In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 13, 2018

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Early Dismissal: Sept. 14 (see schedule below)
  • Homecoming Dance: Sept. 15
  • Red Cross Blood Drive: Sept. 21
  • Fall Chorus Concert: Sept. 25
  • Senior Pages Due: Sept. 30
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Benefits of an Advancement Department

By Jeanie Beach, Director of Advancement

This year, the development, marketing, communications and admissions departments reorganized into a new Advancement Department. This strategic change is designed to better coordinate messaging, marketing, and branding of GWA as well as to help build new and strengthen existing relationships within and outside the GWA community. These changes bring together a more coordinated and concentrated effort designed to:

Build Better Communications

New this year is Jessica Otts who is our Director of Development. She is responsible for managing all school communications...Read More.

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Bulldogs March with Tigers for a Day

Three GWA band members were awarded an extraordinary opportunity to march at Auburn last Saturday! Bailey Croker, Claire Volk, and Brooks Dokes were selected to perform alongside the Auburn University Marching Band for an audience of over 80,000 people during halftime of the football game. Students must complete an application process and also be recommended by their band directors to be considered for this exciting opportunity to perform with the Auburn Marching Honor Band.
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Exploring the Secrets of Two Theaters

Some GWA arts students enjoyed a unique off-campus excursion this week! Drama, chorus, and broadcast journalism classes took a field trip to explore the famous Fox Theater and Shakespeare Tavern behind the scenes. The visit afforded students a chance to see two distinctly different theater spaces in action. They learned about the history surrounding the Fox’s inception and earlier years as a movie house, as well as details surrounding the architecture and unique hidden details throughout. "I also enjoyed learning about the Fox’s restoration department and how they worked year-round to keep older theaters architecturally sound and beautiful," said GWA teacher Kayla Marsh, who accompanied the students on the field trip.

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A Cup of Joe with Dr. Dolan

We kicked off this year's Coffee with Admin with a great crowd and excellent questions. The discussion was both productive and informative for the attendees who joined Dr. Dolan for the meeting. These gatherings are intended to give parents the opportunity to spend time with Administration to hear the latest GWA news, ask questions, and discuss any rumors swirling around. (And Dr. Dolan assured those in attendance that the rumors only get better as the year goes on!)

"The first coffee with Dr. Dolan and his team was an excellent start to the school year. There have been a lot of great changes on campus and it is a perfect setting to hear more about what is coming next as well as hear candidly from parents of their concerns," said Andrea Hill, a parent who attended the meeting.

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Magic that Motivates

This year's Secio speaker for upper school students is Comedian-Magician Mark Robinson. The event will be held at First Baptist Church of Monroe on Oct. 1 at 7 p.m. Mark uses magic to deliver a message about overcoming challenges that may seem impossible. He has received rave reviews and has appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel Show and opened for famous acts such as Jeff Foxworthy. Mark is considered one of the best motivational speakers in the country and his message will certainly resonate with our students.

The Secio speaker series is designed to build character, community and opportunity. Students are encouraged to go downtown to eat with friends prior to going to the church for the presentation. All upper school students are expected to attend.

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Friendships that Last a Lifetime

One of the most treasured traditions at GWA is the Senior and First Grader program, which has been ongoing for more than 30 years! Seniors are paired with a first grader and spend the year sharing special events together. It is not uncommon for the bond between a senior and first grader to continue well beyond graduation. Pictured above are special friends Bowen Moore (Class of 2016) and his first grader, Syrin McKinney (now a fourth grader), and Cooper Moore (Class of 2019) and his first grader, Jaxon Mathison.
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Understanding Your Middle School Student

Dawgs 360 is proud to present Dr. Catherine Bagwell, professor of psychology at Emory University's Oxford College, on Thursday, September 13th at 6 p.m., to speak to our middle school parents about adolescent development. The presentation will be held at the GWA Auditorium.

Want to join Dawgs 360?

Sept. 30: Membership drive ends!

This is your passport to volunteering and supporting student life at GWA!

Dawgs Unleashed!

Click HERE for more info and to register.

Oct.15: Golf Tournament

Oct. 16: Tennis Tournament

Oct. 20: Fall Festival, Fun and 5K Run!

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Bulldogs on Top!

For the first time in four years, our varsity football players fought their way into the Top 10 ranking of the Single-A Private division! The Bulldogs' record so far this season is an impressive 3-0, and it is an honor for our team to be ranked by the respected leaders of the Coaches Poll.

"It is a reflection of the kids' hard work and dedication to the process," said Athletic Director Mark Whitley. They plan to continue the trend this Friday, Sept. 14, against Towns County at the homecoming game. Come out and cheer on the dogs! Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

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Click here for more details about the Lacrosse clinic!

Clinics are free and require no pre-registration. Just show up this Saturday and participate!

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Attention Adventurous Spirits!

GWA has an extraordinary opportunity for students to visit and photograph one of the most fascinating places on earth. Students will explore a volcano, snorkel with penguins and sea lions, and hang out on the beach with a giant tortoise during our island-hopping adventure. A parent information meeting will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 5 p.m. in Mr. Cole's room.

Contact your tour leaders for more information:

Brian Cole: or 678-699-0161

Tara Walker:

*Opportunities will be offered to students who wish to earn either science or art elective credits during the trip. More details available upon request.

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Come Make a Difference!

Help support the American Red Cross! GWA is hosting a blood drive on Friday, Sept. 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we need volunteers to donate blood. Please make an appointment by visiting and enter the sponsor code gwa, or call 1-800-2767. Photo ID will be required to participate. Do your part to help save lives!
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Homecoming Happenings

Join us to celebrate our homecoming court representatives at the homecoming court parade! The parade begins at 6:45 p.m. around the track on Friday, Sept. 14 before the football game kickoff. Be sure to stick around for halftime to see the announcement of The 2018 GWA Homecoming Queen!

The Homecoming dance will take place at the Nicholson Center on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Reminder that the dance is for Upper School students ONLY.

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Art for the PARC

The talented hands of the Visual Arts program are hard at work again! Students in Mr. Reagan's art class have been working diligently on Prisma drawings using Prisma pencils, which are high-quality, specialized colored pencils that are ideal for creating artwork using layering, shading and blending techniques. These masterpieces will be showcased throughout the school on the walls of new offices and in the PARC department--GWA's Place for Academic Resources and Coaching.

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With a Song in their Hearts

Come out to enjoy a wonderful evening of singing featuring our Fifth-Grade Showstoppers, Middle School Choristers, and High School Chorale at their annual Fall Choir Concert on Tuesday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Monroe. Each choir will be singing separately and will also perform together for several songs. Soloists will have their moment in the spotlight, too. Hope to see you there!

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As part of an atmospheric science class at the University of Georgia, class of 2016 alumna Anna Sims is helping Athens residents prepare for the weather. Sims, who is perusing her degree in atmospheric sciences and geography, works together with her classmates to develop prediction models and publish this information on the AthensGAWeather website and social media. AthensGAWeather is a media service run by a group of atmospheric science students and others who have an interest in meteorology. The next time you’re headed to Athens, be sure to check out AthensGAWeather for an up to date forecast!

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What are you going to be when you grow up?

By Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling

Every path is personal. Students have many decisions to make, especially in their senior year. Young adults need help finding their right path. Whether they think they know what they want to do, or are unsure, choosing a college and career can be intimidating. As a counselor, I’ve seen students apply to their dream school only to learn that a particular college or university doesn’t have their dream major.

One resource all GWA upper schoolers have been provided is YouScience. By combining aptitudes (what you naturally do well) AND interests (what you like doing)...Read More.

Counselor Chats

Join us for the next Counselor Chats meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 8:15 a.m. to learn how the GWA counseling department supports students socially, emotionally, and academically. Enjoy a cup of coffee while we discuss how sleep affects a student's learning capabilities. The meeting begins right after drop off in the Upper School Media Center.

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Sept. 14 Schedule and Important Info:

8:15-8:30 - Introduce players, cheerleaders, and coaches

8:30-9:30 - Powder Puff Games

9:45-10:00 - Line up for the parade

10:00 - Parade and Pep Rally starts

11:30 - K4 – fifth grade dismissal

12:00 - Sixth – 12th grade dismissal

Buses run at 12:10 p.m. (Click HERE for details.)

No lunch will be served and no aftercare provided on this day.

Today's In Focus is Sponsored by Athens Orthopedic Clinic

Thank you to Athens Orthopedic Clinic for sponsoring this week's issue of In Focus! Click here to visit the AOC website.

Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.

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