will have the chance to observe the environs around the campus. Additionally, he will learn from college counseling colleagues from across the globe. On the way back Friday, Mr. Clancy will attend a similar conference hosted by Berry College in Rome, Georgia. Check back next week for a complete report on Mr. Clancy's travels.
May 22 - Colleges That Change Lives Fair
CTCL is a group of small, liberal arts, primarily undergraduate, teaching colleges that are regionally well known and have graduate school placement rates better than most Ivy League schools. Go to http://ctcl.org for more information.