In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

June 18, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Dawgs 360 Canned Food Drive: July 23
  • Fall Sports Physicals: July 28
  • Fall Sports Picture Days: Aug. 5 & 6 (see details below)
  • Bulldog Bonanza: Aug. 5 & 6
  • Campus Clean Up Day: Aug. 8
  • Open House: Aug. 16 & 17 (details coming soon)
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The Power of Reading

With more down time over the summer, and potentially less travel or vacation time planned in light of the coronavirus pandemic, we are encouraging students to read at least one book over the summer in place of digital entertainment. Middle school students have already received their summer reading assignment (see “Academic News” section below), and high school students are being strongly encouraged to peruse our book list – or find a selection of their own – to enjoy. Click HERE to view our summer reading recommendations.


GWA’s reading initiative is based on data that demonstrates that this generation of students is experiencing a seismic shift in the way that they entertain themselves, including the following points:


  • Teens are reading, but they’re reading short texts and Instagram captions, not longform articles that require critical thinking. Screen-based reading is characterized by browsing and scanning, keyword spotting, and nonlinear movement through the text. Online readers demonstrate decreased sustained attention for longer texts.


  • A meta-analysis conducted by the International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English shows that “leisure reading” helps students develop the sustained attention and focus that is beneficial for problem solving and analysis. Also, students who read find school easier, have a more positive attitude about school, are better writers, have stronger vocabularies, have better grammar, and perform better on standardized tests.


  • Reading is healthy. One study showed that reading reduces stress by 68% and is more effective for stress reduction than listening to music, having a cup of tea, or taking a walk.


  • Reading fiction builds empathy. As Carol Jago, a past president of the National Council of English Teachers reports, “We are living in an increasingly polarized world. Books offer access to lives and stories outside of the boundaries of our limited first-hand experience.”


  • The world’s largest study of K-12 reading habits found that “six extra minutes of reading per day can turn a struggling reader into one who meets or surpasses their grade’s benchmark.” Recreational reading keeps students in condition for school.


We hope you find a book on this list to enjoy – and that you come back and tell us about it in the fall. Happy reading!


Femke Côté

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Students received information regarding summer assignments and required reading from their teachers via email, and for easy access we have uploaded all summer work assignments for all levels to ParentsWeb under Resource Documents. All middle school grades have required reading assignments and high school students do not, with the exception of AP English. The following AP classes have summer assignments:



  • AP U.S. History
  • AP Economics
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Government
  • AP Language
  • AP Literature
  • AP Biology
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Chemistry


Supply lists, the recommended reading list (optional for middle and high school students) and the 2020 - 2021 Student/Family Handbook can also be found in Resource Documents.

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Looking Ahead

As part of GWA’s ongoing efforts to keep our community informed of plans for the 2020-2021 school year, we have recently provided updates in the form of a video recap from Dr. Dolan’s May meetings with parents, faculty and staff as well as a PDF document that outlines major points of the plan for the upcoming year. Please click HERE to access these updates on our website.


GWA continues to monitor the guidelines issued by the CDC, as well as state and local government authorities as we review and evaluate our "Back to Campus" plan, and modifications will be made as needed.

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Corporate Partnership Deadline Friday, June 19

Market your business services or products to our GWA community of parents, grandparents, alumni and friends. Not only will you gain valuable exposure to potential customers, you provide resources that enable our students to have challenging instruction, engaging experiences and global perspectives.


This year we have added greater flexibility with your advertising by adding Dawg Dollars to better customize your package. Deadline to sign up for the 2020-2021 year is Friday, June 19. Click HERE to see all the benefits. Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com for more details.

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Making GWA Stronger Than Ever

Thank you to all within our George Walton Academy community who joined in making GWA stronger than ever. Your support has been instrumental in creating the unique GWA environment that allowed our students to not only succeed, but to excel despite all that the Spring semester tossed their way. If you have not had the opportunity to participate, June 30 is the last day to contribute to the 2019-2020 Annual Loyalty Fund. All gifts received by that date will be reflected in the Annual Report.


Thank you for making GWA stronger than ever!

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Your everyday shopping can help GWA! Publix is coming to Monroe, Kroger has toilet paper again and Amazon is running on time. Did you know taking a few minutes to register your online accounts will earn GWA a portion of purchases? Yes, a portion of your toilet paper, beach bag or air fryer will go directly to GWA. Please register your shopping accounts by following the directions HERE. Then, designate GWA as your community partner and confirm at check out!


The tax man cometh in July. With the tax extension many families and businesses are talking taxes this summer. If you have been wondering about the GOAL tax credit opportunity and how you might be able to redirect your personal or business tax liability to GWA now is a great time get your questions answered. 100% dollar-for-dollar state tax credits are now available for 2020 and 2021! Contact Tara Gill with questions: tgill@gwa.com.

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Summer Camps Continue

GWA activities don’t stop when the school year ends! Our summer camps offer summer fun and enrichment for all ages! This year’s camps are being limited to smaller sizes, we are following set procedures for cleaning surfaces, and emphasizing regular hand washing.


Registration for each camp closes the Friday of the week prior to the camp start date, as these are the dates on which decisions will be made if there are not enough registrants for that camp. Registering as early as possible helps us make sure we can accommodate everyone. Pre-registration is required. Camps run through the first week of August.


Please contact Heather Dokes at hdokes@gwa.com with any questions. Click the link below to register for GWA Summer Camps.


https://bit.ly/GWASummerCamps

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The Capsule Closes on July 27!

Students and Parents,

As we continue to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of George Walton Academy and all that it means to us, we would like to invite our students to participate in a collective Time Capsule project to be opened in 2070.


Examples of items that students may contribute could include but are not limited to:

  • Academic, Athletic, or Club memorabilia
  • Examples of student art
  • Hand-written letters about their experiences (use this template and email to mreynolds@gwa.com)
  • Pictures/Albums
  • Important technology (obviously something you don’t need anymore, iPhones have already been submitted)


If you wish to contribute, bring your item/s to the front office between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. by Monday, July 27. Any questions or concerns, please contact Matt Reynolds at mreynolds@gwa.com

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Save the Dates for Fall Sports Photos!

Aug. 5 – 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Middle and High School Sports*

Aug. 6 - 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Youth Sports*


*These are approximate times for our schedules, but the days and schedules are subject to change. Your coaches should be able to get you info about exact dates and times in the coming weeks, but please consider saving both of these dates, just in case.

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Don’t forget to pick up your yearbook in the front office during our summer office hours, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

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Are You Ready to Shop?

In addition to the Bulldog Bonanza event (see under Dawgs 360) - there will be other opportunities to boost your GWA wardrobe! For your convenience, we will sponsor an online shop beginning July 1. The shop will offer dress code approved apparel and accessories. The shop will close on 7/20 and all purchased items will ship to your home. The link will be up on the school website (on the Dawg Shop page).


Lands' End is offering discounts and free logo embroidery in the month of July. A link to the Lands' End site can be found on the Dawg Shop page. Be sure to shop within the GWA store and shop early for timely delivery.

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Bulldog Bonanza is Back!

Mark your calendar for our upcoming Bulldog Bonanza! This event is a great opportunity to get an early start on the school year and beat the Open House rush that will also coincide with Fall Sports Picture Days on August 5 and 6. Dawgs 360 will offer a gently used uniform sale and membership for the new school year from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on August 5 and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on August 6 in the cafeteria. The Dawg Shop will be open during this time with new spirit wear and uniform items. If you would like to donate uniforms prior to the sale, please contact Elizabeth McDonel at emdonel@gwa.com for more information.

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Can Hunger in Walton County

Dawgs 360 is teaming up with GWA softball and baseball teams for a canned good drive! We will be accepting donations of canned goods Thursday, July 23 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. To donate, simply drive thru and drop off at the Dawgs 360 office. These collections will support our Walton County local food banks.

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Mark Your Calendar!

Campus Clean Up is Saturday, August 8 at 8 a.m. The Campus is looking great and we are gearing up for the new school year! Please join us for our annual Campus Clean Up as we knock out the final sprucing up of campus. Along with extra hands, we need a few rakes, shovels, leaf blowers and a couple of pressure washers for the playground on the hill. Please RSVP and don’t forget your gloves! emcdonel@gwa.com

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Sports physicals will be offered to upper school athletes at GWA (free of charge) on Tuesday, July 28, 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. at the field house. The required forms are available on ParentsWeb under Resource Documents. Please contact Coach Whitley with any questions.
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