In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

July 30, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Campus Clean-up: August 10
  • MS/US Open House: August 19
  • LS Open House: August 20
  • College App Meeting: August 19
  • Senior BBQ with Dr. Dolan: August 21
  • First Day of School: August 22
  • Tailgate/V Football vs. Walnut Grove: August 23
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Refurbished, Refreshed, and Rejuvenated

We’ve been hard at work this summer improving and enhancing the GWA campus to better serve our students and families.


  • As you know, summer is in no hurry to give way to the cooler days of fall, so we’re replacing the two large, 40-year-old HVAC units that service the upper school building. This much-needed project should be completed by August 1.
  • We are also resurfacing our parking lot and want to thank Scott Briscoe who was very helpful in this long-overdue project.


  • This fall, GWA launches our new Pre-K3 program. This class is already full in our very first year and we are looking at options for expanding it in 2020. Work is nearly complete on the new Pre-K3 space and we look forward to welcoming our youngest students in just a few weeks.
  • With the hiring of a Director or Lower School Curriculum, we carved an additional office out of the HUB space. (The HUB is our IT help desk.) To access the HUB, students will now enter from the outside along the driveway through the center of campus. We also converted space in this area for much-needed storage and for the television studio.


  • One of our best spaces has not received much attention over the years, so we’ve been pressure washing, repairing, painting and staining over at the softball venue. A new sign will also be installed. It looks great and is ready for action.
  • We began enhancing the cross country trail last year and we’ve worked on it even more over the summer. GWA now has a great course for our runners and we are exploring opportunities to expand the trail even further next year.
  • We will also unveil a brand new outdoor volleyball court. This new court supports what might be our fastest growing sport. (Lacrosse may also claim that title, but volleyball has really taken off!) Although it’s designed for volleyball, several of our teams will take advantage of this facility.
  • To support our growing program, new athletic offices have been added and we have improved the entrance to the football field and playground that runs along the side of the building and added fresh landscaping.

SMALL Projects that Make a BIG Difference

  • Path to the lower field – It may seem insignificant, but students used to access the lower field through a steep, narrow, inconsistent path. We’ve cut a large swath that gradually descends to the field. It looks great and should have been done years ago. This new path also provides cross country runners a safe way to access the track and enables them to include that part of campus in their course.
  • Annual painting - We want our students and teachers to enjoy inviting spaces and we believe a fresh coat of paint on every wall makes a significant difference.
  • New carpet will greet our first graders when they return to class.
  • Courtyard outside the sixth-grade hallway: Thanks to Walker May’s Eagle Scout project, this area has gone from being an overgrown eyesore to a beautiful nook on campus.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in just a few short weeks and hope these improvements enhance the GWA experience for every student, teacher and visitor!
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Portugal/Spain 2020 Family Trip

Want a trip the whole family can love? GWA invites upper school students and their families to travel to Portugal and Spain in June 2020 in partnership with EF Tours. This eleven-day trip will journey from Lisbon to Barcelona, with stops in Toledo, Cordoba, Madrid, and Seville. Travelers will enjoy the Mediterranean culture of southwest Europe while visiting some of the world’s most historic and iconic landmarks. Additional information, including itinerary and pricing, will be available in the coming days, but trust us, you do not want to miss this opportunity! Questions? Contact Femke Côté at

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Student Trip of a Lifetime to Croatia

Where: Croatia

When: June 8-16, 2020

Cost: $3,990 – includes airfare, all accommodation/transportation costs, excursions, medical insurance, all breakfasts and some dinners

Who: Upper school students (must have completed freshman year by May 2020)

Why: Croatia is perhaps one of the most unique countries in Europe, and sits on the opposite side of the Mediterranean as Italy. The country is known for its incredible natural beauty and cinematographic history, hosting one of the HBO's most popular shows Game of Thrones. George Walton students and trip leaders will embark on an experience of a lifetime, zip-lining across the Cetina River, exploring the famous Plitvice Lakes, sea kayaking on the island of Hvar, and touring the famous historical structures that made Game of Thrones what it was!

For more information, or to register, go to

Questions? Contact Femke Côté at

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Making the Most of Charitable Efforts

Each year, the school is approached by a dozen or more reputable charities requesting we support their efforts. As much as we would like to partner with each one, we just don’t have the bandwidth to do so effectively. Further, our financial model relies on the goodwill and generosity of our families to ensure the school has the necessary resources to fulfill our mission. Finally, the school has an obligation to shield our families from continuous solicitations – both internal and external.

That said:

  • Caring for others is fundamental to an organization such as ours that is founded on Christian values.
  • We believe it's important for our students to understand their efforts can impact our local community and even change the world.
  • Championing a cause provides tremendous leadership opportunities and enables us to live our mission by providing "engaging experiences" and "inspiring lives of purpose."



George Walton Academy provides challenging instruction, engaging experiences, and global perspectives designed to inspire lives of intellectual curiosity, integrity, and purpose.


It is important that these partnerships are both meaningful to and led by our students and families. Accordingly, we are launching a new procedure for identifying causes the Academy will support:

  • Any student (or team of students) is invited to present a cause that is important to him or her (no age restriction).
  • The target audience will be faculty and staff with presentations held on Thursday, August 15.
  • Presentations should last no longer than 10 minutes.
  • To schedule a presentation, contact Ashley Short at
  • The target must be a 501C3 charity.
  • Faculty and staff will recommend one or two charities that the school will support for the upcoming year.

The Academy's support may include:

  • providing needed volunteers.
  • a limited number of mailings and/or communications to GWA families.
  • guidance / oversight of the student efforts to support the cause.
  • use of our facilities to support an event or host meetings.

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Scout Project Benefits GWA Community

Boy Scout and GWA senior Walker May completed his Eagle Project at GWA by revitalizing the sixth- grade courtyard. He is a member of Troop 81 in Monroe and has attended GWA since K4. Walker recognized that the courtyard was due for improvements and he envisioned a relaxing space for sixth graders, teachers and others to enjoy. After consulting with Dr. Dolan and sixth-grade teachers, he and his fellow scouts as well as adult leaders pressure-washed all of the hard surfaces, painted the walls and freshened up the plant beds. Based on the photos- it looks like mission accomplished. Way to go, Walker!

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Would you help make it possible for deserving students to attend GWA? Participation in Georgia GOAL doesn't require additional money out of your pocket. It's a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, and the window is still open to contribute!

  • Participating in this program is an opportunity to put your tax dollars to work for YOUR school.
  • Not participating in this program allows the state to use your tax dollars however they see fit.
  • Your child's school benefits because we are able to offer funds to attract other deserving students.

Don't miss out!

· Please complete the simple application attached HERE. GOAL will take care of submitting your application to the Georgia DOR for the 2019 tax year and will inform you of your prorated contribution amount.

· No further action is required until your payment is due, then GOAL will provide instructions on how to claim the 100% credit on your 2019 Georgia income tax return. Please reach out to Jessica Otts at with questions or for further information.

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As summer is coming to a close, please remember your child's summer assignments. Please click HERE to see required reading assignments, AP assignments and any classroom supply lists. This info is also available in ParentsWeb under Resources. Upper school students generally need only basic supplies such pens, pencils and paper. If special items are required- students will be informed by their teachers at Open House.

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Changes Ahead for Year-End Awards

In response to feedback we received from last year’s high school awards, we have updated our academic award requirements for the 2019-2020 school year in the following areas:

· Students in the top 10% of their class will be recognized as the Best of the Best

· Students who receive an All State distinction will be recognized as Best of the Best

· Best of the Best awards will be given out during the High School Awards night

· Students with a cumulative 90-94.99 GPA will be recognized on the Honor Roll

· Students with a cumulative 95-100 GPA will be recognized on the Headmaster’s List

We look forward to the academic achievements of our students this year.

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Mr. Terrell is in Your Corner!

Hello Everyone! My name is Jon Terrell and I will be serving as the new Director of College Counseling. I’m very excited to be joining the GWA family and getting to know all the students and parents! I have spent the last eight years at the Brookstone School in Columbus, Georgia and prior to that I spent five years in Admissions and Financial Aid at Berry College. I would like to share a few notes with senior and junior parents.

First, for seniors and parents, on Open House day (Monday, August 19) we will be hosting two sessions of “The College Application Process for Seniors & Parents” in which I encourage you to attend. Students and parents may attend either the 8 – 8:45 a.m. session prior to the 9 a.m. meeting or the 5 – 5:45 p.m. session prior to the 6 p.m. meeting. While attendance isn’t mandatory this year, the college office would love for all families to attend one of the two sessions. I personally would like to meet everyone and also, Laura and I want to make sure families are aware of the “who, what, where, when and why” of the college application process and to ensure students, parents and the college office are all on the same page. We will also be available to answer and questions or concerns you may have. We are very excited to work with your students this year and can’t wait to see where life takes them!

Second, for juniors and parents, later in the school year, we will begin setting up individual, one-on-one meetings with students and their parents. We will begin the college exploratory process. We will discuss colleges of interests for students (and parents) as well as make suggestions of other schools to check out. We will review grades, class schedules and make sure your children are on track for the admission requirements at schools they are interested in applying to in the future. We are happy to meet with families as much as you need during the school year to feel as prepared as possible for the college admissions/application process.

Lastly, for all high school students, we will be introducing a new college software resource for the students called CIALFO. GWA used Naviance last year and we are trying a new program this year that we hope will be more student friendly and resourceful throughout the year. More info on CIALFO will come in the following weeks.

For any parents that have any questions or concerns about college, the application process or any related topic – feel free to drop by our office this summer or give us a call. We are looking forward to helping navigate everyone through the process.

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Please go to this link – - to purchase your yearbook.

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The last days to have your senior pictures made are soon approaching! If you haven’t yet had your senior portraits taken yet, please call Elena De La Rosa Photography at (770) 861-5890 or email her at to set up an appointment now. She will be scheduling senior portrait sessions at her studio in Monroe during the GWA open house dates (Aug. 19 and 20) for those seniors that weren’t able to make any of the previous summer session dates. Don’t miss your chance to have your picture in the yearbook!

Start working on your senior yearbook pages now! You can purchase and design your senior pages at or you can contact yearbook advisor Liz Jones about purchasing a staff designed page for $50 more. For questions, contact Liz Jones at

Please remember that seniors DO NOT need to purchase a yearbook!!! One senior yearbook is provided to each senior this year. Any additional copies of the book (for siblings or other family members) will need to be purchased.

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Dress Code Reminder

For 2019-2020, GWA will still allow skirts, (as well as skorts, pants and shorts), but skirts will no longer be an option in 2020-2021. Skorts are available in the Dawg Shop, at S’cool Stuff in Loganville and on online at Please click HERE for complete dress code guidelines.

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Dawgs 360 Makes Bulldog Life Complete!

Dawgs 360 embodies the GWA Bulldog spirit and encompasses Bulldog life in so many meaningful ways. With over 400 members and an army of 500 volunteers, Dawgs 360 gives our community the opportunity to get involved, enjoy fellowship, support students and teachers, welcome new GWA families and much more. There are plenty of Dawgs 360 events on the horizon and we invite all to participate as we strive to make the George Walton experience even better.

A family membership to the organization is $100 annually and Dawgs 360 member families enjoy:

*Admission to all concerts, plays, and performances

*Admission to all home athletic competitions, except playoffs

*Field trips, for both the student and the member chaperone (overnight field trips require additional fee)

*Class parties

*10% discount on all regular-priced items at the Dawg Shop

To join, please complete the membership form and return to Director of Dawgs 360 Elizabeth McDonel. For questions and information- email

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Don't Miss Our Upcoming Parent Socials!

Dawgs 360 and Student Life are happy to announce dates for this year's parent socials. We invite all parents to join us in the cafeteria for an opportunity to meet new families, reconnect with parents and learn about the exciting events we have planned for the new school year!

Parent Socials:

Tuesday, August 27, 6 - 7 p.m.

Pre-K3 – First Grade

  • First-grade parents should arrive at 6 p.m. to learn about our senior/first grader tradition
  • PreK-3 thru K5 parents should plan to arrive at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, September 8

  • Second - Fifth Grade - 2 - 2:45 p.m.
  • Middle School - 3 – 3:45 p.m.
  • High School - 4 - 4:45 p.m.

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Are you ready to go the distance? It's time to sign up for our 5K and Fun Run on Sunday, Sept. 29. The Fun Run begins at 1:30 p.m. and the 5K begins at 2:30 p.m. Click HERE to register.
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GWA Softball in Full Swing

The Lady Dawgs are ready for another great season of varsity softball! Come out to cheer them on as they play two home games before the start of school- August 9 @ 5 p.m. vs. Loganville and August 20 @ 4:45 p.m. vs. Prince Avenue.

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Volleyball Teams Gear Up

Following summer practice and scrimmages- our JV and varsity volleyball teams are getting set to serve up action on the court with their first varsity match at FPD on August 8 and second match at home vs. Rockdale County HS on August 13 at 5 p.m. Go Lady Dawgs!

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Calling All Alumni!

All George Walton Academy alumni are invited to our first-ever GWA Alumni Weekend! Get ready to reconnect with classmates and friends during Homecoming 2019 as part of GWA’s 50th anniversary celebration. The festivities will include amazing food, a live band, new venues and, of course, the best company! Stay tuned for details!

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