In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 3, 2022

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • GWA Open House: Feb. 6
  • Spring Sports Photos: Feb. 10 & 17 (see below)
  • Winter Break: Feb. 18 - 21
  • Lucky Dawg Gala and Benefit Auction: Feb. 26
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Room to Grow

By Kennedy Johnson

Mr. Cole’s Sustainable Living class is taking full advantage of our new learning space, the GWA campus greenhouse. Upper-school students have been split into four groups to research and come up with plans to grow tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and flowers. The goal is to keep the plants alive for the entire semester and to teach the students how to grow their own food. Research charts were made in order to keep track of the data collected throughout the semester. Mr. Cole hopes to be able to give some of the food away to faculty and staff to take home to use for their own.

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Keeping Current

In GWA’s new Video Production and Communications class, upper school students are focused on content created “by the students for the students.” In this class they are learning to use Canva – a graphic design platform, filming and editing their own videos, and sharing school-related content of interest to their peers. Students will present a weekly news program and keep fellow Bulldogs in the know with informative graphics displayed on the cafeteria television monitors.

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Fifth Grade Champs

On Tuesday, Feb. 1, our 51 GWA fifth graders graduated from the Walton County Sheriff’s Department C.H.A.M.P.S. program. C.H.A.M.P.S. is a class that all fifth graders attend during the school day to learn various important life skills including how to make good choices and the consequences of those choices, the dangers of using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, internet safety, and peer pressure. The students were taught by Lt. Charlie Rodriquez from the Sheriff’s Office.

As a requirement for graduation, students were asked to make a poster on one of the six topics they were taught during the course and first, second, and third place winners from each homeroom were selected.

Mrs. Gunnin’s homeroom:

  • Maddie McClain
  • Alex Gervais
  • Camille DesOrmeaux

Mrs. Hutter’s homeroom:

  • Audrey Maddox - Overall winner
  • Emma Konik
  • Hayden Hines

Ms. Lovett’s homeroom:

  • Sumner McClain
  • Maddie Maxwell
  • Nate Simon

Each homeroom teacher was asked to choose one student from each homeroom to be awarded the top prize for each C.H.A.M.P.S. course, the coveted stuffed dog, Champ. The three winners for this award went to Elias S., Audrey Maddox, and Carson Rickard. These students were exceptional examples of respectfulness, attentiveness, and added to the lesson by thoughtful questions and participation.

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State-bound Swimmers

Our varsity Swim Dawgs are headed to State! All of the 6 a.m. practices and persistence throughout the season have paid off. Good luck to our state-qualified swimmers and alternates:

MK Dopp

Emma Dopp

Sarah Digby

McKenna Rutledge

Ella Rowan

Jake Stout

Charlie Stout

Jake Moore

Timothy Pham

River Morrow

Baylor Lingner

Caleb King

Selena Quintana

Riley Root

Reese Behnke

Jackson Rutledge


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Grapplers Look to Qualify

GWA wrestlers Perry Jake Stone and Adam Denhardt look to qualify for State this weekend at Sectionals. Good luck, Bulldogs!
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Last Regular Home Game

Come out to cheer on the varsity basketball teams and support our senior players and cheerleaders this Friday night! Both teams head into post-season play next week (starting Tuesday for girls and Wednesday for boys) as George Walton Academy hosts the Region Tournament.
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Spring Sports Photo Dates

Be sure to mark your calendar for the remaining spring sports photo dates:

  • 2/10 Track (youth, middle school and varsity), Baseball (middle school and varsity) and Tennis (middle school and varsity) - time TBD
  • 2/17 Lacrosse (youth, middle school, upper school), Soccer (middle school and varsity), and Golf - time TBD

Photo order forms are available in the front office and may be found on ParentsWeb under Resource Documents. Please contact coaches for further details.

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Almost Sold Out!

Make plans to join us for our 2022 Lucky Dawg Gala and Benefit Auction! This year's event will be held in Monroe at The Factory at Walton Mill. Not only will the most-anticipated event of the year take place at a new venue, we will be welcoming Seth "Your Rocktioneer," and enjoying delicious food by Epting Events. We want to thank our sponsors and invite others to join us for an evening to benefit our students. We are also currently soliciting items for the event. Contact Jeanie Beach at if you would like to donate something to the auction.

Click HERE for more details about the event and to purchase tickets.

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Choose Your Destination!

This year we have kicked our raffle up a notch and we are allowing you to pick from FOUR fabulous locations when you purchase a raffle ticket! Click HERE to download a flier with rules and information. Forms need to be turned in to Jeanie Beach in the Advancement Office to be entered into the raffle. The drawing will be held at the Lucky Dawg Gala and Benefit Auction on Saturday, Feb. 26. You do not have to be present to win. Sales are limited to only 100 tickets - so don't delay and miss out on purchasing a ticket.

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Have You Signed Up?

Please consider participating in the 2022 GOAL Tax Credit earlier this year! We received word from GOAL that they submitted $37.3 million in tax credit applications on the first business day of the year. This amount exceeds their 2021 “Opening Day” submissions by $7 million. There is no doubt the 2022 tax credits will not last nearly as long as they have the past two years. Donors will not be able to wait until later in the year to participate.

GWA needs these tax credit contributions to help fund tuition assistance for qualifying current families and for new families seeking to bring their students to GWA for the 2022-23 school year. Last year, we were able to assist 106 students with these funds across all divisions, 38 of whom were new to GWA.

2022 GOAL Tax Credit Application Link

Please take time to renew your participation and support for the 2022 tax year and the 2022-23 school year. All that is needed right now is to complete the application in the link above. The DOR will have 30 days to approve your application, and you will have 60 days after receiving approval to make your payment. As always, I am happy to complete the application for you, just let me know if you want me to do so.

Thank you!

Jenni Cole

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Admissions Event

Be sure to let friends and neighbors know about our upcoming Open House event! We look forward to welcoming prospective families on Sunday, February 6!
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Congratulations, Mr. Hobbs!

We are proud to share the news that our Head of School Mr. Gary Hobbs is this year’s recipient of the J.L. McGarity Citizenship Award presented by the Walton County Chamber of Commerce. It is a testament to his years of service and commitment to the Walton County community as a member of the United Way Board of Directors, Rotary Club of Monroe, the YMCA Steering Committee, the Walton County Chamber of Commerce, and the Walton County Foundation. Mr. Hobbs is highly regarded for his dedication to education as a former school principal, Walton County Superintendent and a former member of Communities in Schools (now known as Student Success Alliance).

Pictured (left to right): Mike McGarity, Gary Hobbs, Ned Butler.

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The Great Kindness Challenge

“One act of kindness won’t change the world, but it might change one person’s world.”

- unknown

Last week lower school students joined thousands of schools all over the world in the Great Kindness Challenge. They were given a checklist of ideas and encouraged to complete as many random acts of kindness as possible. Why? Because we believe in the power of kindness - it makes us and the people around us happier and healthier. I asked a few students what some of their favorite kind acts from the checklist were, and they said: smile at 25 people, slip a nice note in your friend’s backpack, cut out ten hearts and give them to friends, offer to help Mr. David, and make and hang a kindness matters sign. Students in first - fifth who completed all 50 items on their checklist received a certificate. Although the challenge is over, we can keep the kindness going. Students are encouraged to continue working on their checklists, and parents can download a family version for ideas to spread kindness at home.

Lindsey Bailey

Lower School Counselor

Pictured above - left to right: (back) Aasia-Marie Clark, Ava Gibson, Ava Cown, Hagon Yeater, (front) Addie Trinh, Lana Bellah, Brennan Lemmonds.

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February is Black History Month!

Students will be learning about Black history in the classroom - but check out these ideas for celebrating Black History Month through reading at home. In an article for PBS, children’s book author Cheryl Willis Hudson offered these and other suggestions to help you connect your kids with Black history:

  • Buy a book by a Black author or illustrator and make it a part of your child’s permanent collection. Books offer a fun and easy way to introduce your children to new cultures and to help them explore the experiences of people from different backgrounds.
  • Look for books that are inclusive and reflect the diversity of our communities. Books help illustrate that diversity is a natural part of everyday life.
  • Select books that affirm a valued place for all children. Try to find books that will help prepare children for the complex world in which they live.
  • Make sure your selections include contemporary stories. Celebrate Black culture and experiences, in addition to history, through picture books, chapter books, and poetry.
  • Seek the suggestions and guidance from knowledgeable cultural experts, booksellers, and librarians. Coretta Scott King Award-winning titles are always a good place to start for excellence in text and illustrations.
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T-shirts on Sale Now!

As we gear up for our lower school Grandpirates' Day event on March 18, we are excited to offer two different t-shirt designs for purchase online through midnight February 17. Click HERE to buy online, use the code provided above or visit the Dawg Shop page on our website. All shirts will be delivered to the Dawg Shop prior to the event.
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Missing Something?

A collection of lost and found items is growing on campus! These items may be found in the cafeteria and in the front office. If your child is missing a jacket, water bottle, etc. – please be sure to stop by and check these lost and found locations.

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Meet Jessica Blevins!

I was born and raised in Monroe, and I love working in my hometown. This is my seventh year in the classroom and my third year in first grade at GWA. I received my bachelor’s in early childhood education from The University of Georgia, and I have a master’s in elementary education with a focus on reading and literacy from Walden University. I am also a member of GISA's 2020 Master Teacher Program. My husband and I have a son, Noah, who is in K5. I truly enjoy the simple things in life. Some of my favorite things to do include cooking, reading, and helping with our garden, and I love a good karaoke night.

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Walton Dental Care ( Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.
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