In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

October 29, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • New Picture Makeup/Retake Day: Nov. 4
  • Coffee with Admin: Nov. 5 @ 8:15 a.m.
  • Virtual Veterans Day Celebration: Nov. 11
  • Homecoming Week: Nov. 9 -13
  • Senior/First Grader Breakfast: Nov. 12
  • Early Dismissal - All Grades: Friday, Nov. 13 (see below)
  • Homecoming Dance: Nov. 21
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Gaining Global Perspective

My name is Natasha Garren and this is my first year as the Global Studies Coordinator for Lower School. Although my master's degree is in English Philology, I developed a passion for global education while traveling the world while working for Aeroflot Russian Airlines. Afterwards, I taught English in China and was a classroom teacher at an International Baccalaureate school in Dubai. My goal is to share my international experience and perspectives with GWA lower school students.


It is important to start developing an understanding of the impact our actions have on the world from an early age. For example, last month third-grade students learned about waste management and environmental consequences of not recycling. They were especially surprised to learn how long it takes for some items to degrade in the landfill and that some countries are running out of space to dump their trash.


My mission is to expose lower school students to different nationalities, cultural backgrounds, and customs, and help them appreciate both the commonalities and differences among people of the world. For instance, in one of the global studies classes, students defined culture and discussed the elements that form any culture’s unique way of life. Third graders had a lot of fun inventing their own cultures and sharing them with their classmates. Similarly, fourth graders worked in teams while researching elements of different cultures online, such as language, religion, traditional food, celebrations, etc. That topic led to a series of lessons on immigration. Third-grade students developed an understanding of the concept of immigration and how immigrants from different cultures shaped our nation. They started working on a “My Family Heritage” project, which will help them learn more about their own family history.


Global education isn't only about international travel - it's also about bringing the world to classrooms! Fourth-grade students have investigated various homes around the world. Their favorite part of the class was exploring real houses through Google Earth. By the end of that class, they were able to recognize geographic, environmental, cultural and economic factors that influence the way homes worldwide are designed.


This week, third and fourth graders learned about Halloween around the world through participating in a Global Studies Escape Room Challenge. They had to work in teams to complete various tasks, solve riddles and crack cipher codes while discovering interesting facts about Halloween in different countries. They learned what Halloween is called in Sweden, why people in Belgium are not happy to see a black cat on Halloween night, what “Yue Lan” means in Chinese and many other fun facts. This activity also helped students reinforce their team building and problem-solving skills.


I also believe that even though it’s not easy to navigate controversial content, it’s important to talk about such topics as prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, etc. in order to cultivate students’ awareness, respect, and appreciation for their local community which will extend to the greater world.

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Royal Research

Mr. Griffin’s eighth-grade Georgia History class is studying the royal governors of Georgia – John Reynolds, Henry Ellis, and James Wright. Students broke into groups with each group researching one of the three colonial governors. They gathered information about their accomplishments, failures, and years in office as well as their personal lives and presented their findings to classmates. Students took notes on the information shared and will use their knowledge to create a triple Venn diagram of Georgia’s three royal governors.

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Worms That Work

As part of their study of farming in the Southeast, GWA third graders learned about composting and the role worms play in creating healthy soil. They watched as Red Wiggler worms turned food scraps into soil. Following the lesson, Mrs. Bishop’s students made a trip to the high school compost pile, created by Mr. Cole’s Sustainable Living Class, to release the worms into their new home!

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Youth Leadership Members Announced

The Walton Chamber Youth Leadership Walton Program includes both junior and senior year components. These students represent the seven high schools in Walton County. In the junior year, the students receive CEO level leadership training through the UGA Fanning Institute for Leadership curriculum and in the senior year, engage in community awareness programs. We are excited about the positive impact this program has on our schools and community. Congratulations to our new junior representatives - Ella Rowan, Emmie Mitchell, Reagan May and Will Herren!
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Picture Retakes - Take Three

Wednesday, Nov. 4, is the new, rescheduled picture makeup day in the Commons (previously the upper school library). Click HERE for the link to the list of every student that hasn't had pictures made yet. Please try your best to have these students at school on the Nov. 4 for these pictures. There are extra picture order forms in the front office if you need them.


We will also be offering any needed picture retakes on this day (retakes are offered if there is obvious error or issue that made the first photo unusable for the yearbook). If your student needs retakes, please send the physical picture order with your child on Wednesday WITH A NOTE ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED FOR THIS PHOTO! If you are having retakes, the RETAKE will be the picture that prints in the yearbook and in your replacement photos.

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HOCO 2020

We are looking forward to homecoming festivities in November! Please see the details below for this fun-filled week! If you purchased a homecoming t-shirt - it will be available for pick up in the Dawg Shop on Nov. 5.


Dress Up Days: Monday-Friday (Nov. 9-13)

  • Monday: Country vs. Country Club
  • Tuesday: Mathlete vs. Athlete
  • Wednesday: Holiday
  • Thursday: Group/Duo/Celebrity
  • Friday: Spirit Day: Seniors- black, Juniors-white, Sophomores- red, Freshmen-Gray


Middle and high school will participate in all five of the dress up days.

Lower school will participate in the last three dress up days.


Homecoming Pep Rally (Revised Version)

Friday morning, Nov. 13

Pep rally will start at the field house and wind through campus – includes homecoming court (in cars), band, cheerleaders, majorettes and football players.


Powder Puff Game

Friday morning, Nov. 13

Powder puff game following the mini pep rally. High school students will attend the powder puff game. Homecoming King court will be announced.


Early Dismissal – Friday, Nov. 13

  • Lower school will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.
  • Middle school will be dismissed at 12 p.m.
  • High school students may leave after the powder puff game.


Homecoming Game: GWA vs. Athens Academy

  • Friday, Nov. 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
  • Homecoming queen crowned at halftime
  • Homecoming king crowned at bonfire after football game


Homecoming Dance

  • Saturday, November 21, 8 – 11 p.m., football field
  • GWA high school students ONLY
  • Dates from other schools not permitted due to COVID-related precautions
  • Theme: “Glow in the Dark”
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Join Us on December 6!

Mark your calendars for Gingerbread Christmas! COVID can’t get Christmas down, but it does mean we will need to make a few changes. This year’s event is Sunday, Dec. 6 from 4-5 p.m. and will be a drive-thru event. Our theme is Christmas Greetings From Around the World. Our clubs, athletics, and other groups will be passing out goodies and projects to do at home and Santa will be there to wave and have his helper pass out candy canes. We will still have our gingerbread house contest for cash prizes! For contest details, click HERE. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. Want to be involved in Gingerbread Christmas? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com and we will get you on board to help us celebrate the season!

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Christmas Cheer for All to Hear!

The Advancement Office is putting together a Christmas video as part of our Gingerbread Christmas event. We would like to invite students, teachers, parents, (or groups who safely produce their own video via a digital platform such a Zoom) or families to submit a video of you singing or playing an instrument (or both) a favorite Christmas song. Below are the details.


  • Deadline for submission: noon on Nov. 20.
  • Attire: Please wear something with a Christmas theme
  • We will do our best to feature all the videos, but some may be shortened due to time constraints or duplicates.
  • Please upload your video HERE.
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Dealing with the Unexpected

By Lynn Robinson

Director of School Counseling


Today’s school cancelation was unexpected. Yesterday’s weather reports seemed to indicate that the remnants of Hurricane Zeta would pass through the Monroe area in time for the school to start its day as usual. But when I hit the road around 6 a.m., ready to administer the PSAT, the weather was far more than the heavy rain I had expected. The closer I got to Monroe, the harder the wind blew. I was grateful that Dr. Dolan made the decision to cancel school.


Our school community is getting really good at dealing with the unexpected. We are taking these unusual events in our stride and working through them the best we can. We are being flexible, because we understand that flexibility in the face of the unexpected is a sign of a healthy thriving community.


As I look back at the last eight months, I can’t help but be proud of the GWA family. We are making it through a very difficult year, and we will continue to do so, no matter what comes our way.

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Friday Night Lights

Cheer on our 5-0 varsity Bulldogs tomorrow night - in person or watch the livestream. Our alumni commentators, Ben Doster ('82) and Richard Hester ('84) are back by popular demand, so don't miss a minute! Click HERE for the ticketing guidelines and HERE for the livestream link (available on our website and to be posted on social media). If you are planning to attend the game, be sure to show up hungry! Mr. David is serving up BBQ, hamburgers and hotdogs plus drinks and candy. Let's go GWA!
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Dawgs on Top!

The GWA 5/6 football team ended their season this past Tuesday. The team went undefeated on their season, making them the first GWA Youth tackle team to have a perfect record! These fifth- and sixth-grade boys played with grit, determination, and a dedication to learning and improving each time they touched the field. Opposing coaches and game referees consistently commented on their ability to play and win with class. The team outscored its opponents 292 – 51. This talented group of young men was coached by Jason Inman, Mike Inman, Cole ‘Bear’ Inman, Ryan Holliday and GWA alum Zach Inman (’11) and Mason Johnson (’13). Way to go, Bulldogs!

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Soccer Kicks Off in January

Soccer season is set to begin in January! If your sixth - 12th grade student is interested in playing for the middle school or varsity teams, please fill out the form below. If you have any questions regarding the season or commitment, please contact Sara Smith at ssmith@gwa.com.

https://forms.gle/DZAGBLATwyNZTTDP8

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Corporate Partner Spotlight: Burrow & Associates

Founded in 1996 by Darrell L. Burrow, Burrow & Associates has practiced exclusively in the areas of personal injury and bankruptcy for the past 24 years. Their personal injury team has recovered millions in personal injury settlements and verdicts over this time period. Their bankruptcy team has filed more than 17,000 cases in both the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, making Burrow & Associates one of the top ten bankruptcy petition filers in the State of Georgia.


They have offices in Duluth, Conyers, Morrow, Athens, Kennesaw, and Gainesville making it easy for you to visit in person wherever you are in North Georgia. And, if you are unable to visit the office; a home visit to you will be made by one of the lawyers.


They handle car accident cases, motorcycle accident cases, slip and fall injury cases, medical malpractice cases, and more, as well as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia.


Darrell and his wife, Laura, have three daughters: Abbie, who graduated in 2017, Allison in twelfth grade and Addison in ninth grade.

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by PureTalk USA (www.puretalkusa.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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