In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

May 16, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Upper School Awards: May 16 @ 7 p.m.
  • Baccalaureate: May 17 @ 7 p.m.
  • Graduation: May 18 @ 11 a.m.
  • Rising Senior Parent Meeting: May 20 @ 6 p.m.
  • GWA New Parent Dinner: May 21 @ 6 p.m.
  • K5 Graduation: May 23 @ 7 p.m.
  • Fifth-Grade Graduation: May 24 @ 9 a.m.
  • Last Day of School/Early Dismissal: May 24
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The Annual Loyalty Fund is the most important fundraiser at GWA. As you know, we have our major push in the fall, but the campaign doesn’t formally close until June 30. So, if you’ve made a pledge - or would like to – now is the final push to get this year’s commitments in the books!

Tuition dollars alone do not cover the cost of your child's education and every donation goes to work immediately for the benefit of our students. Thank you to all who have contributed, and to all who plan to give by June 30!

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Global Studies - What's Next

What's Next for GWA Global Studies?

Over the past several weeks, we've shared aspects of GWA's global studies program and how these experiences make a lasting difference in the lives of our students. We encourage you to watch this week's video to learn WHAT'S NEXT!
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GWA Receives EF Global Education Excellence Award

George Walton Academy has received national recognition for excellence in global education from EF High School Exchange Year, the leader in high school exchange.

The EF High School Exchange Year Global Education Excellence Award is presented annually to high schools that demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to international understanding and global awareness. GWA was one of a select group of high schools and districts recognized across the United States for the 2018-19 school year. Read more.

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Student Trip of a Lifetime to Croatia

Where: Croatia

When: June 8-16, 2020

Cost: $3,990 – includes airfare, all accommodation/transportation costs, excursions, medical insurance, all breakfasts and some dinners

Who: Upper school students (must have completed freshman year by May 2020)

Why: Croatia is perhaps one of the most unique countries in Europe, and sits on the opposite side of the Mediterranean as Italy. The country is known for its incredible natural beauty and cinematographic history, hosting one of the HBO's most popular shows Game of Thrones. George Walton students and trip leaders will embark on an experience of a lifetime, zip-lining across the Cetina River, exploring the famous Plitvice Lakes, sea kayaking on the island of Hvar, and touring the famous historical structures that made Game of Thrones what it was!

For more information, or to register, go to

Questions? Contact Femke Côté at

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Laura Henry will bring her expertise and experience in elementary education to GWA's third grade this fall. Laura has served schools in Winterville and Chattanooga and holds a master's degree in elementary education, as well as a bachelor's degree in human ecology and family studies. With eight years of coaching experience, Laura will also assist with our cross country and track programs. "I am blessed and excited to be working at GWA," said Laura. "I can't wait to work with the amazing faculty and families at GWA!"

George Walton welcomes the return of Jackie Vadney to the Academy to teach third grade. She may be a familiar face to some of you as she taught second grade here at GWA from 2006-2010. She has a bachelor's degree in early childhood education and many years of experience teaching at area schools. She is also a published children's book author and has been recognized by her peers and by the Atlanta Gas and Light company for her work. Jackie tells us "The difference between public school and GWA is night and day. At GWA, a teacher teaches all day with very little disruptions. The priority at GWA is exceptional education. I want to be a part of that again! This is why I am coming back - to TEACH at GWA. I miss teaching students who want to learn."

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Outstanding Bulldogs Receive Award

Taryn Shelnutt and Jake Gray have each received the Vincent J. Dooley Award! This is award is presented by Athletes for a Better World and the GHSA to athletes who have demonstrated outstanding individual character, teamwork and citizenship. Congratulations, Taryn and Jake!
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YAB Inductees Announced!

The Walton County Youth Advocacy Board is part of Walton County Youth Development and is comprised of high school students from around the county. YAB members provide information and engagement on teen-related issues with other students while giving a voice to our youth through advocacy within the community.

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Third Graders Show Us How

Third-grade students shared their how-to knowledge with classmates last week- demonstrating everything from how to make a smoothie to how to give your dog a bath. Some students chose to create and show a video while others gave a step by step demonstration in class complete with samples for tasting. Well done, third graders!
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Seasons of Change

By Lindsey Bailey, Lower School Counselor

With only ONE week of school left, we find ourselves in yet another time of transition, from…

...spring to summer

...classrooms to camp to vacation

...lower/middle/high/college to middle/high/college/real world

Maybe you or someone you know is also in transition from being...

...single to married

...sans kids to suddenly new parents

...a full-time parent to an empty nester

...working to retired

We all go through seasons of change throughout life, but this is the time of year when it is most apparent and celebrated. Everyone loves congratulating a graduate or a newly retired friend! However, we sometimes forget to make space for the difficult feelings (e.g. worry, sadness, fear) also associated with major (or minor) life changes. It is kind to congratulate your friends on their achievements, but try not to assume they are solely happy about it. Instead of saying “I bet you can’t wait to __!”, ask “How are you feeling about __?” This allows the person to share any feelings, good or bad, if they choose.

If you are a person going through a major life change, make room for your own feelings by

reflecting on the experience you are leaving and the experience you are beginning. Here are

some questions that will help you do both.

1. Reflecting on the Past

Consider these questions as you look back on the experience that is ending:

● What was a favorite lesson that you learned during ___?

● When did you feel most proud of yourself in ___?

● What is something that you will never forget that happened in ___?

● Name someone who helped you in ___. What did they do?

● What was something you struggled with in ___? How did you overcome it?

● What advice would you give someone new to ___?

2. Looking Forward to the Future

Consider these questions as you look ahead to the next chapter of your life:

● What is something you are excited about ___?

● What is something that scares you about ___?

● What questions do you have about ___? Who can you ask?

● What is one goal you have for ___?

● Who can you ask for help during ___ if you need it?

● Name one thing you know you can do well in ___.

Happy reflecting, and thanks for a great year!

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From Every Angle

The culmination of a year’s worth of learning, competing, creating, socializing, growing, playing and working hard has been captured in George Walton Academy’s 49th yearbook, Résumé. The Class of 2019 proudly dedicated this year’s edition to math teacher Mrs. Paula Allen during Monday’s yearbook presentation.

The book’s theme- “From Every Angle” examines, highlights and celebrates GWA Bulldog life in every aspect at every age telling our collective story within its beautiful pages. Congratulations to yearbook advisor Mrs. Liz Jones and her staff, including editor-in-chief Chloe McGraw, junior editor Jenna Lo, Morgan Butler, Adam Scruggs, Lauren Holley, Josie Evans, Natalie Lucas, Abby Stone, Julia Waldo and Kilissa Gasaway!

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Leadership In Action

The annual upper school student council meeting was all about student leadership, persuasion and even some inspiration from a few Google searches as the group plans themes and events for next year’s student life activities. We can’t wait to find out what they have in store!

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2020 Seniors Claim Their "Spaces"

The GWA class of 2020 arrived on campus well before the sun came up to get first dibs on prime senior parking spots for next year. They will paint their spots over the summer as part of our Paint Your Parking Spot tradition. We can wait see their unique designs!
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May 20-24 is exam week for eighth through 11th grade students. Attendance on Reading Day is required for students with an average lower than “A” in any of their classes. This will be a half day for students to review with their teachers. Students eighth grade through 11th only NEED to be on campus Tuesday-Friday during their exam periods. Juniors will be exempt from any exams of classes in which they have an “A.” Every exam day next week will be an early release at 12:30 for students in grades 8-11, with optional exam help every day from 12:30 p.m - 3:45 p.m. Good luck to all of our students taking exams!

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We Love Our Teachers!

GWA families and students spoiled us with breakfast, lunch, delicious treats, thank you notes, flowers and all kinds of gifts to express their appreciation for faculty and staff. We certainly felt appreciated, blessed and thankful during Teacher Appreciation Week!
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Photo Finish

By Mr. Brian Cole, Fine Arts Department Chair

Mr. Cole’s photography class is wrapping up the year by exploring tintype photography, a historic process that was first developed in the late 19th century.

While many classes are reviewing for exams and winding down, we are using this time to experiment with tintypes. This is a process that I have always been interested in but never had the time to explore. A tintype is a positive photograph that is taken on a thin metal plate. The image is created by coating a blackened sheet of metal with a thin layer of collodion-nitrocellulose solution immediately before exposure. The entire process must be completed before the plate has a chance to dry. After several failed attempts, we were able to successfully work out how to light our subjects, prepare and process the metal plates, and how to properly expose our images. It is a perfect lesson to help the students experience the process early photographers had to endure to produce images.

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Taking the Leap at State

Let's hear it for our GWA track stars! Congratulations to Brelan Holston who placed second in state in the triple jump and Kendall Garrett who placed eighth in the long jump. Way to end the year strong!

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Youth Lax Bulldogs on Top!

CHAMPS!!! Youth lacrosse wins the league championship- beating Park-Norc in overtime 7-6! Marcus Porter named MVP! This was their inaugural season with many first time players. Incredible job!
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New Offerings With Next Year's Corporate Partnership Program

We are in the process of inviting businesses to join us as a Corporate Partner for the 2019-2020 year. A new feature for our program next year is the ability to run sales fliers in a digital newsletter that we will send out bi-weekly. Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812 if you would like more information.