In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

October 8, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • MS Football: today @ 4:30 p.m. vs. PACS
  • V Softball Area Championship: today @ 5 p.m. (at MAHS)
  • V Football Game: Oct. 9 @ 7:30 p.m. (see below)
  • Oct. 9 and Oct. 14 will be full days - all divisions
  • Senior Yearbook Page Deadline: Oct. 9
  • High School Students Return to Campus: Oct. 19
  • MS Boys Basketball Try Outs: Oct. 19-21 (see below)
  • Youth Basketball Sign Ups: Oct. 20 (see below)
  • Fall Break: Oct. 22 - 23
  • PSAT: Oct. 29 - early dismissal grades 8-12
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Technology Takes Off

Technology is playing an even more integral part in learning than ever before. Our mindset about school being comprised of four walls and desks has shifted. Students are no longer tethered to the classroom and we have expanded the educational landscape – making the ability to learn “in class” digitally accessible, flexible, and effective. GWA students of all ages are using technology to learn as we expand programs and provide more digital learning opportunities.


This new approach requires additional tech, including repurposed laptops. Using ChromeOS, older laptops have been converted to “Zoombooks” and provide our teachers an excellent alternative device for teaching lessons. Teachers and students have been trained on Zoom, lesson plans are updated daily, and nearly every assignment that is done on campus can easily be shifted to a digital format.


Middle school students will have a dedicated place to design, build and test their robotic creations as a former locker room in the lower school gym will be transformed into a robotics and engineering lab! This lab will also include a state-of-the-art 3D printer to enable students to 3D design and print parts for their robots. We are hopeful this new space will be open to the students in the next few weeks, and plan to incorporate more middle school technology and engineering classes in the coming years.


Not to be left out, the lower school technology program continues to grow as well. For the first time in GWA history, we will have enough iPads for every student in third through fifth grade to be issued their own device. This will allow teachers to seamlessly transition to digital learning, as well as complete new and exciting projects. In other tech news, the HUB is being transformed into a new lower school technology and robotics lab. While students have enjoyed Mr. Mark (Gasaway) coming into their classroom where they learn coding, robotics and more, they will soon experience a whole new world of technology in the new HUB lab. Mr. Mark will be able to do so much more with the younger students in a dedicated learning environment.


George Walton Academy has always embraced technology and the opportunity to implement it in new and exciting ways is truly amazing. It is a great time to be a Bulldog!


Brannon Fissette

Director of Technology

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Science is Sweet!

Third-grade science students learned the scientific method by completing a fun experiment using candy corn. They observed how the candy corn would change in baking soda, salt, water, and vinegar. First students made their hypothesis and then they documented their results. Lastly, students summarized their results by explaining how the candy corn changed in each solution.

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Mesopotamia Madness

Mrs. Behnke’s sixth-grade World History class recently took part in Mesopotamia Madness. Students worked together to debate which Mesopotamian invention has been the most significant in our world’s history. Students debated passionately about their invention as many of the great accomplishments of the inventions of Mesopotamia were highlighted in a March Madness style playoff. Great job, sixth grade!

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No IOWA Tests for 2020-2021

After evaluating the best use of available in-person instructional time for 2020-2021 academic year, we have decided not to administer the IOWA standardized test for grades 1, 3, 5 and 7. You may know that this test requires a full week to complete, and given the possibility that circumstances may require we go digital at some point, we want to ensure we expose students to as much direct instruction as possible. Please contact Jenny Duke at jduke@gwa.com or Amy Wilkes at awilkes@gwa.com if you have any questions.

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Carpool Update

Starting Monday, Oct. 12, lower school carpool will end at 3:05 p.m. After seeing how efficiently it has been with the use of two locations for pick-up, we are able to make this change. We appreciate your timeliness and cooperation as we have navigated the safest way to dismiss our lower school students.

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Ready to Rise Up!

The GWA Marching Bulldog Band will head to Fannin Co. High School to perform in their first competition this Saturday. This year's show is titled “Resurgence…From the Ashes,” and is a musical and visual representation of the story of the mythical creature, the phoenix. Good luck, Bulldogs!
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Change of Scenery

Last week, upper school drama students used the outdoor classroom to hone their improvisation skills. In this photo, actors are participating in an activity called “change.” In “change,” two actors start a scene and two other actors are assigned as their “change-master.” At any time, the change-master can say “change!”- requiring the actor on stage to change the most recent line they said on the spot.


The outdoor classroom has been a great resource for our drama classes and gives students a different environment in which to create new characters and scenes.

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Got Rhythm?

Mrs. Gunnin’s fifth-grade class enjoyed practicing their “clicks” (tapping their drumsticks together) to a bucket drumming piece Mrs. Dyer wrote for Leroy Anderson’s “The Syncopated Clock.” This is the first year fourth- and fifth-grade students have done bucket drumming. It is a perfect activity for developing rhythm reading skills!

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Art Show Update

Two more pieces by GWA art students, Marnie Couch and Breena McGraw, have been added to the Atlanta High School Art Exhibition at Ponce City Market. The exhibit will be open Oct. 11 -24. Congratulations to Carsyn, Savannah, Marnie and Breena!

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Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 4 - 10 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)* and people across the country are raising awareness of mental illness in an effort to reduce the stigma that so often prevents someone from seeking help.


The reality is that mental illness affects everyone, whether directly or indirectly through someone you know. According to NAMI, each year 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience a mental illness and 1 in 6 U.S. kids ages 6-17 experience a mental health disorder. This year, NAMI is calling on everyone to become informed and dispel the harmful myths surrounding mental illness.


Join NAMI this week in their efforts to raise awareness and end the stigma. Here’s what you can do:

With your help, we can change how the world sees mental health.


*NAMI offers information about mental illness conditions, symptoms and treatment at www.nami.org or through the HelpLine at 800-950-NAMI (6264). Learn more about Mental Illness Awareness Week at www.nami.org/miaw.

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Blood Drive is November 20

GWA will host a Red Cross blood drive on Friday, Nov. 20. Please see above for details. Sixteen-year-old students must have a signed parental consent form in order to donate (attachment below). A COVID-19 antibodies test is included with all blood donations. Please be sure to sign up online or via the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Parental Consent Form

Height/Weight Requirements

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Friday is Game Day!

Our 2-0 varsity Bulldogs return to Keith Henderson Field Friday night at 7:30 p.m. to face the Mount Vernon Mustangs! Ticket vouchers are required for admission to the game. See details below regarding who received tickets to attend the game and info. about extra tickets.


  • Every varsity football player, band and color guard member, cheerleader, and majorette participating that evening gets two ticket vouchers for permission to purchase game day entry.
  • Seniors will be given a single ticket voucher which will allow them to purchase game day entry.
  • There are 150 extra ticket vouchers available in the front office for students to pick up (first-come-first-serve) to purchase game day entry. Students get first dibs on extra tickets until noon on Friday, after that tickets are open to anyone wishing to attend the game. Ticket vouchers may be picked up in the front office.


A few notes:

  • There will be no opportunity to purchase additional general admission tickets at the gates.
  • The tickets being issued are only vouchers allowing you to purchase one of the limited seats at the game. A ticket voucher does not cover the cost of admission.
  • Only fans with advance ticket vouchers will be admitted.
  • All other parents and guests who have been given a ticket are expected to pay for admission to the game. Dawgs 360 members, of course, do not have to pay for admission to the event.
  • If you do not have a pre-distributed ticket voucher, you will not be admitted. Admission for the 2020 Regular Season Homes Games is $8 per person (1st grade and up).
  • There is no re-entry into Don Williams Stadium once you arrive.
  • Face masks required and social distance required.
  • Do not enter the game if in the past 14 days you have been exposed to COVID, had a fever of 100 or higher, developed a cough, headache, rash, fatigue or other COVID symptoms.

The game will be livestreamed at gwa.com starting at 7 p.m. or click HERE for the link.

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Big Game Today for Lady Dawgs

Our varsity softball team plays in the Area Championship bracket against Wesleyan at 5 p.m. today at Monroe Area High School. If needed, a second game will be played at 7 p.m. Come out to support the Lady Dawgs!
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Volleyball Heads into Post Season

The JV volleyball team had an amazing season! They finished as Region Champs with a 7-0 record in our region (8 1A/Private). They worked hard, played hard and more than deserve the title.


Our varsity team is 3-2 in our region and is currently in third place. They will play Athens Christian at home on Tuesday, October 13 at 5 p.m. Unfortunate circumstances have put almost half of our varsity team out, but we look forward to seeing our JV girls step up again to bring in a win so we can play all the way to the top. Go Lady Dawgs!

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MS Basketball Try Outs

Try-outs for boys middle school (7th & 8th grade) basketball will be held in the MS gym from 6 - 7:30 p.m., Oct. 19-21 with a parent meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 in the courtyard at 7:30 p.m. Players will need to have a physical on file with the school. Contact Kyle Gelsthorpe at kylegelsthorpe@me.com with questions.

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In person youth basketball registration for boys/girls, grades 3 -7 will be Oct. 20 from 5-6 p.m. We will not take any forms or payment after this date! To pre-register, fill out the attached forms below and send them to Grace Martin (gmartin@gwa.com).


  • Registration fee - $100
  • Jersey - $35


*We use the same jersey from year to year so they only have to purchase another one if they outgrew the one from last year. If they use the same one then they only have to pay the registration fee.


Checks need to be made out to GWA. (You can send them in to the front office with "Attention: Grace Martin" or bring them to the registration on Oct. 20.)


If your child is signing up to play, please consider volunteering to coach a team. We are in need of parent volunteers to coach basketball!


Permission to participate form

NEGFLL registration form

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Ginn Motor Company (www.getginn.com ). Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.

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Corporate Partner Spotlight: Nathan Purvis / ReMax Preferred


Nathan Purvis is Principal, Owner, and Associate Broker of Purvis Realty Group in Monroe. Nathan is a vibrant member of the community who is driven by his passion for smart growth that supports a wholesome lifestyle for the residents of Walton and Barrow Counties.
Click HERE to read more.