In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 19, 2019

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or visit us online.

Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Exams: Dec. 17 - 20
  • Early Dismissal: Dec. 20
  • Christmas Break: Dec. 23 - Jan. 6
  • Teacher Workday: Jan. 6
  • Winter Term: Jan. 7 - 24
  • Winter Sports Senior Night: Jan. 21
  • Prospective Family Open House: Jan. 26
Big picture
Big picture

Home for the Holidays

At GWA, we believe in the power of feeling “at home.” We know that if we get it right, kids will try new things, reach further than they have before, and step out of their comfort zones because they feel safe, secure, and supported. We also believe in the importance of growing opportunities to take advantage of that environment. For example, this fall we introduced new courses, including American Sign Language (ASL), Sustainable Living, Ethics, a range of dual enrollment classes, an Honors Inquiry Project (HIP), and Astronomy. We adopted a new reading and writing curriculum for the lower school and our younger students have visited St. Augustine, Florida, and Charleston, South Carolina. Along the way, we've welcomed more than 150 new students to our GWA family – and in many ways, we’re just getting started!


As we kick off 2020, our upper school students will embark on a three-week adventure with Winter Term. Some students will explore mini courses where students can learn how to build an electric guitar, study the science of skydiving, learn how to cook French cuisine, explore the anatomy of the eye and heart, or take another of the more than 50 offerings. More than 60 of our students will participate in internships locally, regionally, and nationally as some will go as far as New York, Montana, and Utah. Other students will attend classes at our partner schools in Spain and France, while still others will participate in medical field work in Belize. Later in the spring, the entire upper school will focus on our annual "intensive" study as they explore a common topic through cross-curricular perspectives.


It has been a fun, engaging, and full fall semester. Thank you for embracing the GWA community and making this a better place to learn and work. From stopping by the new home for Dawgs360 and volunteering to help prepare for an event--to joining in the fun of our 50th anniversary gatherings and Gingerbread Christmas - together we make GWA a home. A place where our students feel accepted, understood, safe, secure, and supported. It's true that there's no place like home for the holidays and we wish you a Merry Christmas as you gather with your family and friends. And we you hope your holiday is even sweeter knowing you have a second home and family in GWA.


Dan

Big picture
Big picture

First Grade STEM Challenge

Mrs. Blevins' first-grade class completed their very first STEM Challenge. After reading "The Gingerbread Man," the class was challenged to build a raft or boat that would keep the gingerbread man safe and dry. Students first drew their designs, and then they were given straws, tape, and a gingerbread man. Students worked together and used the supplies to bring their unique designs to life. After a 15 minute work session, the class tested their designs. Each group successfully kept their gingerbread man dry! They ended their lesson by brainstorming how they could redesign the rafts to be weight-bearing, which is the next step in their challenge.

Big picture
Big picture

Support GWA with GOAL

Looking for a last minute gift? Visit goalscholarship.org and grab a 100% Georgia income tax credit for your stocking this holiday.

Big picture
Big picture

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Last weekend, several members of the GWA Interact Club (a service organization sponsored by Rotary Club) partnered with Covington Academy Interact members to support the efforts of the Empty Stocking Fund in Covington. The students assembled stockings, organized and bagged presents for families and made deliveries.

Big picture

Sweet Rewards


Sweet treats and Christmas cheer are abounding this week! Our second, sixth, and ninth graders received their yummy treats this week in celebration of having the highest family participation rates in the Annual Loyalty Fund. The middle and upper school groups enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate bar, piling their cups high with whipped cream, marshmallows, and candy canes! Our sweet little second graders filled their bellies with the infamous “Blue Pop” as a treat from Bruster’s (Grayson).


Thank you all for your support of the Annual Loyalty Fund so far this year! 2019 has been a wonderful year at GWA. There are so many exciting events and opportunities coming in 2020.

Big picture
Big picture


As we are looking toward the coming year, please keep in mind our Golden Gala on February 22. Funds raised at the Golden Gala Benefit and Silent Auction will benefit our Annual Loyalty Fund, impacting our budget. We are beginning to gather and enter Silent Auction items in preparation for our event. If you own or work for an area business, are talented at a craft, or simply a thrifty shopper, please consider donating towards our Silent Auction. Bring all items to the Advancement Office by February 3 for inclusion in the auction.

The End of the Year is Near!

The partnership between GWA and our community is vital to the success of our Academy. Thank you for joining with us in support! Text BULLDOGS to 444-999 if you would like to get your End of the Year gift in!
Big picture
Big picture
Just in time for Christmas - the Dawg Shop is offering 30% off on all apparel! The sale runs through tomorrow. Cash, check and cards are accepted.
Big picture

Is Something Missing?

All lost and found items have been placed in the Middle School Gym. Please stop in and take a look if you are missing shoes, clothing, water bottles, lunchboxes, etc.

Big picture
Big picture

Counting Your Blessings

By Lynn Robinson, Middle and Upper School Counselor


My favorite Christmas movie is “White Christmas.” It’s a lovely story about helping a friend who is having a difficult time during the Christmas season. My dad’s favorite singer, Rosemary Clooney, George Clooney’s aunt, is in the cast, so it reminds me of my dad, too. My favorite song from the movie is called, “Counting My Blessings.” The chorus of the song begins:

“When I cannot sleep

Instead of counting sheep,

I count my blessings.”


As we come to the end of this school semester and the calendar year, I’d like to take time to count my GWA blessings. (Please note these are not in any order.)


1. GWA has students who want to learn and to do their best. It is a pleasure to see our students engage in their classrooms. In the hallways between classes, I often hear them talking about what they were learning in their last class, and I am grateful that they are safe and happy.


2. GWA has an Administration that truly cares about our students’ well-being and future. I’ve worked in several schools, and I know that leadership is important. I appreciate that what is best for our students is always at the forefront.


3. GWA teachers are skilled professionals who create engaging lessons. Again, it’s about what is best for the students, and our teachers work hard to make their lessons relevant and meaningful to their students.


4. The staff at GWA makes this school and the different student programs run smoothly. Our students have great after school activities, our buildings are well-taken care of, our technology staff are always helpful and kind, the Advancement Office is always working to show off the Academy, and we are served scrumptious food by our Sage staff.


5. This school has supportive parents. I have enjoyed working with parents who allow me, and the teachers, to be “the village” that helps their student grow and mature.


6. I work in a supportive and gracious community that helps each other away from school, too. For example, I recently had car trouble. Don and Angela Williams gave me a way to and from school until my car was fixed. I didn’t have to ask for help; they just stepped up. I have plenty of examples of kindness that I have experienced personally or heard others talk about. It is great to be a member of the GWA community.


7. I work with Carolyn Phillips, the School and College Counseling Departments’ office manager. If it weren’t for her support and encouragement, Lindsey Bailey, Jon Terrell, Laura Nabors and I would not be able to do what we do. She’s the jewel in the Counseling Departments’ crown.


8. Lindsey Bailey is the Lower School Counselor. We make a great team. She is generous and supportive, and cares for her students deeply. I am so grateful to be working with her.


9. The College Counselors, Laura Nabors and Jon Terrell, are great suite mates. They bring laughter to the office, and I am grateful for their friendship and support.


10. At GWA I’m allowed to be sentimental at Christmas time.


On behalf of the School and College Counseling Departments, I wish you and your family a very merry Christmas, a happy New Year and a safe Winter Break!

Big picture
Big picture

All Aboard!

Our precious Pre-K3, K4 and K5 students went for a ride through campus on the "Polar Express" - ending their trip at the auditorium to watch the movie. Thanks to Heather Dokes and Coach Whitley for helping out with this wonderful on-campus adventure!
Big picture
Big picture

Yearbooks are $85. Please send in a check by TOMORROW – made payable to GWA, attn: Liz Jones OR order online by Jan. 1 at yearbookordercenter.com.

Big picture
Big picture

An Experience of a Lifetime

Congratulations to senior Bailey Croker on his recent participation in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! He took the time to answer some our questions about the audition process and the experience of marching in one of the world's largest parades!


1) What was the audition process like and how did you learn about it?

I found out about the Macy’s Great American Marching Band (MGAMB) through Auburn University. The head band director there, Dr. Rick Good, is the director of MGAMB. When I registered to go to the Auburn Honor Band for this past year (in February 2019), Auburn sent out an email with information regarding MGAMB and I decided to pursue it. The application process consisted of a video and a teacher recommendation. I made the video using the band room and surrounding areas to record playing videos and marching videos. I then made a YouTube video and sent it in as my audition.


2) How much did you rehearse for the parade?

We got music in late October and I had to memorize it before I came to the event. READ MORE...

Big picture
Big picture

Merry and Bright!

Fifth-grade chorus students presented their Christmas concert, “Merry & Bright” last night. The Christmas repertoire included “Merry Christmas Bells,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," “Sing Noel,” “Rules for Christmas,” and a solo by Riley Cooper in “Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child." The evening ended with a touching rendition of “Silent Night” in song and sign language.

Big picture
Big picture

Star Singer

Congratulations to seventh grader Ellie Lalaian on qualifying for All-State Chorus! She will perform at the GMEA (Georgia Music Educators Assoc.) All-State Chorus event Feb. 27 - 29, 2020 at the Classic Center in Athens.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Beau Mitchell Hits the 100 Mark!

Congratulations to Beau Mitchell on his 100th career win- earned last weekend on the road! The GWA varsity wrestling team traveled to the McCallie School in Chattanooga last weekend. They brought home three individual medals - Perry Jake Stone placed 5th at 132, Chris Sperin placed 5th at 152, Patrick Morris finished 5th at 170. The team placed 12th out 20 teams.


The team's next outing will be at home on Dec. 28 as GWA hosts the Walton County Duals in the Nicholson Center. Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. and seniors will be recognized following the second round of duals. Don't miss this chance to support our GWA grapplers! Go Bulldogs!

Big picture
Big picture

Charlie Stout Medals at Nationals

Swimmer Charlie Stout recently competed at Senior State at the University of Georgia where he made several best times and qualified for Winter Junior Nationals in the 100 yard breast stroke with a time of 56.88. Charlie did not place in breaststroke at the Winter Junior Nationals (held at Georgia Tech), but he had great swims in an extremely fast meet. His relay team placed 5th and he received a medal. Congratulations, Charlie!
Big picture
Big picture

Basketball Goals

Our varsity Lady Dawgs defeated Athens Academy on Tuesday night with a final score of 37 - 18! Leading scorers Marnie Couch and Hannah McDonel each contributed ten points. The team is looking forward to four more wins to get Coach Lori Hines to her 200th win at GWA!
Big picture
Big picture

Youth Wrestling Kicks Off

GWA youth wrestling opened with a tournament at Social Circle High School. Rocky Halloway took second place at 84 pounds and Tim Mathis took third place at 75 pounds, Parker Steketee took second at 75 pounds and Noah Cordell took third at 75 pounds, followed by great wrestling from Alex Pulliam at 67 pounds, Grant Spires at 110 pounds and Louis Pierre at 55 pounds. Their next tournament is this Sunday at North Gwinnett High School.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Be in the Know!

GWA winter sports are in full swing! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events including swimming, basketball and wrestling.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Mark Your Calendar for Jan. 30!

Does your chili have what it takes to win the $100 prize! There are only 10 spots available, so email Elizabeth McDonel to enter at emcdonel@gwa.com. The event will begin at 6 p.m. with bingo calling at 6:45 p.m. This evening is a fun night full of games, music, prizes, food and great company!


Volunteers are always a part of the fun- so email Elizabeth McDonel to get involved with this year's Chili Cook Off and Bingo Night!

Big picture
Big picture
Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Bulldog Kia. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.
Big picture
Big picture