In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

November 12, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Early Dismissal - All Grades: Friday, Nov. 13 (see below)
  • Bonfire Cancelled: Nov. 13
  • Winter Sports Photo Days - Nov. 18 & 19
  • Homecoming Dance: Nov. 21
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 23 - 27
  • Preview Day: Dec. 3
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Always a Bulldog

Homecoming is a time of reflection, as well as an opportunity to come together and reminisce on campus. Our alumni typically fill campus and Monroe as they catch up with one another while enjoying great food, fellowship, and attending homecoming festivities.


Due to COVID, our celebrations look different, but we still want to recognize our alumni and their accomplishments. We look forward to a time when we will be able to resume alumni events and reconnect “in person.”


GWA alumni have a legacy of returning to our community after college to serve others, open businesses and help the city of Monroe grow and progress. You will find our graduates in municipal leadership, in volunteer roles with local non-profits, at downtown businesses and on our little league fields, coaching young players. We are especially thrilled to have a number of alumni return to campus as valued teachers, coaches and staff members.


Our Bulldogs reach and influence extends beyond GWA’s hometown – it has no limits. These alumni live and work across the country and around the world. Our grads are finding success in the medical field, working abroad in marketing, innovating in media and technology, and proudly serving in our military.


George Walton Academy alumni are making a difference through their intellect, compassion, and drive. They lead our students by example and fulfill the mission to “inspire lives of curiosity, integrity and purpose.” Go Bulldogs!


Savanna McMichael ('06)

Alumni Relations

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Hannah Cole (’14) currently works full time at the UGA Wesley Foundation, which is a campus ministry which exists to enable students to encounter God and become disciples of Jesus Christ. Her role includes discipling nine college women, helping oversee various aspects of prayer ministry at Wesley and help pastor some of their younger interns. Hannah says, “It is a great privilege to work in the mission field of Athens, Georgia, where I happily live. If anyone would like to learn more about what the Lord is doing in Athens, they can sign up for my monthly updates by emailing me at hannahcole301@gmail.com!

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As a student athlete at Fort Valley State University, Brelan Holston (’19) made Dean’s List, finishing with a 4.0 GPA. He is also involved in organizations such as Psychology Club, NAACP, and the Boys to Men mentoring program. This past season as a redshirt, Brelan made the All-Academic Team finishing with the best GPA in the conference. Brelan is looking forward to his upcoming season!

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GWA Alumni Jordan Harden (’11) and Michael Thompson (’09) are making a name for themselves in Monroe. They are guiding Bistro South to quite the success. Recently, Bistro South won the Battle of the Burgers hosted by the Walton County Chamber of Commerce with a delicious take on a pimento cheese burger! Just this morning, Jordan and Michael won the hearts and stomachs of our seniors and first graders at GWA’s traditional Senior-First Grade Breakfast.


If you’re around Monroe, be sure to stop in and say hello. Bistro South is located inside John’s Supermarket in downtown. Find restaurant updates on their Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/bistrosouth

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The Roman Wedding

By Cortney Pickens and Latin IV students


The Latin IV students began their Wedding Unit by translating excerpts from the story of Pyramus et Thisbe by Ovid, an ancient tale of young lovers who were forbidden to marry (a story that became the well-known play Romeo and Juliet). Students learned about every facet of the Roman wedding from the betrothal ceremony to the parting of the bride’s hair by spearpoint.


Our bride, Abbey Sheppard, wore the typical garb of a Roman bride: a white dress, a yellow hairnet and a fiery orange veil called a flammeum. Our groom, Colin Fennell, wore a toga virilis, the traditional garb for Roman men. There were also two augurs, or Roman seers, who performed an ovomancy using eggs to divine whether or not it was an auspicious day for a wedding. The ceremony itself was presided over by Suhani Rama, who played the part of pronuba; she joined the right hands of the bride and groom, then exchanged vows. Colin asked Abbey, “Quid nomen tibi est? What is your name?” and Abbey answered, “Quando tu Gaius, ego Gaia. Where you are Gaius, I am Gaia.


Following the ceremony, the entire wedding party walked in a parade from the bride’s house (the GWA pavilion) to the home of the groom (the Latin classroom), throwing candy (in place of nuts) to small children and chanting to the god of marriage “O Hymen! O Hymenaeus!”. The festivities ended with our groom carrying his bride over the threshold lest she trip and begin her married life with a stumble.

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Berry Interesting

Third graders are studying the regions of the United States and the resources and industries unique to each area. As apart of the unit on the Northeast, students learned about cranberry crops and had the opportunity to test and observe characteristics of the small berry. Students used their observation skills and the scientific method to predict outcomes and test different variables. They learned about the cranberry’s small internal pockets of air that allow them to float, and noted the effects of oil, vinegar, and no liquid on the berry. Lastly, third graders enjoyed building a 3D structure using the berries as connectors and were challenged to build the highest structure.

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Read. Read. Read.

Take a look around the lower school and you will see student book buckets bursting with books from classroom libraries and our very own school library. Students have IDR, which stands for independent daily reading, every single day. During this time they get to spend dedicated time reading books on their independent reading level but they also get to have reading conferences with their teachers. During a reading conference, a student reads to the teacher and they talk about the books they have chosen, what they are learning from the book, how they are applying the reading strategies they have learned, and if the book is a good fit. Having IDR allows students to read, read, and read some more.


When they complete a book, teachers have unique ways of displaying the multitude of books being read. Some rooms you will see rainbows with a student’s name and the title of the book they have read. In a different room you’ll see large pieces of confetti or Mickey Mouse or book spines or links on a paper chain. Whether it is displayed or not, allowing students to choose books that they can read independently, explore different genres and authors without the confines of a point system, develops readers for life.

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HOCO 2020

Homecoming Week festivities wrap up tomorrow and the high school dance will take place on Saturday, Nov. 21.


Spirit Day: tomorrow- ALL grades

  • High school: seniors- black, juniors- white, sophomores- red, freshmen-gray
  • Middle school: eighth- black, seventh- red, sixth- white or gray


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

  • Pre-game festivities begin at 6:45 p.m.
  • Kickoff @ 7:30 p.m.
  • Homecoming queen crowned at halftime


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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Admissions Season Begins!

Spread the word Bulldogs, we are excited to kick-off the 2021-2022 admissions season with our first Preview GWA event on Thursday, December 3. Applications are being submitted daily and interest in GWA continues to grow. If you or someone you know is considering GWA, please complete an application at your earliest convenience to reserve your space before they are gone. Applications for the 2021-2022 school year are available at gwa.com under the admissions tab. Contact the Admissions Office with questions.

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Thank you, Veterans

This year we are pleased to honor our cherished veterans virtually in a Veterans Day celebration video and continue a very special GWA tradition. Our entire student body as well as all faculty and staff gathered to watch the video throughout campus on Wednesday morning. The program includes an interview with veteran and Head of Dr. Dan Dolan, music by the GWA band, vocalist Kilissa Gasaway, veterans’ photos and “thank you” messages from our students. To view the video, please click HERE or visit gwa.com. Also, this week’s student podcast – Dawg Talk, features Dr. Dolan’s interview in its entirety. Click HERE to listen.


THANK YOU to all of the brave men and women who have proudly served and sacrificed for our nation.

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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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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 goodies. 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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Feeling Blue? Say Thank You

It has been a long, arduous year, and we have been pushed to the limits of our ability to cope. Now November has arrived. I find great comfort in the holiday season, especially thanksgiving. Undoubtedly, this year's celebrations will look a little different, but I know some things will remain: I will still listen to Christmas music and decorate too early, wear sweaters and scarves, watch the leaves fall, sip coffee by a fire, cozy up under a blanket with a book, and ponder all that I am thankful for. That last part is so important, not only because being grateful helps us keep things in perspective, but also because expressing gratitude can actually help improve your mood. Read about it in this article Giving Thanks Can Make You Happier and watch a short video here An Experiment in Gratitude. Then give it a try - call, write, or tell someone in person why you are grateful for them.


Please allow me to now express my gratitude to all of you, our George Walton family. You are wonderful. Thank you for being flexible this year, for doing all that you have to protect and support each other, and for helping us stay in school. I know it has not been easy, and I know there are good days and bad days. But I know we will get through this together. Thank you for adapting, persevering, and partnering with us through it all.


I am so very thankful for you.


Sincerely,

Lindsey Bailey

Lower School Counselor

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Grand Champions, Again!

The George Walton Academy Marching Bulldog Band left it all on the field Saturday night at their final competitive performance. They earn a third consecutive Grand Championship, against 20 bands! Super Bowl of Sound overall winners of GE, Music, Visual, Brass, and Drum major. First place percussion open class, and second place guard open class. Drum major Jolie Lanier clenched a final win; undefeated as top drum major at every competition in both 2019 & 2020.


Thank you to all families, friends, staff, and admin who helped make this season the success it was! Go Bulldogs!

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Boogie Woogie!

Our GWA high school dancers, under direction of dance teacher Genie Wiggins filmed a dance choreographed to the tune of the World War II era classic “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy.” Originally performed by the Andrew Sisters in a 1941 movie, the song became historically significant for lifting military morale and patriotism during wartime. Enjoy this fun tribute to our troops by clicking HERE.

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HOCO Game Tomorrow

Our GWA Bulldogs take on the Spartans from Athens Academy in Friday night’s homecoming game!


Tickets (vouchers) are very limited - but will be available on Friday morning in the front office to any fan wishing to attend the game. The ticket voucher is needed to pay the $8 admission at the gate, Dawgs 360 members are free with a voucher. If you can’t attend – tune in to the livestream (starts at 6:45 p.m.) and listen to our commentators, alumni Ben Doster (’82) and Richard Hester (’84). The livestream link is provided below and will also be available at gwa.com. Go Bulldogs!


https://youtu.be/p0ZmRsRq9uw

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Swim Dawgs Rock!

The Swim Dawgs had a great first outing at Saturday’s Rockin’ Raider meet in Clarksville, Georgia. The team has grown to include 23 swimmers and delivered some impressive results while competing with 15 schools at the invitational.


· Charlie Stout qualified for state competition in the 100yd Butterfly and in the 100 Breaststroke

· Varsity Boys Medley Relay is one second from state qualifying time

· Varsity Boys 200 Free Relay is two seconds from state qualifying time

· Varsity Girl 200 Free relay is two seconds away from state qualifying time


Coaches and swimmers are excited about the season and look to improve times each week. Way to go, Bulldogs!

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GWA Runners Compete at State

GWA varsity cross country teams wrap up their seasons at Saturday's state meet in Carrollton with a ninth place finish for the girls and 20th for the boys out of 30 teams. Top runners for GWA - Sarah Kate Bailey, Sara Bryan, Kierstin Henderson, Robby McGoldrick, Joe Brown and Dominic Williams. Runners Claire McNulty, Allie Marler, Charlie Jesel and Morgan Green also helped to propel the girls to the top ten. Jonathan Whyte, Eugene Rawl, Alex Zahradnik and Abel Moreno also competed for the boys. Congrats, Bulldog runners and coaches!

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Do you make a great grab-n-go sweet treat? I am looking for five more bakers to provide a dozen individually wrapped treats that can be dropped off at the front office at 8 a.m. tomorrow. One dozen gluten-free treats are also needed. These delicious desserts will be shared with faculty and staff on Friday.


Thank you sharing your loving from the oven!

Elizabeth McDonel

emcdonel@gwa.com

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Athens Orthopedic Clinic (www.athensorthopedicclinic.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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