In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

May 9, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Yearbook Presentation: May 13 @ 1:30 p.m.
  • Middle School Awards: May 14 @ 7 p.m.
  • Upper School Awards: May 16 @ 7 p.m.
  • Baccalaureate: May 17 @ 7 p.m.
  • Graduation: May 18 @ 11 a.m.
  • Rising Senior Parent Meeting: May 20 @ 6 p.m.
  • GWA New Parent Dinner: May 21 @ 6 p.m.
  • K5 Graduation: May 23 @ 7 p.m.
  • Fifth Grade Graduation: May 24 @ 9 a.m.
  • Last Day of School/Early Dismissal: May 24
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As we graduate another class of seniors this weekend and look back over their time on our campus, we want to extend our greatest thanks to the faculty who work so hard to make our school so great. Each year, the students we send into their next stage of life exhibit academic excellence, athletic prowess, and social maturity beyond their years, much of which is a credit to their teachers and coaches who go above and beyond.


For many of our seniors, they have spent all or the better part of the last 14 years on our campus growing into exemplary young people. We have students going across the state and nation to pursue their dreams, many of whom were nurtured by our caring faculty and staff. Teachers don’t just invest in our students during the school day, but spend much of their personal time to make sure that our kids get the best experience possible. We know that for the majority of our graduates, they will never forget the people who made their time on campus so memorable. We have showered our teachers with food and gifts this week, and we know that we echo our entire community when we tell them how much we appreciate them!

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Global Studies - What to Expect

What can students expect from the exchange student experience?

Education, in the most formal sense, revolves around the idea that there are various disciplines which have been identified as important, along with skills within those disciplines. A student’s educational journey is basically a curated process of being introduced to these skills at different stages and moving on to more difficult skills as mastery and maturity take place. There is a whole other side to education, however, that George Walton puts equal stock in, namely the social and emotional growth of our students...Read More.
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Student Trip of a Lifetime to Croatia

Where: Croatia

When: June 8-16, 2020

Cost: $3,990 – includes airfare, all accommodation/transportation costs, excursions, medical insurance, all breakfasts and some dinners

Who: Upper school students (must have completed freshman year by May 2020)

Why: Croatia is perhaps one of the most unique countries in Europe, and sits on the opposite side of the Mediterranean as Italy. The country is known for its incredible natural beauty and cinematographic history, hosting one of the HBO's most popular shows Game of Thrones. George Walton students and trip leaders will embark on an experience of a lifetime, zip-lining across the Cetina River, exploring the famous Plitvice Lakes, sea kayaking on the island of Hvar, and touring the famous historical structures that made Game of Thrones what it was!

For more information, or to register, go to https://travefy.com/trip/gjfc6kkx7ark7uwxgdfb6uuxtjrv2.

Questions? Contact Femke Côté at fcote@gwa.com.

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GWA will welcome Kristie McDevitt to the third-grade classroom this fall. A graduate of Mercer University, Kristie has proven experience in diversified instruction and classroom management. She has worked with Monroe Country Day School, Peachtree Academy, the Gwinnett County Public School system and Social Circle Christian where she successfully engaged students with diversified teaching styles and modified the curriculum for multi-level learners. Kristie is Gifted Endorsement Certified.


Melissa Page, who holds a master's of education degree in English, will teach AP Language. Most recently, Melissa taught English at St. Pius in Atlanta. She has been a graduate teaching assistant and student teaching supervisor at UGA in the Department of Language and Literacy Education and has taught English for the Rockdale public school system where she earned the Superintendent's Award for Excellence in Teaching five times.

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GWA Student Selected For UGA Flagline

This fall Lydia Akin will be performing with the UGA flagline on the field at football games! She is excited about joining the prestigious flagline program that is filled with such talented, amazing people at the school of her dreams. Lydia says, "I cannot wait to learn, grow, and cheer on those Dawgs!"

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Sprucing Up Our Beloved Statue

It’s makeover day for the bulldog statue from Don Williams Stadium! The original paintings by Patty Miller ’08 and her classmates were nicely done- however, the exterior of the statue has experienced wear and tear. So, Fine Arts department chair Brian Cole is repairing the worn fiberglass surface and then repainting to give the bulldog a whole new look. We can’t wait to see the finished product!

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Class of 2019 College Decisions

Last week we shared some of the college decisions and quotes from the Class of 2019 and we are highlighting a few more this week:


Grace Hanson - Valedictorian

"I am going to Georgia Tech and will be studying in the Honors Program. I chose Tech for a lot of reasons: its breadth of intern/co-op/ research opportunities in Atlanta, it’s offering of a biochemistry major that I want to pursue, its opportunities for travel and research abroad, how incredible the campus is, etc. GWA prepared me for college by teaching me my own capabilities: how to study, when to study, and how to challenge myself."


Lydia Akin

"I chose UGA because it has a great academic program along with many other amazing opportunities for student life. I know I can grow in my pursuit for a degree while also challenging myself as a person. I can’t wait to get involved and move into this next stage of my life. GWA has allowed me to establish myself as an individual. Its small size and supportive community have helped me grow into a student and person who is ready to move forward. I am sure I will face trials and tribulations that will get the best of me, but I have a sturdy base of knowledge and character from GWA that will carry me through it."


Tatiana Bolds - Salutatorian

"I'll be attending Emory University. It was my number one choice to achieve my dreams. George Walton Academy has supplied me with a work ethic that could be found nowhere else."


Cole Aukes

"I chose the UGA Honors Program because it is the best in the state for my chosen major and is the closest. I think college may seem easier for me than for someone who didn’t have as difficult of a curriculum as I did at George Walton."

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Upper School Achievements Recognized

Congratulations to all the award recipients at this special event this week! We are proud of your hard work and accomplishments, and wish you continued success.

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Congratulations Remarkable Readers!

Let's hear it for another exceptional group of young readers who had the highest number of Accelerated Reader points for the month of April: Hannah Lalaian and Shane Howard (first grade), Emma Konik and Alex Gervais (second grade), Jaxi Hicks and Oliver Reid (third grade), Peyton Wilson and Drake Ferguson (fourth grade), and Addie Belle Hayes and Maisen Rogers (fifth grade). Monthly winners’ names are displayed on a certificate in the LS Library and on the LS Library Blog each month (www.gwalsl.blogspot.com). We are proud of their hard work and enthusiasm!
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Spotlight on SCAD

By Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling


The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) is the University for Creative Careers.


SCAD’s mission is to prepare talented students for creative professions through engaging teaching and learning in a positively-oriented university environment - and they have been doing just that for the past 40 years! Through their recent Educator Retreat, I was able to experience some of SCAD’s unique programs first-hand on their original campus which is interspersed throughout the historic district of Savannah...Read More.

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Youth Leadership Walton: Class of 2022

By Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling


Youth Leadership Walton is an organization sponsored by the Walton County Chamber of Commerce. The program aspires to cultivate student leaders in the community by organizing leadership development sessions throughout the year. It includes both Junior and Senior year components. The students represent four public high schools and three private schools in the county. In the Junior year, the students receive CEO level leadership training through the University of Georgia's J.W. Fanning Institute curriculum and in the Senior year, community awareness programs. We are excited to announce Courtlyn Moore, Jolie Lanier, Jennifer Allahverdieva, Jackson Ellerbee will represent George Walton Academy for the Youth Leadership Walton Class of 2022. Congratulations to these four!

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All are welcome to the Yearbook Presentation! We will reveal who the book is dedicated to and show a video of pictures taken throughout the year, followed by book distribution to students who purchased a yearbook.


The yearbook publishing company sent us a limited number of extra books that we are able to sell. If you haven't purchased a yearbook and you want your child to receive one on distribution day, please send in a check for $75 tomorrow to Liz Jones in the front (advancement) office. Email ljones@gwa.com with your child’s name, grade and teacher (also put that info on the check – made out to GWA). The books will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Payment must be made by the end of the school day on Friday for the book to make it to your child by Monday.

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Relaying to Make a Difference

Hats off to Dawgs 360 Director Elizabeth McDonel, who took community, involvement, and purpose to the next level at GWA! Elizabeth coordinated this year’s Relay For Life of Walton County, which took place here on campus last Friday night. Her tireless effort and ability to inspire an army of amazing volunteers made the night a success as our greater community came together to fight cancer, recognize survivors, and remember those who battled the disease.
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Well Done, GWA Art Students!

This spring, GWA visual arts students competed in the 10th District Congressional Art Show, and Anna Swope and Mary Grace Cowan stood out among the crowd! Ninth grader Anna won second place in the show among all high school students. Mary Grace Cowan, a junior, was also given an honorable mention award for her Prisma drawing. The competition was for all high school students from Jody Hice's 10th district, which includes all or part of 25 counties in Georgia. This is the highest GWA has ever placed in the show! Congratulations to these two talented artists.

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A Delightful Musical Treat

The musical theater class presented two performances of the GWA Dessert Theater last weekend. The cast entertained audiences with a wide variety of musical selections that ranged from Dolly Parton and Elton John to show tunes and more contemporary songs, while some presented prepared monologues. Kudos to these awesome performers!
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GWA Band Program Announces New Leadership Team

Congratulations to the GWA Marching Band 2019 Top Dawg5 Team: Co-Band Presidents- Bailey Croker and Brody Lindsey, Band Vice President- Brooks Dokes, Drum Major- Jolie Lanier, and Band Sergeant- Eli Scornik. This group represents Bulldog band students who have worked diligently to earn their way into the most highly respected leadership positions in the renowned GWA Marching Bulldog Band.


"We are proud of the 2019 Top Dawg5 Team members, and have total confidence in their abilities to fulfill their respective roles successfully," said GWA Band Program Director Christian Smith.
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Murray Signed with Newberry

Macy Murray has signed to play volleyball and continue her education at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina. Congratulations and best wishes, Macy!
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Carnes Signed With Truett McConnell

Cody Carnes will attend Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia this fall and play soccer with the TMU Bears. Congratulations and much success, Cody!
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GWA Golfer Headed to State!

What an impressive finish for Jackson Ellerbee at the Region Golf Tournament last week! Jackson placed second out of 60 golfers by one stroke for a round of three under 69. His round was highlighted by two eagles and three birdies, and 69 was his lowest 18-hole score this season! This accomplishment qualified him for the state tournament at Green Island Country Club on May 20 and 21. Great job, Jackson!

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Youth Lacrosse Is Championship Bound!

GWA youth lacrosse is headed to the second round of league playoffs! The team beat Grayson 10-4, avenging a 9-5 loss earlier this season. Come out to support the boys next Saturday at the Buford Sports Complex at 8:30 a.m. as they play Park-Norc. Congrats and good luck, Bulldogs!
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Emmy-winning actor and GWA alumnus Kyle Chandler ’84 appeared on the (ABC) Jimmy Kimmel Live! show last night and gives George Walton Academy and Monroe a shout out as he discussed playing football in high school, and even showed a few photos from back in the day at GWA!
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New Offerings With Next Year's Corporate Partnership Program

We are in the process of inviting businesses to join us as a Corporate Partner for the 2019-2020 year. A new feature for our program next year is the ability to run sales fliers in a digital newsletter that we will send out bi-weekly. Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812 if you would like more information.
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