In Focus @ GWA
A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy
Remembering a Beloved Educator
Mr. Steven Whitley served as Associate Headmaster and High School Principal at George Walton Academy for 23 years. In that time, our community was blessed by his genuine love of our children, his unwavering support in good times and in bad, and his quiet selflessness that improved the lives of all who knew him. Mr. Whitley passed in December 2017 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. To honor him and celebrate a truly extraordinary man and school leader, GWA has created a scholarship fund in his name.
The Steven Whitley Memorial Scholarship Fund will continue his legacy of focusing on the individual and his or her experience while at GWA and in life, to turning opportunities into realities, and to encourage students to set stretch goals and then helping to make them more attainable. This fund will provide both needs- and merit-based awards for GWA students pursuing extraordinary academic, artistic, or leadership opportunities. Our initial goal for this fund is to raise $100,000. To date, we have raised $80,000 toward our goal. In order to extend and grow Mr. Whitley’s legacy, we intend to award up to 10% of the established funds in any given year.
Click HERE to make your gift online and make a difference in the life of a GWA student!
For more information about this scholarship opportunity, please contact Jeanie Beach, Director of Advancement, at email@example.com or 678-635-3812. Please click on the video below to learn more about the impact Mr. Steven Whitley made on our students' lives.
Connecting our Community
Partners Across the Pacific
Beginning with 2018-2019 school year, GWA will require one of these logo options on dress code approved apparel. We have made an effort to narrow down the numerous versions of GWA logos over the past two years resulting in improved visual identity in the community and a cohesive appearance on campus.
A former uniform supplier, Parker School Uniforms, is no longer in business. The Dawg Shop, Lands’ End and S’Cool Stuff in Loganville will continue to offer GWA apparel. Please check out the Dawg Shop page on our website for a convenient direct link to the Lands’ End website as well as the list of dress code requirements. Please note that Lands’ End will now offer GWA plaid skirts and jumpers. S’Cool Stuff will continue to provide our plaid skorts and jumper. We ask all families to purchase dress code items (with the exception of shorts/pants) only from approved suppliers or through sports player packs. For further details on dress code requirements, please visit the Dawg Shop page at gwa.com.
No Matter How You Slice It, Pi Day Is A Hit!
Our talented food service team does it again! Their imaginative designs help extend learning to the lunchroom. For example, special pies for "Pi Day." Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi). Pi Day is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π. SAGE also presented their first ever SMOOTHIE Bar at break, blending a wide array of fruits for both middle and high school students to enjoy.
An Inspiring Encounter
Ten upper school students had the opportunity to attend the Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association’s (AVVBA) March meeting as part of the "I Did It For You" intensive. Retired U.S. Army Major General and Medal of Honor recipient Patrick Brady was the featured speaker. Students were split up amongst the 300 AVVBA members and their wives, so each student had the chance to connect with each veteran personally and to create a unique experience. Junior Alex Aull’s favorite part of the meeting was “when we all stood for the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. I could feel the patriotism filling up the room. All of the Veterans sung the National Anthem as loud and passionate as they could. It was such an inspiring moment." The veterans enjoyed spending time with the students and sharing their stories with a new audience. We hope to see many of them again at the "I Did It For You" closing honor ceremony on March 25th.
As part of GWA's participation in the AVVBA meeting, Fine Arts Department Chair, Brian Cole presented information to veterans on the Veteran's Wall Project to be incorporated in the I Did It For You exhibition (see below for details).
Lori Hines Named Coach of the Year
George Walton Academy is pleased to announce that head coach Lori Hines has been named Walton Tribune Coach of the Year! She has coached the GWA girls varsity basketball team for eight years- leading them to the state playoffs for a seventh consecutive year. Congratulations to Coach Hines (pictured with GWA Athletic Director Mark Whitley) for this achievement and thank you for your dedication to our athletes!
By Coach Grace Martin
A person who volunteers may experience many personal benefits, but that is not why they choose to volunteer. The goal for the majority of volunteers is to give back and interact with their community. Last Friday, I was prepared to show up, give back and be a cheerful volunteer at the middle school track meet. Honestly, I was going to do my best to help, but I expected it would just be another routine day. I definitely didn’t expect to take anything monumental away from those few hours spent running the high jump event. I had let the monotony of the day get the best of me and did not think the track meet would bring excitement or personal satisfaction.
As we started the boy’s high jump, I tried to encourage each athlete and cheer him on as he competed. The last high jumper on the list was a student from George Walton, Angus Bateman. Each time his name was called, he walked up with a little hesitation and cleared the pole. All of the other competitors seemed confident, like they had done this event before, but that didn’t seem to bother Angus. Even though I didn’t know much about track or the high jump, I started to see he could possibly place and finish strong. Finally, when it got down to two athletes left, Angus cleared the pole, while the other competitor fell short. When I told him that he won, he smiled and explained he had never even competed in that event. The joy that I felt for him was something I can’t really describe. I turned the results in, which showed our George Walton athlete was first out of eight competitors, and I walked off the track feeling extremely blessed to be a part of something bigger than myself. Angus Bateman, thank you for the motivation to try something new and the reminder that volunteering is much more than showing up.
Game - Set - Match...and UNDEFEATED!
And in other exciting news....
We are celebrating big varsity victories! Boys varsity soccer won over Landmark Christian 4-2, our golf teams defeated Walnut Grove, girls varsity tennis beat Walnut Grove 5-0 and varsity baseball shut out Riverside 12-0! Way to go, Bulldogs!
Youth Cheer Registration Dates
If your daughter is a rising kindergarten through sixth-grade student, she is welcome to register for GWA Youth cheer! Registration is March 26-27 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Nicholson Center concession area. If you have any questions, please contact Christie Briscoe at (770) 652-8904 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Their Time to Shine
A Passionate Purpose
Defining moments in life. They help shape who we are and the lives we lead moving forward. For 2014 graduate Makayla Zammett, her courageous mom’s battle and victory over cancer motivated her to become an inspiring advocate and fundraiser for Camp Kesem, supporting children facing the same situation.
Camp Kesem is a non-profit organization with more than 85 chapters across the country at various universities. It’s a completely college student-run organization that works to provide year-round support for children whose parents have cancer. Volunteers fundraise all year and provide a completely free summer camp for the kids, in addition to supporting their families through the good and bad times.
Makayla was just four when her mom was diagnosed and she can relate to the feelings and uncertainty children experience when their parents are cancer patients. She enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to volunteer with Camp Kesem when the chapter launched last year at the University of Alabama. She began as volunteer coordinator and now serves as director of the organization, overseeing all coordinator groups, planning fundraising events throughout the community, identifying new families that need Kesem, and communicating with national representatives to make sure the group is on track. She attended a leadership conference this year and has helped her team increase their fundraising by more than 100 percent. They have now raised almost 20,000 of their 40,000 dollar goal.
“I hope to spread the word of what Kesem is throughout all communities for any families that could be affected,” said Makayla. “Kesem as completely changed my life, and made the pain of dealing with cancer a little bit easier. I hope that every family that has to deal with this situation can have Kesem to lean on in their life.”
Makayla is pictured above with Camp Kesem co-director Gillian Dooley at last year’s event where 20 children were blessed and more than $27,000 was raised. She is an athletic training major at Alabama and plans to continue her studies to obtain her Masters. She intends to pursue a career in collegiate athletics.
On the Road Again!
March 24 - Atlanta College Application Mini-Camp
Workshops on preparing for college presented by several university reps on the Georgia State campus. Recommended for ninth-eleventh grade students and families. Register.
March 25 - NACAC University Fair
Close to 200 colleges will be in attendance at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling University Fair. Learn more and register.
March 26 - GWA College Fair
More information to come in next week's In Focus.
Grateful for GWA Grandparents
Thank you to all our grandparents who serve at our GWA events. You are a key part of our community and are greatly appreciated. Seen above, Mr. George Baker, grandfather of Carsyn and Reese Baker, volunteering his time to help make the Parents and Patriots Night a success!
Gearing Up for Summer Camps!
Summer camps are just around the corner, so we encourage you to block off June 4-8 and July 30-Aug. 3 because you don’t want to miss out on the fun! Lots of new exciting camps are being offered including Battle Bots, All-Sports Camp, Bulldog Adventures and many other favorites. Information and sign ups to go out after spring break.