In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

August 17, 2017

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Lower School Principal Kevin Cloud Welcomes Students to a New School Year

Today marks a week since lower school students returned for the 2017-2018 school year, and classes, activities and athletics are in full swing. The beginning of every school year is always filled with a tremendous amount of excitement and energy as we welcome back old friends and open our arms to new ones. It’s also a time for our students to begin to stretch their wings and fly a little higher as they engage in the challenges and possibilities of a new year.


While the academic growth of the student is of utmost importance, equal to the growth of a child’s intellect is that of his or her character. I’m happy to report that we will continue our lower school character assemblies this year with the theme of “Friends, Students, Leaders, Family.” These assemblies will strive to be fun, informative and thought-provoking for all of our students as we seek to carry out the mission and beliefs of George Walton Academy.


So as this year’s journey begins, I’d like to thank all of our families for helping to make GWA the special place that it is and for the opportunity to serve every child, every day.


Best wishes,

Kevin

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GWA Thanks Our Corporate Partners!

George Walton Academy wishes to thank our 2017-2018 Corporate Partners. Check out our full partners listing on GWA.com along with links to our partners' websites. Be sure to tell these local businesses that you heard about them through their partnership with the school!

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Senior Photos, Yearbook Ads and Yearbook Sales

LAST CALL FOR SENIOR PHOTOS
If seniors didn’t get their photos taken at Cady Studios over the summer, then Wednesday, Aug. 23, is their LAST CHANCE to appear in the yearbook! Cady Studios will be at GWA to take senior pictures throughout the school day.


SENIOR YEARBOOK ADS
The deadline for senior yearbook ads is Oct. 1! To design and order your senior ad, click here. Click on the link to buy a yearbook ad, then select a full-color ad. The website will walk you through the ad design. Just pick a template, upload your photos and submit your order.


If you need help scanning photos, contact yearbook adviser Liz Jones at (770) 653-1078 or ljones@gwa.com. Mrs. Jones will also be available after school in the journalism room (down the hall from the theater) from 3 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 6 and Sept. 21 for those who need individual help with senior ads.


If you’d like to attend one of these sessions, please RSVP on Signup Genius through one of the following links: Sept. 6 session, or Sept. 21 session.


BUY YOUR 2017-2018 YEARBOOK
If your student is not a senior this year, don’t forget to buy your yearbook! Order your yearbook online through this link.

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Bulldogs in Britain: Study Abroad in London Next Summer

Ms. Crowell is looking for students in 10th through 12th grade who are interested in earning academic credit on a study abroad trip to London next summer!


The trip will include visits to many of London’s fabulous sites, including the Tower of London, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, the British Museum, the National Gallery, St. Paul’s Cathedral (climb 528 steps to the top of the tower!), the British Library, Shakespeare’s Globe, the Harry Potter Studio Tour and Samuel Johnson’s house. Students will also take in a West-End Theater production, experience great shopping, visit Kensington Palace and go on a Ghost/Jack the Ripper walking tour.


Other excursions include trips to the cities of Bath, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Canterbury.


Trip dates are May 30 through June 12, 2018.


Contact Katie Crowell for more information, or plan to come to the informational meeting next Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 7 p.m. in room 107.

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Afterschool Tennis Camp Now Available

Do you have a student who’s interested in playing tennis? GWA is now offering tennis lessons through one of our afterschool activity camps! Spaces are filling up quickly, so sign up soon to ensure your child’s spot.


Classes will be offered for children ages 8 and under on Mondays from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.


Classes will be offered for children ages 9 to 12 on Wednesdays from 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.


This camp is an eight-week course, and the cost is $160. Classes begin on Aug. 28, and space is limited. Students will be provided with an afterschool snack before lessons begin. Lessons will be held rain or shine and will take place on the tennis courts beside the Nicholson Center. Parents may pick up their children at these courts at 4:15 p.m.


The tennis instructor, Alex Lussi, is a GWA parent. She grew up in Gwinnett County as a top-ranked junior tennis player and received a full athletic scholarship to Auburn University. There she played all four years and became the all-time wins leader and an All-American, and she also gained many SEC honors. Since graduating with an entrepreneurship degree in 2010, Lussi has played professional tennis in tournaments and events, and she teaches tennis to all ages and levels of players. Her lessons will include learning the new format of tennis, including low compression balls.

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GWA Congratulates Our AP Scholars

Last spring's AP scores are in, and 36 Bulldogs have been recognized as AP Scholars with an average exam score of 3.94!

Here’s the breakdown of AP Scholar Awards by level awarded to GWA students:

  • 14 AP Scholars (Granted to students who receive scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP Exams).
  • Nine AP Scholars with Honor (Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams).
  • 13 AP Scholars with Distinction (Granted to students who receive an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams).
  • Two AP Scholars, the highest AP Scholar Award level (Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams).


Congratulations, Bulldogs!

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Student Artwork Showcased Around Campus

Have you noticed anything different about GWA hallways and offices lately? Art teacher Steve Reagan worked over the summer to get student artwork up on the walls before the new school year began.


“I’ve enjoyed displaying the work of our students from the last school year and allowing their talent to shine,” said Mr. Reagan. “There’s a range from eighth-grade to high school AP students.”


Mr. Reagan mentioned that the project is ongoing and will continue as more students create new pieces during the year. “Our goal is for the artwork to remain fresh and current,” he said.


Parents have been especially pleased to see their students’ work. “I was so excited to see Callie’s artwork on display on campus,” said Jennifer Houck, who is a GWA parent as well as the seventh-grade social studies teacher. “A lot of individual time, effort and energy was spent working on the piece, and the final product is one that the entire school will get to see.”


Another notable addition to campus décor is a large mural of the Walton County courthouse, currently installed in the upper school media center. The mural, assembled using reclaimed wood from Monroe cotton mills, was a commissioned piece created by GWA students several years ago. It hung in Amici’s downtown before ending up at auction, where it was bought by Jay and Fei Rawl, who then donated the mural back to the school.


Construction of the mural involved a seven-step process. Each piece of wood was laser engraved before assembly, then eventually painted by hand.


The art displays are part of a larger effort to make student work of all types more visible across the GWA campus.

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Students Receive School-issued Laptops as 1:1 Program Enters Third Year

GWA’s 1:1 laptop program for students is entering its third year, and sixth graders received their school-issued HP devices earlier this week as part of their grade-level rollout. These students will keep the laptops for the next four years for use in class and at home as they complete school assignments.


Students in 10th grade as well as 20 percent of GWA teachers will also receive the HP laptops in accordance with the program’s normal device replacement schedule. The 10th graders will keep the laptops for the next three years, and assuming they graduate from GWA, students will receive the laptops as a gift from the school in May 2020.


This year’s rollout marks a shift to Hewlett-Packard devices, a change from the Lenovo laptops students and teachers have received the last several years.


“It’s a great device,” said Jim McCarthy, GWA’s director of technology, when speaking about the new HP laptop. “It’s bigger, faster and better in every way. It has all the features we currently enjoy with the Lenovo Yoga as well as a high resolution screen that’s larger than the one on our current model.”


“At just under $1,300 each, the device is also slightly less expensive,” Mr. McCarthy added.


Sixth-grade students will go through several rounds of training this week as part of the rollout and will adjust to using their new devices in class throughout the coming weeks.

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Lower School Students Become Pirates in Music Classes

Ahoy, maties! All aboard the lower school music pirate ship!


Students in Debbie Dyer’s lower school music classes were treated to a pirate treasure hunt to start off their first week of classes. K4 and K5 students went on a treasure hunt in the classroom, while first through fourth graders traveled throughout the campus in search of their prize. Gypsy, Captain Dyer’s parrot, helped guide the children as they followed clues that led to the treasure (lollipops). Fun songs and facts about pirates followed the students’ adventures.


Mrs. Dyer’s room was decorated in a pirate theme for the occasion, and first and second graders will perform the musical “Pirates” in October.

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New Elective Courses Offer Different Approach to Traditional Subjects

GWA has introduced a number of new academic and co-curricular elective courses for students this year. Below are a few highlights from our new course listings.


Hollywood and American History is a new course designed to utilize movies as tools to better understand historical contexts. A medium long ignored by historians, movies both in their presentation and in their storyline can reveal much about our national identity. Students will view movies relative to American history with the goal of comparing the movie narrative to actual historical information. Open only to juniors and seniors, students themselves will drive much of the learning through their movie choices and corresponding areas of research.


Introduction to Sports Training is a semester-long course for students in eighth grade and up. Offered through the P.E. department, the course is designed specifically for female students in an effort to provide an environment and corresponding programming to meet both athletic and general fitness goals. Students have already begun learning sport-specific strength and conditioning training, including weight lifting, speed and agility training, yoga, and aerobic/cardiovascular training. Students in this class will be developing improved muscle strength and coordination, increased cardiovascular endurance, increased speed, improved range of motion and flexibility, and decreased risk for injury.


AP Computer Science Principles is a class that offers a more application-based approach to computer science and explores how computing impacts individuals as well as society as a whole. This class also covers topics such as the internet and how today’s businesses use computing. AP Computer Science Principles is being offered in addition to AP Computer Science, which is strictly a programming course in Java.

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Lady Dawgs Softball Sees Strong Start to Season

Let’s go, Lady Dawgs! The varsity softball team has had a strong start to the season, winning three of their first four games over the last several days – including a region win last night over Hebron. The girls are preparing for another region game game tonight at home against Athens Christian at 4:45 p.m. Come out and support our GWA athletes!

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August 21: Early Dismissal for All Grades

To allow our families an opportunity to take advantage solar eclipse viewing options in the area, all grades will have early dismissal on Monday, Aug. 21.


  • Middle and high school students will dismiss at noon.
  • Students in K5 through fifth grade will dismiss to carpool at 11:30 a.m.
  • K4 students will dismiss to carpool at the front of the main building at 11 a.m.


Lunch will not be served, and buses will run immediately following middle and high school noon dismissal. Regular aftercare will be available beginning at noon; however, if you plan to take advantage of aftercare, please let Peggy Jordan know so she can make lunch arrangements with our cafeteria for those students who are staying.

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August 24: Ice Cream Social

Mark your calendars now for GWA's Ice Cream Social! Join us in the Nicholson Center on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. for a little sugar and school pride – it's a great way to kick off the school year. Current families are asked to bring their favorite frozen desserts to share, while new families should simply come and enjoy; there's no need to bring ice cream this first time. Stick around afterwards for a fall sports pep rally at 7:30 p.m. down on Keith Henderson Field. Click here to sign up to bring ice cream or to volunteer at the event.
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September 1: Student Activities Expo

Students in third grade and up are invited to GWA's student activities expo on Friday, Sept. 1. The expo will be held during the school day in the Nicholson Center. Stay tuned for more details!
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Sept. 1: First Home Football Game

Mark your calendars for the Bulldogs' first home football game on Friday, Sept. 1! The theme for the game is Pink Out, and we'll host a tailgate in the Alumni Commons beforehand. Come out and support our GWA athletes, marching band, cheerleaders and majorettes!
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