In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

October 15, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • (Virtual) Financial Aid Night: tonight @ 7 p.m. (see below)
  • High School Students Return to Campus: Oct. 19
  • MS Boys Basketball Try-Outs: Oct. 19-21 (see below)
  • MS Girls Basketball Try-Outs: Oct. 26-28 (see below)
  • Fall Break: Oct. 22 - 23
  • PSAT: Oct. 29 - early dismissal grades 8-12
  • School Picture Make Up Day: Oct. 29
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Telling Our Story

How do you create a yearbook when you aren’t sure what the year will look like? That’s the dilemma the yearbook staff has been facing since the spring. From the cancellation of our yearbook EXPO over the summer where most of our planning begins, to a year where everything hangs in the balance, planning can be a bit of a conundrum. Despite the challenges we’ve faced this year, editors-in-chief Josie Evans and Natalie Lucas are leading the staff as they adapt to creating a yearbook in 2020. “There have been many challenges through being virtual in the spring and not being able to create a plan for our theme and the overall book, but despite these obstacles we worked hard over the summer and the first few weeks of school to get back on track,” says Evans.


We are rearranging the order in which we do things. The staff began working on content and coverage as soon as school started. “We're just trying to highlight anything good, while documenting the time that we're in right now,” says Lucas. “This yearbook is simpler and more understated than past books. In addition to the yearbook itself looking different from past years’ books, the process also looks a little different. Because we need to work remotely, we've been emailing students, teachers, and parents for interviews and surveys. In a normal year, we can begin working on the book in the spring, right after we finish that year's book. Since we were in extended Digital Days, we didn't have that time to come up with the theme and general design. That made the first few weeks a little chaotic, but now we know what we're doing, and we have content - we just need to put it on the spreads!”


As the events of the year are cancelled and changed, it makes it more difficult to have as much content to include in the book. But I keep telling the staff that each change presents a new story to cover. We are also presented with the unique opportunity to cover individual students even more in depth than usual. We can really focus on what makes each person special - things that aren’t necessarily reflected on a regular day at school.


It is always our goal to tell the story of the year - and that’s what we’re doing. This story will be different than any other year, but that’s what makes this yearbook more important than ever. We sold more yearbooks last year than in any of the previous years, and I really think it was a way to bring us closer together. In a time where we were so separated from each other and needed connection, the yearbooks were delivered over the summer. We could open them and remember the good things that happened last year.


As coeditor Josie Evans explains, “We have a really great group of hardworking students on the staff this year, and I think this book is definitely going to be one to remember. We are so excited to see the finished product and to share it with the entire school!”


If you have a great story and good action photos related to any of our students, we’d love to hear from you. We will consider sharing your stories and photos in the yearbook (if there is space). We will also consider submissions for our end of the year slideshow and/or social media - if we think they are appropriate. Keep in mind that we are looking for timely photos that are dynamic enough to feature and are of high quality, (no blur, good composition, action shots – we try to NOT include a lot of posed photos where people are just smiling for the camera). Submit photos and stories through yearbookordercenter.com or email me at ljones@gwa.com.


If you haven’t bought a yearbook yet, you can still order one for $85 through December at yearbookordercenter.com.


Liz Jones

Yearbook Advisor

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Back to Nature

You may have noticed the raised flower beds (built by Mr. Cole’s Sustainable Living class) and scarecrows along Bulldog Drive. This beautiful garden serves as a hands-on learning space for our lower school STEM classes.


First-grade students planted mums to brighten the space, while third-grade planted collards as part of their lesson on the Southeast and the farming industry. Fourth graders created the colorful scarecrows as part of a STEM challenge. Also, students in Mrs. Bishop’s classes have been studying weather – clouds, rain, wind, hurricanes and tornados. First grade recently made windsocks and had an opportunity to test them out in the garden.

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DNA-Pretty Sweet Stuff!

Fourth graders have been learning about the formula of just four bases of phosphates and sugars that make each of us so uniquely amazing-our deoxyribose nucleic acid or DNA. As a project-based assessment, students were asked to choose a DNA sequence, then to match the corresponding chemical bases to make pairs, and finally, to create the double helix shape. All of this using edible supplies-Twizzlers and marshmallows!

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Band Champs!

The GWA Marching Bulldogs continued to push through their challenges, and gave a heartfelt performance through the rain at the Blue Ridge Mountain Marching Invitational last weekend. They took home the first place Grand Champion award, first place guard overall, first place drum major overall, and third place percussion overall!


The band heads to West Forsyth High School this Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. performance. Go Dawgs!

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The Masked Singers

GWA chorus have received special singing masks that are designed to allow more space around the mouth for proper singing. They are thicker than the average mask and are round, allowing for more broad air distribution. With the combinations of these masks, being outside, and social distancing, chorus students can now sing together safely.


GWA Chorus is working on virtual performances for the holiday season, safely singing in solos and virtual groups.

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Catch Us on Zoom Tonight!

We will be hosting a Financial Aid Night (virtually) for ALL interested high school parents on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. It is never too early to educate yourself on the financial aid process and options when thinking about financing your child's college future.


Brenda Vaughn from the Georgia Student Finance Commission will be our guest hostess and covering several topics regarding Financial Aid and paying for College. Topics will include but are not limited to: the HOPE & Zell Miller Scholarships, FAFSA and financial aid options. She will also explain how GA Futures (gafutures.org) can help you research, select, apply and pay for college.

Laura Nabors is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: GWA Financial Aid Night

Time: Oct 15, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/92610737252?pwd=bTU1L2lkdG9JSXIwdFpOYUZZYnNWUT09

Meeting ID: 926 1073 7252

Passcode: 721107

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,92610737252# US (Chicago)

+16468769923,,92610737252# US (New York)

If you have any questions prior to Oct. 15, feel free to email Laura Nabors (lnabors@gwa.com).


We look forward to seeing you there.

- The College Counseling Office

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Light Up the Night

GWA students will begin benefiting from the addition of new lights to the lower field. These lights will allow for competitions that go later into the evening and also provide increased space for evening practices. This campus enhancement was funded by our Go Beyond campaign. We wish to thank those who supported the campaign to make this wonderful benefit available to our students. We will continue to work toward providing our students the best spaces from this campaign. If you would like to know more about this campaign and how you can be involved, please contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com.

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Making a Difference

As part of last year’s charitable efforts led by GWA students, seventh grader Journey Allen and her mom, Shannon Allen, received a check for $1,050 on behalf of Folds of Honor. The proceeds came from the sales of a student-designed (by Alex McMunn, Peyton Wilson, and Journey Allen) patriotic

t-shirt. Folds of Honor is an organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of America’s fallen and disabled service members.

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Honoring Our Veterans

To keep our veterans and community safe, this year’s Veterans Day program will be a virtual event. We are looking forward to recognizing our veterans and honoring their service with a special video. This will be a school-wide project and will be shared via our website, social media, and email on Nov. 11. If you wish to contribute a veteran’s photo, please submit by Oct. 22 to gwavetpics@gmail.com.

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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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Gingerbread Christmas Returns!

Mark your calendars for Gingerbread Christmas 2020! 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, athletic teams, and other groups will be passing out goodies and craft projects to do at home. Santa will be there to wave and have his helper pass out candy canes. We will still have our gingerbread house contest for cash prizes! Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. This event is public so please share with friends to join us! Want to be involved in Gingerbread Christmas? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com and we will get you on board to help spread Christmas cheer!

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If you would like to decorate a Christmas tree or ornament for Gingerbread Christmas, please let us know by tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 16. If you reserve one, we will provide the cardboard shape for you to use. Email emcdonel@gwa.com.

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Bulldogs Hit the Road

Following an impressive 39-13 win over the Mount Vernon Mustangs, our 3-0 varsity Bulldogs travel to Holy Innocents' tomorrow for an early kickoff. Attendance is only open to parents/guardians of game participants (see visiting team info/campus map below). Good luck and go Bulldogs!

HIES Visiting Team Policy

HEIS Campus Map

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Post-Season Win

The varsity volleyball team won the first round of the region tournament by defeating Athens Christian 3-0! This win qualifies them for state playoffs. They head to round two of region play today at Tallulah Falls at 6 p.m. Good luck, Lady Dawgs!
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Softball Champs

With a grand slam by Taylor Tinsley - the GWA Lady Dawgs won the Area Championship last Thursday, beating Wesleyan 8-0 in 5 innings! They will play a double header next Friday with an “if” game next Saturday. Their opponent is to be determined and the games will at home. Tickets are $7 for the double header day, $5 if they play Saturday (Dawgs 360 membership does not apply for playoff games). Be sure to mark your calendar and come out to support the Lady Dawgs!
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On Target

The GWA Clay Target Team is up now and running! The team is currently practicing and shooting matches weekly. All of our athletes compete in two disciplines, skeet and trap. We hope to grow the team with more shooters in the spring by adding sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to the roster. Contact coach Brian Stephens at bstephens@gwa.com for more information.

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MS Basketball Boys Try Outs

Try-outs for boys middle school (7th & 8th grade) basketball will be held in the MS gym from 6 - 7:30 p.m., Oct. 19-21 with a parent meeting on Monday, Oct. 19 in the courtyard at 7:30 p.m. Players will need to have a physical on file with the school. Contact Kyle Gelsthorpe at kylegelsthorpe@me.com with questions.

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MS Girls Basketball Try-Outs

Try-outs for girls middle school (7th & 8th grade) basketball will be held in the MS gym from 2:30 – 4 p.m., Oct. 26-28. Players will need to have a current physical on file. There will be a parent meeting in the courtyard on Wed., Oct.28 at 4 p.m. Please contact Grace Martin at gmartin@gwa.com with any questions.

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In person youth basketball registration for boys/girls, grades 3 -7 will be Oct. 20 from 5-6 p.m. We will not take any forms or payment after this date! To pre-register, fill out the attached forms below and send them to Grace Martin (gmartin@gwa.com).


  • Registration fee - $100
  • Jersey - $35


*We use the same jersey from year to year so they only have to purchase another one if they outgrew the one from last year. If they use the same one then they only have to pay the registration fee.


Checks need to be made out to GWA. (You can send them in to the front office with "Attention: Grace Martin" or bring them to the registration on Oct. 20.)


If your child is signing up to play, please consider volunteering to coach a team. We are in need of parent volunteers to coach basketball!


Permission to participate form

NEGFLL registration form

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Reliant Homes (www.relianthomes.com). Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.