In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 7, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • State of the School Address: Feb. 7
  • Open House: Feb. 12
  • Spring Sports Picture Days: Feb. 12 & 13
  • Winter Break: Feb. 15 -18
  • K4/ K5 Student Holiday: Feb. 19
  • Lucky Dawg Gala and Benefit Auction: Feb. 23
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The State of the School meeting is an opportunity for GWA families to hear an overall update on the school. This year’s meeting will include an update on the strategic plan as well as a review of the accreditation report – both the commendations and recommendations from the visiting team. The presentation will be followed by light refreshments. It is also one the few times per year that the Board of Trustees is present as a group. If you don’t know who they are or haven’t met them yet, this is a wonderful opportunity to introduce yourself.

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Celebrating Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Mr. Brandon Hardison, Director of Sales for Jim Ellis Automotive Group, spoke to GWA middle school students about Fritz Pollard- the first African-American player and coach in American football. He explained Pollard’s rise in college and professional football, the challenges he faced and his determination to succeed in the sport and in life. Mr. Hardison’s session gave students an opportunity to read out loud, and answer questions while learning about a man who was a pioneer in American football and a true inspiration to all. Thank you to Mr. Hardison for sharing Fritz Pollard’s fascinating story!
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Just Imagine!

Second grade students enjoyed a field trip to Imagine It! Children’s Museum in Atlanta. Students experienced a hands-on museum that is designed to spark imagination and inspire learning. Judging by the smiles on their faces, they obviously had a great time!
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Sharpening Their Listening Skills

This week academic and honors physics students built speakers out of plastic cups, copper wire, and magnets to demonstrate that sound waves are created by vibrations and resulting variations in pressure. Students also used microphone sensors to further visualize sound waves as variations in pressure and to relate pitch to frequency.
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Kindness is Contagious

Have you seen those commercials (like this one) where one simple act of kindness starts a chain reaction? Some of them are pretty cheesy, but the message resonates: kindness is contagious. You can most likely recall a time when someone did or said something kind that brightened your day. Usually, when a person receives a random act of kindness, he or she feels inspired to keep it going. Read more...

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We Are Looking for More Families Just Like Yours!

Spread the word! Our next Prospective Family Open House is coming up. We can’t wait to show interested families all that GWA has to offer! Contact Cari Bailey at cbailey@gwa.com with questions or prospective family recommendations.
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Hey Bulldogs- get ready to represent GWA! Our volunteers will be passing out FREE stickers during carpool next week and will even offer to apply one to your vehicle. So sport your sticker and be #gwaproud! Supplies are limited.
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Join the GWA Chess Club!

The GWA chess club is currently recruiting members! The club is open to students in third through eighth grades and meets on Mondays from 3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. New and experienced players are welcome! Students will help each other learn rules, techniques, and strategies of the game. The chess club will attend the Georgia Independent School Association Chess Tournament on March 14 at Atlanta Academy in Roswell. For more information or to sign up please contact Brian Stephens at bstephens@gwa.com.

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Students Can Expand Their Horizons In Croatia

There will be an interest meeting for parents of students interested in traveling to Croatia with GWA in June 2020 on Thursday, February 28th at 6:30pm in the Upper School Commons. This trip is open to all upper school students in the 2019-2020 school year, and we are excited to partner with Our Human Family to tailor and create this experience. Questions? Contact Femke Côté at fcote@gwa.com.

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Barcelona Exchange

There will be a meeting for any families interested in participating in our Barcelona partner school exchange on Thursday, Feb. 21st at 6:30pm in the cafeteria (note location change). This exchange will be the experience of a lifetime and is open to students who will be freshman in the 2019-2020 school year. If accepted into the program, students will host a Spanish student for one month in the Fall, and then travel to Barcelona during Winter Term (January) to stay with the same student they hosted. Questions? Contact Femke Côté at fcote@gwa.com.

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GWA Band Dawgs Honored at UGA JanFest

The University of Georgia hosts the High School Honor Band at the UGA Hodgson School of Music every year. Hundreds of band programs from across the state, and even some surrounding states, nominate their best students to attend this prestigious event. If they are selected by UGA based on their resume, students are invited to audition and attend the UGA Janfest Music event.


George Walton submitted 18 of our finest students this year and 15 were selected to represent GWA. There were nearly 1000 students from all over the southeast who were invited to attend from the nearly 6000 that were nominated. After presenting an audition solo, each student was placed in one of the honor bands or one of the clinic level bands, based on their audition. GWA had 11 students selected for the honor bands including Brody Lindsey, who was selected as the top overall French horn player at the event.


Also, students work alongside other students from the region with guest collegiate conductors and conclude the event with a performance at UGA's Hodgson Hall Performance Center.


Congratulations to the following students on their hard work and fantastic achievement:

Alex Aull, Cole Aukes, Brody Lindsey, Bailey Croker, Brooks Dokes, Madison Smith, Clair Volk, Alex Carrillo, Russell Moore, Julie Cato, Liam Chirrey, Gabi Cason, Barbara Hammon, Jolie Lanier, and Eli Scornik. Awesome Work Band Dawgs!

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Middle School Musicians Impress

Congratulations to all of our fantastic young band students who auditioned back in December for the opportunity to attend the Georgia Music Educators Associations District 14 Honor Band Festival. Over 900 middle school students auditioned for placement in this year's honor band and only 175 were chosen. Congratulations for your hard work and amazing accomplishments!


GWA will be represented by the following students in this year's GMEA District 14 Honor Band:

Phillip Mashburn, Luke Lewis, Ella Smith, Nicole Volk, Zelig Miller, Michael Mealor and Keith Mimms.

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Aull & Aukes Headed to the Hedges

The GWA band gathered for signing day as they celebrated Alex Aull. He revealed that he will commit to the University of Georgia with a music scholarship and pursue a degree in music education. He plans to join the Redcoat Marching Band. Fellow band member, Cole Aukes revealed his plans to attend UGA as well. We wish them both great success and hope to see them marching between the hedges!
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Historic First for GWA Wrestlers

For the first time in program history, the George Walton Academy wrestling team is the GHSA Area 6A Runner-up! Individual results: Chris Sperin – first at 138, three second place finishes with Patrick Morris at 152, Bryson Williams at 113, Perry Jake Stone at 120, third place included Gavin Williams at 106, Darius Barnum at 170, Andrew Tossie at 195, Beau Mitchell at 126, and Ryan Denhardt at 132, Angus Bateman at 145, and Laythan Folgman at 160 both place fifth. Great job, guys! Good luck at sectionals at Darlington High School in Rome next weekend.
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Four GWA Athletes Head to the Next Level

Four standout George Walton Academy athletes committed to play football for Rome, Georgia colleges on National Signing Day! The camaraderie formed among high school football players will transition directly into the college playing experience for three GWA student-athletes as Terence Thorpe, Jr., Darius Barnum and André Payne II commit to play for Berry College. And another GWA outstanding athlete is also headed for Rome, as Andrew Tossie will commit to Shorter College.

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There will be a parent meeting for rising sixth-12th graders who are interested in becoming a part of the GWA cheerleading program on Thurs. Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in the auditorium. We will be discussing tryouts, summer camp, competition, and all things related to GWA cheerleading for 2019-2020. If your student is considering trying out for cheerleading or you just want more information on the program, please come to the parent meeting.
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Spring Sports photo days will be held on Feb. 12 & 13. Baseball and lacrosse pictures will be taken on Feb. 12 with the remaining sports photos to be taken on Feb. 13. Students should bring their uniforms to school and any sports equipment that they might want in the picture. Parents will need to be present for youth track pictures.


PLEASE TELL YOUR CHILDREN TO CHECK WITH THEIR COACHES ABOUT AN APPROXIMATE PICTURE TIME AND TO LISTEN TO THE INTERCOM THROUGHOUT THE DAY TO MAKE SURE THEY DON'T MISS THEIR TEAM PICTURES!!! We have notified coaches about this date. Spring sports photo day will include pictures for the following sports: Boys and Girls Soccer, Tennis, Golf, Track and Field, Baseball, and Lacrosse.


Prepaid picture envelopes will be given out to coaches and extras will be available in the front office. For spring sports, we will do preorders only!


ALL SENIORS will need to have their photoS taken on Feb. 12 & 13 if they wish to have a senior banner made and to be included on the cover of the spring sports program. If your senior isn't sure about whether or not they might want to participate in a spring sport, they may have their picture made on the 13th, just in case they will want a banner. WE CANNOT PLACE A SECOND BANNER ORDER – THEY ALL NEED TO BE SENT IN ONE ORDER!

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For GWA alumnus Tim Fleming (‘01), Chief of Staff for Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, the political arena is very familiar. Having grown up in a political family, knocking on doors and putting up campaign signs is second nature. Reflecting on his time at George Walton Academy, Tim credits his years as a member of the football team for instilling the strengths and cultivating the values he needs to succeed in politics- including mental toughness, a strong work ethic and a team mentality.


Tim advises students looking to pursue a career in public service to get involved now through summer internships or by volunteering on a local campaign. He also warns young people to be cognizant of what they post on social media and to keep in mind the lasting consequences.


Tim looks forward to helping Governor Kemp implement the ideas and policies they presented during the gubernatorial campaign. We congratulate Tim on his new position and wish him continued success!


Tim is pictured with his wife, Lacey ('01) and his two daughters as he is sworn in as Brian Kemp's Chief of Staff.

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It’s the “CAN’T MISS” event of the year and only a handful of tickets remain!

This delightful evening includes a delicious dinner, silent and live auctions, and concludes on the dance floor! It's our largest fundraising event of the year with proceeds making a lasting difference in the lives of our students. Only a handful of tickets remain. Available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Don't miss out! Book your tickets today.

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Can You Picture Yourself in One of these Beautiful Destinations?

One of these amazing trips can be YOURS! Raffle tickets are currently available for purchase and cost $125 each. Simply complete the entry form, including your desired destination, and return with payment to the Development Office. The drawing will take place at the auction on February 23, and you do not have to be present to win. Raffle forms are available at the front office, or you may download the form by clicking HERE.

The Silent Auction Items are Rolling In!

We are still accepting items. Please contact Jessica Otts at jotts@gwa.com if you have something you would like to donate to the gala. Items such as overnight stays in vacation homes, artwork, jewelry, business services, tickets to sporting events, and autographed items are just a few examples of items that sell well at the gala.

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Today's In Focus is Proudly Sponsored by Burrow & Associates, LLC

Burrow & Associates, LLC, ia an Atlanta-area law firm with offices in Duluth, Morrow, Conyers and Athens that handles personal injury and consumer bankruptcy cases. Click HERE to learn more about them. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.