In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

March 14, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Prom: March 22
  • Grandparents' Day: March 22
  • Founder's Day Celebration: March 29

Please see a new section titled: Staffing Announcements.

We encourage you to check In Focus over the next few weeks to meet our newest team members and stay up to date on any staffing transitions. We have added some talented new faculty and staff and look forward to introducing them to you in In Focus.

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Arts Program on the GROW!

GWA is becoming increasingly known for our stand-out fine arts program, from the nationally-acclaimed band and it's myriad of accomplished alumni who have gone on to capture awards and pursue music careers, to former chorus students who are now opera singers, as well as set designers and highly-regarded artists working on impressive projects. A program such as ours deserves the opportunity to reach even greater heights. With that in mind, we are creating more infrastructure within our fine arts program and increasing our efforts to facilitate and nurture even more growth.

The fine arts program will now consist of three primary components, each led by a talented, dedicated, and vision-oriented educator:

  • Visual Arts - Brian Cole
  • Performing Arts - Lynn Flickinger (introduction below)
  • Bands - Christian Smith

"GWA's fine arts program is a source of pride for all of us," said Dr. Dolan. "I am continuously amazed at the high-caliber of our performances, art shows, and concerts. Our talented and creative teachers bring out the best in our students and they are always looking for ways to elevate our programs. In addition to our band, chorus, theater arts and visual arts, we lead the way in breadth of offerings with our sculpture studio and innovative piano lab, plus this year, we added a variety of arts courses during the winter term. Additionally, we have a talented new teacher leading our burgeoning dance program. Our dancers presented their first recital in the fall and it was awesome! The enthusiasm for our arts program has never been greater, and we intend to make it possible for these outstanding programs to continue growing and flourishing."

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We begin with, Mrs. Lynn Flickinger, who will serve as our new Head of Performing Arts and Chorus Director this fall. You'll want to take a few moments to check out her RESUME. It's an interesting and impressive read, filled with directing and performing credits for national and regional productions. She holds a master's degree in chorus and two bachelor's degrees in music. "I am thrilled to be joining the George Walton community next fall as Head of Performing Arts, as well as directing the choir and building the vocal arts program," said Lynn. "After visiting your school and experiencing a little bit of your culture and arts programs, I consider it a privilege to be part of a school that is vibrant and engaging!"

GWA will also see some shifting of roles this fall as some of our teachers transition to new roles. We will share these updates with you in this and upcoming In Focus newsletters, beginning with the following:

  • Mrs. Pam Morris will be pivotal in the launch of our new PK3 program as she moves to this new classroom from first grade.
  • The Board of Trustees has announced a five-year contract extension to Dr. Dan Dolan.

Over the next few weeks, we will introduce more of our new team members. We are excited for you to get to know them and help us welcome them to GWA!

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Dr. Ray Wright Retires From Board of Trustees With 30 Years Service

GWA wishes to express our appreciation to Dr. Ray Wright upon his retirement from the Board of Trustees after 30 years of dedicated service to the Academy. His input, time, and steady presence was appreciated by the entire George Walton Academy community.

Dr. Wright had three children graduate from George Walton Academy: Allison, Shannon, and Kevin. Dr. Wright and his wife, Diane live in Conyers, GA.

We're Very Busy These Days...

Greetings from the GWA Admissions Office!

I usually wrap up my updates with “It’s a great time to be a GWA Bulldog!”, but I am so excited about the success of the admissions and re-enrollment season so far that I really need to lead with it today. New student applications and campus visits are up significantly over past years, re-enrollment activity is at its peak, and most lower school classrooms have already reached capacity.

This surge in interest wouldn’t be happening without you, your excitement, and your help in getting the word out! Your energy and enthusiasm are contagious – keep it up! We hosted over 100 guests during our January 27 Open House and another 100 through the February 12 Open House, private tours and shadow days.

We will host another Open House on Sunday, April 14 at 2 pm and our first ever Walk-in Wednesday on Wednesday, April 17 from 9 am to 1 pm. Please be sure to share this information with your friends, family, and neighbors who you think would be a great fit for GWA. All are welcome! If you would like us to invite someone on your behalf, please send contact information to Amanda Riser at

All of this activity means we need more current families to help welcome those who are new to GWA. Whether you have been involved in the Ambassador program in the past or are looking for a new way to get more involved at GWA, we could use your help! Please contact me at for more information.

Many thanks for all that you are doing to spread the word about what makes the GWA experience so unique!



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Make the most of summer at GWA Summer Camps!

Throughout the summer months, GWA is offering exciting day camps for all ages and a variety of interests, from STEM and robotics to athletics, art and foreign language. Summer Camps are open to the community, and attendees do not have to be current George Walton students. Click HERE for more information and registration.
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Join Us For Founders Day

George Walton Academy was incorporated in March 1969. Founders Day is an assembly to mark the occasion of the founding of the school, recognize those that helped in the beginning, and to celebrate our accomplishments over 50 years. Founders Day is open to GWA parents, grandparents, alumni and friends. Please RSVP to let us know if you will be joining us.

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Announcing a New Traffic Pattern Coming Soon!

We will be piloting a new afternoon carpool traffic pattern for lower school pick-up starting Tuesday, April 9. The objective of the new traffic pattern is to relieve the extended stacking of cars that spills onto Michael Etchison and to allow us to keep the back gates closed until 2:45 p.m. This piloted traffic pattern will only affect the afternoon lower school pick-up. Cars will continue to depart through the back gates. Please stay tuned for further details as we approach the pilot launch date in order to prepare for the new flow of traffic.
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Seventh Grade Does D.C.

GWA seventh-grade students spent their class trip week in our nation’s capital. They explored the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, the Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Newseum, the African American History Museum and much more. This first-hand look at these sites wraps up their recent study of Washington, D.C.’s important landmarks and history.
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The Great Shake is in the books!

The middle school Great Shake project has wrapped up and we are thrilled to announce the winners! Catherine Atkinson was the Overall winner and also won for seventh-grade, Kailee Lewis won for eighth-grade, and Josh Woodard won for sixth-grade.

These three middle school students earned the top scores during Friday’s competition with twenty finalists meeting briefly with each of the ten judges to demonstrate their poise, confidence and interpersonal communication skills. Congratulations to our Great Shake winners and thanks to our judges- Kelly Waldo, Susan Sykes, Lee Garrett, Michael Morris, James Hammond, Leah Ferguson, Angela Hutchins-Howard, Meredith Malcom, Justin Brady and John Howard!

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Ninth Graders "Play" for a Day

On Tuesday, GWA ninth grade students attended the performance of Romeo and Juliet at the Shakespeare Tavern in downtown Atlanta. They enjoyed venturing outside of campus to see the live performance of the tragedy they have recently read as part of the curriculum in the classroom.

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Upper School Summer Classes

Looking to get ahead academically? The following summer classes have limited seats remaining -British Literature, Marine Biology (this class carries a fee), and Health.

These courses provide an opportunity for students to customize their learning experience at GWA. "The George Walton experience should be tailored to the individual student needs and interest," Dr. Dolan commented. He added, "for some, summer may be the perfect time to get ahead." Please contact Registrar Peggy Jordan at to register or ask questions.

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Can You Cry In Front of Your Kids?

By: Lindsey Bailey, Lower School Counselor

The other day I was talking to a (non-GWA) mom of two young kids at a party. Amidst our conversation, she shared that sometimes she feels overwhelmed when her husband is at work and she is caring for the kids on her own. Totally understandable! Then she said, “Sometimes you want a break, but you can’t cry in front of your kids.” I nodded in agreement as only someone without kids of her own would. But this got me thinking about how adults tend to hide negative emotions from kids. Read More.

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Evening with the Experts – Wednesday, March 27, 6-8 p.m.

The GWA Office of College Counseling will be hosting an Evening with the Experts on March 27. The event starts at 6 p.m. in the High School Commons. It is for all high school students and their parents. There will be a variety of presentations given by Admissions Counselors from UGA and Georgia College, two members of the Financial Aid Office of Emory University, and a representative from GA Futures. There will be sessions designed especially for seniors and their parents, such as Understanding your Student Aid Report (SAR), the Final Steps in Applying for HOPE and Zell Miller, Transitioning to College and Dealing with Waitlists and Deferrals. For juniors and their parents, there will be sessions on Understanding Holistic Admissions, Navigating GA Futures, and Demystifying Financial Aid. Freshmen, sophomores and their parents, eager to get a head-start in the process, are also encouraged to attend. The college counseling team will be on hand to answer questions. Keep an eye on your inbox for more information to come.

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Important Prom Information

Prom will be held on Friday, March 22 at Nine Oaks Farm (Gate 3 Building) in Good Hope, GA. Senior parents are invited to the “Senior Walk” which will start promptly at 9:30 p.m. Parents may dress casual. The address for Nine Oaks Farm is: 2425 GA-83, Monroe, GA 30655 (Gate 3 Building). If a senior is not going to attend the prom, please have them notify Mrs. Carson no later than Monday, March 18. We ask that parents remain outside the building and only enter the dance during the “Senior Walk.” Also, we ask that all parents leave immediately following the senior walk.

Please remember the following: No hats are allowed and no earrings are allowed for boys (this includes dates that may come from another school). All seniors should arrive by 9:15 p.m. If you have any questions, please e-mail Mrs. Carson ( We look forward to seeing you Friday, March 22.

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We need YOU!

Opportunities for Involvement:

Relay for Life Volunteers:

Set- Up: Fri., May 3 from 9-1 p.m. & 4-6 p.m.

Host/Hostess’ for Survivor Dinner Clean- Up: 11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Golf Carts and Drivers: Fri. May 3

Teacher Appreciation Week:

Week of May 6-10

We need breakfast bakers, mailbox treats, desserts for appreciation lunch and small tokens of appreciation!

Please email Elizabeth McDonel at to get involved!

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A Paw for a Cause

By GWA senior and sculpture student, John Brown

After mixing and forming our green sand, we made a 12x12 mold of a bulldog paw print. We then set up our station to begin our aluminum foundry, where we used charcoal and a blow dryer to reach maximum heat in order to melt the aluminum- which is about 1400 degrees. We melted it down and poured the aluminum into the mold and made a 12x12 aluminum bulldog paw print. This is a sculpture that we will be dedicating to the late Mr. Steven Whitley.

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It's Maryville for Hamilton!

Hamilton Allen signed to play football and continue his education with Maryville College in Tennessee. Congratulations and best wishes, Hamilton!
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Bulldog Golfers Take First

GWA Bulldogs prevailed on the course on Saturday to take home FIRST PLACE! They defeat Monroe Area, Social Circle, Jefferson, Buford, Archer, Grayson, and Winder-Barrow in the Monroe Area Hurricane Classic! Well done, Bulldogs!

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Youth Tracksters Compete in First Meet

The GWA youth track team competed in their very first meet last Saturday at Parkview High School and stood out among the competition! We are so proud of our young runners for putting their best foot forward and performing so well. The next meet is scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at Jefferson High School.
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Youth football registration is coming soon! Please plan to attend the mandatory meeting on April 9 at 6 p.m. in the cafeteria. Click HERE for further information and to download the registration form.
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On Thursday, April 25 from 6 p.m - 7:30 p.m. there will be a MANDATORY Athletic Meeting for all rising upper school students and their parents who plan on participating in a GWA athletic program during the 2019-2020 school year. The meeting will be held in the cafeteria.

Areas that will be covered include general information- “The Dawg Way,” strength training, recruiting and team parents.

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Youth Cheer Registration

Youth Cheer registration and fitting for K5-5 grade on March 25 from 5 - 7 p.m. in the cafeteria. Mandatory informational meeting will start at 6 p.m. There will be a make-up day on March 27 from 4 - 5 p.m. in the cafeteria with a mandatory informational meeting at 4:30 p.m.The meetings will cover practice days and times, communication for parents and coaches and summer camp. Coaches will be there to answer questions.

Youth Cheer registration is $70 plus uniform cost. Used uniforms will be available to purchase at registration. If you have a used uniform that you would like to sell, then please go to the Nicholson center concession area after school on Friday, March 22 to drop it off with Michele Bowen. If you can’t drop it off on that Friday, then please contact Michele Bowen (678- 207-6580) to set up a time to drop your used uniform off. We will label the uniform with your name and Michele will give you more details when you drop it off.

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Today's In Focus is Proudly Sponsored Minerva Beauty, Inc.

Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.