In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 9, 2021

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or visit us online.

Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Tacky Christmas Sweater Day: tomorrow for all students
  • MS/HS Christmas Parties: tomorrow
  • V Basketball vs. Mt. de Sales: tomorrow at 6 & 7:30 p.m.
  • Exam Week: Dec. 13 -17
  • Band Christmas Concert: Dec. 14 @ 7:30 p.m., Nicholson Center
  • LS Christmas Parties: Friday, Dec. 17
  • Early Dismissal Day MS & HS: Friday, Dec. 17 @ 10 a.m.
  • Early Dismissal Day LS: Friday, Dec. 17 @ 10:30 a.m.
  • Christmas Break: Dec. 20 - Jan. 3
  • Teacher Workday: Jan. 3
  • Spring Semester Begins: Tues., Jan. 4
  • HS Winter Term: Jan. 4 - Jan. 21
Big picture
Please click HERE for the exam week schedule (grades 6-12) and complete details. Please note that Monday, Dec. 13 is a review day and grades 8-12 will have exams Tuesday through Friday. Grades 6-7 will follow an altered schedule. Middle and high school students will dismiss at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 17 unless completing a make-up exam.


Bus departure times: Mon. & Tues. 3:35 p.m., Wed. 3:05 p.m., Thurs. 3:35 p.m., Fri. 10:35 a.m.

Big picture
Big picture

Gracie Wood is Student of the Month

Gracie Wood has been chosen as the Rotary Student of the Month for December. She has selected Assistant Director of Bands Lindsay Castro as Teacher of the Month. Gracie has earned GWA’s Best of the Best and Head of School list recognition since ninth grade. She is a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, Gavel Club (leadership role), Latin Club, and Mu Alpha Theta. Gracie is a member of the GWA Marching Bulldog Band and serves as band president. She has been named to District Honor Band and the GMEA All-State Band (clarinetist) for the past three years. Gracie serves others as a tutor in the GWA Writing Center and as a Walton Youth Advocacy Board volunteer.


Gracie plans to major in biology at Samford University, attend dental school and become an orthodontist. Congratulations to Gracie and Mrs. Castro!

Big picture
Big picture

Contest Winners Recognized

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Monroe Museum’s “The History of Monroe Contest.” The contest involved local middle schools and is part of the bicentennial celebration of the city of Monroe. The following GWA eighth graders earned cash awards for their outstanding essay and history card entries. They were recognized at the Monroe Then & Now Bicentennial presentation on November 28.


First place: Alexa Lo, The Monroe and Walton Cotton Mills

Second place: Anthony Pham, Walton Athletic 24

Third place: Isabella Weimer, Monroe Turtle Scavenger Hunt

Teacher winner for outstanding lesson plan: GWA history teacher, Johnny Griffin


GWA students participated in the contest as part of their “Monroe and Me” project in Mr. Griffin’s class. They chose a topic related to the history of Monroe that sparked their interest. Students were encouraged to gather book knowledge as well as “living history” by interviewing people with a historical tie-in to their subject and they were required to write a one-page essay and create a 4 x 6 history card. Congratulations to Alexa, Anthony, Isabella, and Mr. Griffin!

Big picture
Big picture

Crafty Math Review

By creating fun, Christmas-themed games and crafts, second graders are reviewing cumulative math concepts and practicing math skills acquired during the first semester. The spiral review is very important in this grade. It reinforces foundational math concepts and gives students an opportunity to practice what they have already learned.

Big picture
Big picture

Holiday Treat

GWA dance students of all ages performed "The Nutcracker POPS!" before a crowd of family and friends in three shows last week. The production was a twist on the holiday favorite, "The Nutcracker," and included contemporary, pop, hip-hip, and country variations. Congratulations to dance teacher Genie Wiggins and her company of talented dancers!
Big picture
Big picture

District Honor Band

Last Saturday, our middle schoolers competed against hundreds of band students in our area to win a spot in the District 14 Honor Band. Congratulations and good luck to those competing at the State level in January!


Congrats to the following students (pictured in order top, left to right):


Wendy Menard- 1st chair French horn, 2nd round Allstate

Kade Franklin- 2nd chair trombone, 2nd round Allstate

Isaac Osei- 1st chair tuba, 2nd round Allstate

Cale Fuller- 3rd chair percussion

Gibson Brady - 1st chair euphonium, 2nd round Allstate

Harrison McClellan- 7th chair percussion

Alex Garren- 6th chair clarinet

Jet Hammond- 10th chair trumpet

Maddie Garrett- 4th chair trumpet, 2nd round Allstate

Big picture
Big picture

Christmas Recitals

Our GWA piano studio students presented their end of the semester recitals on Sunday, December 5. Between the group classes recital and the private lesson recital, nearly 80 talented students presented their very best! Audience members enjoyed music ranging from traditional Christmas carols all the way to music by Justin Bieber. Congratulations to all performers and to all students for a great semester. If you are interested in finding out more about our piano classes, please contact Corrie Beth Noll at cnoll@gwa.com.
Big picture
Big picture

The Show Must Go On!

The cast of Winnie the Pooh was finally able to have their opening night – after weeks of injuries and absences, the cast rallied together and put on quite the show! The dedication and hard work of the cast was apparent during their performance. The cast included:


Anna Fuller – Winnie the Pooh

Gabby Rainford – Owl

Hayden Johnson – Piglet

Drake Ferguson – Christopher Robin

Abby Fuller – Eeyore

Reagan Lawler – Tigger

Alex Garren – Rabbit


“We didn’t realize we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun.” - Winnie The Pooh


Well done, cast of Winnie the Pooh!

Big picture
Big picture

Exploring Ancient Art

Last week George Walton Academy upper school art students visited the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta on the campus of Emory University. They were able to observe the museum’s ancient art history permanent collection. With the largest ancient art exhibit in the Southeast, the Michael C. Carlos Museum has an impressive collection. This exhibit covers artifacts from Egypt, Africa, the Central Americas, Native North America, and the Asiatic countries.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Celebrating the Season!

Our fourth annual Gingerbread Christmas festival was a fun-filled event for GWA families, friends and neighbors. Thank you to all who contributed to the festivities and success of this GWA Christmas tradition - including students, teachers, parents, sponsors and Officer Holliday (who managed to apprehend the Grinch!).
Big picture
Big picture

And the Winners Are...

Congratulations to Ava Gilstrap, Zoey Harris, Cortney Pickens, and Bulldog Kia, the winners of George Walton’s Gingerbread House Challenge! Ava and Zoey were the first and second place winners for the Junior Division of the contest, and Cortney and Bulldog Kia were the first and second place winners of the Group Division. These houses were judged specifically on theme, creativity, originality, precision, skill, and overall appearance; there is a lot of attention to detail (Ms. Pickens' entry even played music!) that goes into creating these Christmas masterpieces. Amazing craftsmanship, Bulldogs!
Big picture
Big picture

Get Your Photos!

Photos from the Christmas Tree Presentation and Gingerbread Christmas have been uploaded to yearbook advisor Liz Jones’ photo share site. Feel free to browse and download your photos for free! Here are the links:

https://lizjones.smugmug.com/GWA2022/Christmas-Tree-PresentationFolder-2021/n-4t4xcw

https://lizjones.smugmug.com/GWASanta2021

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

The Spirit of Christmas

Our ninth-grade class continued their tradition of giving for a third year and pulled together to provide gifts for children in the Walton County foster care program through the Country Kids Camp Christmas Roundup. With help from GWA parents, students were able to cover entire wish lists for four children in the county – including clothing items, toys and games.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Happy Holidays GWA Family!

For November in the Middle and Upper school Counseling Department, we continued to work on decision making. The middle school students practiced making choices and we discussed the difference between making a choice impulsively and having time to think it through. We will continue to encourage safe and healthy choices all year long.


In the month of December, we are focusing on gratitude. Practicing gratitude every day helps us with negative comparisons, improves how we feel about ourselves, and even improves overall health. As we enter the holiday season and experience the excitement that comes with gift giving and receiving, it is always nice to slow down and appreciate the blessings we already have. To help our students practice this life skill, we held a scavenger hunt for the letters found in GRATITUDE. Students who returned the letters to the counseling office and told us something they are grateful for will be able to join us for pizza the last week of school.


We have also added a Google Classroom for the Counseling Office this month. We will be posting videos, and activities. Also, students can use the calendar to come in for a visit. None of the activities are mandatory, however, there may be incentives for those who check it and participate. As always, please reach out with any questions or concerns. We love to hear from our families!


We hope that you all enjoy a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!


Mrs. Thomason

Middle/Upper School Counseling

Big picture
2021-12-09 11-13-54 NZM2 3200x1800 31.MOV

Coaches' Corner

GWA Advancement intern (and varsity basketball player) Kennedy Johnson asked our varsity boys coaches Matt Reynolds and Mike Elmankabady about the start of the season and the goals ahead.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

More Successes for Swim Dawgs!

By Ella Rowan


The GWA swim team saw major improvements this past Saturday at Ruby Fulbright's Jingle Jam invite.


Middle schooler, Ethan Brown, dropped almost 10 seconds in the Boys 50 Free, as well as Maci Gray who dropped 1.8 seconds in the Girls 50 Free. Our MS Girl's Medley Relay also did well, with Maya Langston, Amber Fields, Bella Weimer, and Maci Gray, earning the team 26 points!


Our HS Girls Medley Relay continues to place well, with Sarah Digby, MK Dopp, Emma Dopp, and McKenna Rutledge, coming in 2nd place overall. McKenna Rutledge impressed us all when racing the 500 Freestyle for the first time! Way to go, GWA swimmers!

Big picture

GWA Corporate Partner Spotlight

Today we want to recognize Georgia Insulation and thank them for their support as a GWA Corporate Partner. Please keep them in mind for your insulation needs.

Crawl Space Encapsulation Commercial
Big picture
Big picture
Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Silverleaf Management Group (www.silverleafmanagement.com). Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.