In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 3, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Football State Playoff Game: Dec. 4 at Christian Heritage
  • Home Basketball Games: Dec. 5
  • Gingerbread Christmas: Dec. 6 @ 4 p.m.
  • Piano Recitals: Dec. 6 @ 1 & 3 p.m.
  • Christmas Tree Presentation: Dec. 11 (limited attendance)
  • Reading Day: Dec.14
  • Exam Week: Dec. 15 - 18 (schedule below)
  • Early Dismissal: Dec. 18 (see below)
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Christmas Joy


Like an arctic winter blast coming down from the North – Christmas spirit sweeps in and covers our campus through sights, sounds, and even smells! Christmas cheer and signs of the season are found at every turn. A large outdoor Nativity scene is prominently displayed, twinkling lights are strung high and low, Christmas trees are uniquely decorated, artwork and even classroom work have Christmas themes and our December events center on the holiday that GWA Bulldogs celebrate like no other.


Our Gingerbread Christmas is a new tradition that invites our greater community on campus to celebrate the season and enjoy festive décor and fun activities. This year’s Gingerbread Christmas will be a drive-thru event for our GWA community and will celebrate “Christmas Around the World.” Students, parents, faculty, and staff have all contributed to the incredible handmade decorations with an international theme and we look forward to passing out goodies to those driving through. Some have crafted gingerbread houses as part of this year’s contest, while others used their talents to be a part of a special Christmas celebration video.


The annual Christmas Tree Presentation is highly anticipated – as seniors present a custom tree to their first graders that is cherished for years to come. Our senior parents go all out to decorate for the event and seniors and first graders wear their holiday best (some even wear matching outfits!). We can’t wait to see all of the trees next week!


From math to STEM, classroom lessons and projects have incorporated the Christmas theme. Our kindergarten students painted Rudolph and wrote their Christmas wish lists, third graders were tasked with building the tallest Christmas tree structure from wrapping paper, while fifth-grade math students made and displayed a “factor tree.”


Our fine arts department always makes the season bright! Our GWA band is preparing for their annual Christmas concert – an event that will surely put you in the Christmas spirit and an appearance by Santa makes the evening even merrier! Our AP art students are busy painting Christmas murals on the cafeteria windows for all to enjoy while the sounds of the season flow from our piano and guitar labs. In lower school music classes, students are learning about the Nutcracker story and ballet and are incorporating motion and movement from African American spirituals and songs from other countries into their lessons.


The magic of Christmas is best seen through the eyes of a child and to celebrate the season on campus with our students is a joy to behold. We wish everyone happiness throughout the holidays and a very merry Christmas!

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Please click HERE for details on Reading Day (Dec. 14) and middle and high school exam week.
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Working Together

Mrs. Côté’s Natural Disasters, Pandemics and Geopolitics class used Thursday’s class period to do the Focus Ring teamwork exercise. This activity centers around a steel ring with nylon strings attached, and students have to work together to keep the ring steady in order to carry a tennis ball from the ground and place it on a cone or pedestal. Different variations included students being “blind” and having to be given instructions by a handler, or a variation where everyone has to be silent except for 1-2 students who take the lead. After successful completion of those two variations, students attempted an even more difficult variation when a marker was placed in the steel ring and they had to write the word “teamwork”. The activity didn’t just allow students to practice teamwork and better understand what makes a great team, but they also took time to debrief the ways that each variation of the activity can be compared to situations that they have and will encounter in their real lives.


This activity was used as the kick-off for the unit they started this week on “Global Teamwork for Future Success”. Students in Mrs. Côté’s class have already studied mother nature as a geopolitical force, the changing significance of borders, uncertainty and global supply chains, US-China relations, and will wrap up the course by focusing on the next 50 years and how pandemics and natural disasters will drive geopolitics.

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Christmas Challenge

Third-grade STEM students were tasked, in the spirit of Christmas, to build the tallest Christmas tree structure out of wrapping paper. Working in partners they put their minds to the engineering challenge and with one sheet of wrapping paper and some tape planned and worked together to create free-standing structures with Christmas cheer.

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Cast Your Vote!


Be sure to visit our Facebook page to "vote" for your favorite gingerbread house! This year's Gingerbread Contest winner will be determined by popular vote. See the photos of our six entries and like or share your favorite one. The entry with the most likes and shares by noon on Sunday, Dec. 6 will be declared the first-place winner for $100! The entry with the next highest number of likes and shares wins second place for $75!


Thank you to all of our participants for their creative designs!

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Exams are Coming - It Must Be Close to Christmas!

By Lynn Robinson

Director of School Counseling


In less than three weeks, semester break will be here and we’ll be out of school preparing for Christmas and working up to our New Year festivities. If you are like me, you’ll be glad to see the back of 2020. It’s been a tough, tough year. But last week during Thanksgiving Break, I had a chance to watch my all time favorite Christmas movie, White Christmas, and that old crooner, Bing Crosby, sang “Count Your Blessings.” Last year for my December In Focus article, I talked about the blessings I have here at GWA. I thought I would do the same this year.


Please know that this is in no particular order:

  1. The Counseling Departments won the Best Halloween Group Costume Award. We dressed up as the Addams Family. We looked SCARY, especially Mr. Terrell.
  2. The Class of 2020 was able to have a Commencement ceremony that wasn’t on-line.
  3. Libba Ford is a force of nature. She handles so many situations, often at the same time. I watch her with the students, and I am grateful that our students have her in the Clinic when they are not feeling well. She takes care of us all.
  4. Tanya Rainford and Vickie Rollins make the school run smoothly. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go into the Front Office and not have those ladies there. They make it worth coming through the school’s door.
  5. I work with fantastic faculty and staff. This year has proven what amazing people they really are. They have been rock solid all semester.
  6. Colleges acceptances are rolling in and our seniors are thinking seriously about their future plans
  7. We are still having a Gingerbread Christmas. Not even COVID can stop us from enjoying Christmas fun together.
  8. The GWA Marching Bulldogs are three-time Grand Champions! They make us proud!
  9. Our Athletes are proving that they “got game.” Go Dogs!
  10. Blessings are found in the people around us, and this fact makes me truly fortunate to be at GWA.


May you and your family have a blessed holiday.

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Merry Music

By Debbie Dyer


After Thanksgiving break, students are delighted to enter our lower school music classes as they are met with twinkling white lights and a small, decorated, white Christmas tree! Throughout December, K3-5th grades are learning about The Nutcracker story and ballet, for which Russian composer, Peter Tchaikovsky, wrote the musical score. Based on grade level, different classes will do scarf movements, body percussion, instrument play-alongs, and bucket drumming to various musical selections from the ballet, while exploring musical terms and concepts.


Students will also do motions and movement to African American spirituals and songs from other countries, use items from their instrument kits to read rhythms to Christmas carols, and learn sign language to Away in a Manger, and other carols. For the younger children, the story of Jesus’ birth will also be brought to life through use of Nativity scene characters and books. Older grades are engaging in cup rhythms and bucket drumming to Christmas songs to strengthen their beat-keeping and rhythm reading skills. Lower school music is busy preparing for a merry and bright Christmas!

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Cast Named for "Almost, Maine"

Congratulations to the cast members of “Almost, Maine”! The play is written by John Cariani and is comprised of nine short plays that explore love and loss in a remote, mythical almost-town called Almost, Maine. The George Walton Drama Dawgs are currently scheduled to perform at the GHSA One Act Competition in January – with additional tentatively scheduled performances.
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Christmas Fun

Dance is busy preparing Christmas dances for their “Oh What Fun” performance. Be sure to check out their dance routine segments from the performance in GWA's Virtual Christmas Celebration. The video will be shared on our website this Sunday. The dancers also created a Costa Rican Christmas card.

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Made with Love

Our Bulldog families have put their heart and soul into crafting decorated (cardboard) Christmas trees and ornaments with an international theme for our upcoming Gingerbread Christmas. Each wonderful piece has a story to tell. The Turner family chose to make a design that shows a Christmas tree on a beach in Bermuda – where Frank and Loy honeymooned and have returned to since as a family. Josh and Tara Gill met while serving in the Peace Corps and their Christmas tree and ornament reflect their memories from time spent in Macedonia. Lisa Pulliam and her family chose Germany – a country near and dear to their hearts. Student Gabby Rainford made a special tree for Jamaica - the country her family is from and a place she can't wait to visit again.


These projects go above and beyond Christmas decoration – they show sentiment, love and a truly personal touch. Thank you to all who have participated in creating these exceptional works of art!

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Playoffs Continue on the Road

Our George Walton Academy Bulldogs take on Christian Heritage in round two of the State Playoffs this Friday. Spectators are invited to attend. Admission is $10 at the gate or tickets may be purchased online at GoFan. Face coverings are highly recommended, and you may bring a chair to sit on the track for more social distancing. The address for the school is – 1600 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dalton, GA 30721.GO BULLDOGS!

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Hoops @ Home

**Please note the information regarding game attendance has been amended since the release of this newsletter** Please disregard information below and click HERE for updated protocols.



Our middle school and varsity basketball teams are set to play at home this Saturday. Fans may pay admission at the gate (as long as vouchers remain and Dawgs 360 members are free with voucher). Please keep in mind that attendance is limited to a maximum of 350 spectators at any given time. Tickets vouchers are given to players and the opposing team. Face coverings are REQUIRED at all times. Concessions will be limited.


Come out to cheer on the Dawgs!

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Glory Days

On December 3, 2003, the Walton Tribune joined our GWA community in celebrating the win of the 2003 GISA AAA State Championship. The team defeated Tattnall Square Academy 34-0 in Macon capping off an amazing 14-0 season. The 2003 football team recorded the first undefeated season in GWA history!

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Suburban Construction. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.
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