In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

April 28, 2022

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Spring Band Concert: April 28 @ 7 p.m.
  • Cinderella: April 28 & 29 @ 6 p.m.
  • LS School Supplies on Sale: 4/28-6/9 (see below)
  • Field Day: April 29, 9-11 a.m.
  • Rising 6th Grade Meeting: May 3 @ 6 p.m. in auditorium
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Robotic Golf 101

By Mark Gasaway


The middle school Robotics 101 class celebrated over 88 years of golf history in Georgia and the Masters Tournament. Students designed, built, and tested robots that could play golf. Students first had to develop the criteria and constraints for the project. Next, they built a robot that could play six holes of golf. Each hole was a par three (about 20 feet) and the robot had to hit the ball with various swings or clubs to get the ball into the cup. Students discovered new challenges that golfers have experienced on the course like the lie of a fairway and the wind on the ball. While robotic golf will probably not take off as a new show on the Golf Channel, students were able to practice solving a problem while having fun.

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Clean Water Challenge

Fourth-grade STEM students completed a water-filtration challenge as an engaging Earth Day activity. After learning about the effects of water pollution and the importance of water conservation, students made their own water filters. First, they combined a measured amount of clean water with natural and man-made debris. Next, they sketched two prototypes and selected from a range of filtering materials, including cotton balls, coffee filters, paper towels and filter squares. Students poured (dirty) water into the filter and observed the color/consistency of the water and the amount of water that permeated the filter. They analyzed the clean water results on a scale from one to 10 to determine how successful their filters were. Based on that, and how much water came through, students concluded how effective the prototype was in cleaning up the water.

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Double, Double Toil and Trouble

The Shakespeare Tavern performed The Tragedy of Macbeth for our British Literature and AP English classes. After a semester of studying Shakespeare’s plays and literary arguments in their respective classes, our students experienced Shakespeare’s work as it was intended to be experienced: live on the stage!
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Youth Leadership Award Winner

Michael Mealor has been selected as one of the recipients of the Covington Rotary Youth Leadership Award. The award entitles recipients to attend the leadership camp at Tallulah Falls School in North Georgia for three days in late May, during which they are challenged physically and mentally in building the skills needed to become leaders among their peers.


Head of School Gary Hobbs is pictured congratulating Michael on this award and the opportunity he now has to further develop his leadership skills.

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Competent Toastmasters

Senior Gavel members gathered in the GWA cafeteria to present their senior speeches in front of their parents, fellow Gavel members, faculty and parent advisors. The speeches they gave were heartfelt and inspiring – each one remarkable and skillfully crafted. It is easy to see how much these students have gained from their years in the club.


This year, there were 16 participating seniors, with 15 achieving Competent Toastmaster status. Congratulations to our Competent Toastmasters:


Michael Chick

Cassie Culver

Mac Geoffroy

Taylor Grossman

Will Herren

Noah Hicks

Avery Jesel

Matthew Lazenby

Graham Lucas

Camille Malcom

Emmie Mitchell

Aiden Rainey

Eugene Rawl

Dominic Williams

Gracie Wood

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Walton Youth Project Advocacy Board

The Walton Youth Project is accepting student applicants for their 2022-23 Advocacy Board. The organization selects candidates aged 13 - 23 from Walton County who are civic-minded and driven to help their community. The Walton Youth Project is a not-for-profit organization with a goal to model project-based leadership for youth, while providing opportunities to make new friends and have fun! The program is designed for much more than just "resume padding" and includes hands-on leadership experience, scholarships, internships, networking opportunities, and more.


Click here to apply: 2022-23 Advocacy Board Application

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The Power of Prosthetics

By Josh Jameson


This year in the art department, our goal has been to break the norms by expanding the classes and opportunities we offer. With new materials and processes available to students, we can present rare training in fields that have been overlooked by traditional art room teachings.


With an exceptionally talented senior class this year, the concentrations have been broad, showcasing a diverse display of art forms. Senior Emma Barley’s focus is film pre-production and special effects. In collaborative crossover with the theatre department, we gave added dimension to the actors' spirited performances in the tale of Aladdin with life-like facial prosthetics, including a caricatured vilified nose for Jack Boyer’s character of Jafar and fantastic blue pointed ears for Ana Cordero’s portrayal of the Genie.


Made from silicone, the facial appliances were custom sculpted by Emma and myself on life castings taken of her classmate’s faces. The silicone mimics the flex of real human skin, and once applied to the actor’s face it moves fluidly with their movements of expression as an extension of the actor. After the pieces were molded and cast, Emma meticulously applied and blended them on the actors before curtain call. The results were stunning, and actors were allowed a deeper connection with their character performances.


“Having the ears on made me feel so complete as the Genie," said Ana Cordero. "I was prepared for the part, but the ears took me to the next level. They were super comfortable, and I barely noticed they were there. I’m super into stage makeup, so having a life-casting was such a cool experience. Overall, anyone going into theater should definitely get hyped up if they are told they can do prosthetics. I know I loved it."


"The privilege of using a nose prosthetic for a character like Jafar allowed me to connect to the character and find my element with ease," said Jack Boyer. "I had never played a villain before Jafar, and the nose allowed me to further disconnect from the way I usually act, utilizing a new array of facial expressions, further embracing the new challenge and personality.”


Coming from a background of special effects, I know first-hand how difficult it is to absorb these techniques; they simply aren’t available in a traditional classroom setting. Emma has an insatiable interest in the work and is a natural for the craft. Having the opportunity to teach her these techniques this year has been a true joy. “I’ve loved learning the process of making and applying prosthetics and I can’t wait to continue expanding my knowledge into college," said Emma.

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GWA Students Awarded Impressive Arts Scholarships

GWA artists received outstanding accolades and awards at the High School Student Art Reception at the Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts. Breena McGraw, Delaney Sims, and Alex McMunn received offers of $6,000 in scholarships from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and Rosalyn Chapman received a $14,000 scholarship to the ‘Rising Star’ program that is offered for five weeks over the summer. These four talented artists were among nine Walton County students who were awarded scholarships - an impressive showing indeed!

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Lights, Camera, Action!

GWA's talented dancers were in the spotlight as they showcased some of their favorite movie moments and songs! A predominately student-choreographed show, "Lights, Camera, Action" enabled the dancers to select themes related to Hollywood and film. The competitive dance company also presented their pieces, which will go to competition next weekend in Athens.

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From GWA's Own Garden

Thanks to the efforts of the students in the Sustainable Living program and Mr. Cole, the front office is enjoying the beauty of these lovely irises grown in GWA's garden!
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Headed to State!

Congratulations to the boys golf team on clinching a spot in the state championship tournament! The team experienced a thrilling finish at the area golf tourney at Crosswinds Golf Club in Savannah with an impressive 20-foot putt by Nathan Purvis.


The team shot 316: Will Herren 79, Matthew Herren 78, Graham Hill 79, Nathan Purvis 80, Ben Ellerbee 82, and Reed Lawrence 83. Good luck at State!

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Wrapping up a Successful Season

The girls golf team also competed well in the area tournament and had a strong season. Congratulations to Lily Jennings, Carsyn Baker, Hannah McDonel, Taylor Tinsley, and Coach Laura Nabors. Well done!

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Playoff Bound

Our varsity baseball team heads to Mount Pisgah for Round 1 of the State Playoffs on Friday, April 29. This will be a double-header with the first pitch at 1:30 p.m. Fans should purchase their tickets prior to the game at gofan.co. Click HERE to purchase. Ticket price is $10.


The physical location of the baseball stadium is 9825 Brumbelow Rd. The facility is named the Patriot Athletic Campus.


Go Bulldogs!

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Equestrian Excellence

GWA equestrain riders Hailey Wudtke and Taylor Jesel head to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania for the IEA National Finals and will compete on Friday. Best of luck, Hailey and Taylor!
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Parents - Ready to Hit the Court?

GWA is now offering an opportunity for adults to form co-ed volleyball teams to play on Wednesday nights in June from 6 to 9 p.m. The program is free and all you need to do is find five friends to help you create your co-ed team of three men and three women - or sign up as an individual to be added to a team.


Click the link to sign up: https://forms.gle/R31LsFq5qQcmskVf7


If you have any questions, send an email to dschnieders@gwa.com.

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Mental Health Matters

In the wake of the pandemic, we are all stretched to our limits. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and your mental health matters. We encourage everyone (kids, teens, emerging adults, and adults) to prioritize their mental health this month.


Learn more below and click on the image to access the full document which contains links you can click on for more details about each topic.

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Help Us Share The Love

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2 - 6) is a special time to honor the individuals who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. We hope all GWA families are excited to recognize and show gratitude to our stellar educators with special activities. We encourage you to thank our faculty by signing up to help with the following events - snacks for mailboxes, breakfast treats, desserts and in-kind donations.


It's easy to sign up - just click HERE and fill in an available slot. Questions? Please send them to Elizabeth McDonel, Dawgs 360 at emcdonel@gwa.com Thank you!

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Avondale Mortgage (www.avondalemortgage.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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