In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 7, 2017

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Director of Dawgs 360 Elizabeth McDonel Discusses Membership and Benefits

Dawgs 360 has been a huge success with the start of its inaugural year. This organization is a booster club that supports all aspects – or the full circle – of Bulldog student life.


Since this summer we have had over 300 volunteers comprised of teachers, students, faculty and staff participating in a variety of events to benefit our community. Volunteers have helped with new family dinners and open house, served as ambassador families, managed gates, and cleaned up campus – among other activities. Our upcoming Dawgs Unleashed events will provide many opportunities for members to get involved and participate. It's refreshing to see everyone coming together to make a difference on our campus and in the lives of our students.


Over 400 individual members are enjoying the benefits of Dawgs 360 on a weekly basis at athletic events, in the bookstore and on field trips!


A family membership to the organization costs $360 annually. Families are welcome to join Dawgs 360 through October 1, 2017. Benefits of membership include the following:


  • Admission to all concerts, plays, and performances
  • Admission to all home athletic competitions (except playoff games, per GHSA rules)
  • Day field trips – for both the student and the member chaperone (membership does not guarantee a spot as a chaperone)
  • 10% discount on all items at the Dawg Shop
  • New benefit: admission to Dawgs 360 Fun Zone at Dawgs Unleashed

A membership in Dawgs 360 consists of parents and students only. Aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and other family members are welcome to join Dawgs 360 as a separate member for $360.


Feel free to contact me at emcdonel@gwa.com if you’re interested in becoming a member of Dawgs 360. Membership forms are avaible in the front office as well!


Thank you.

Elizabeth McDonel

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Nationally Acclaimed Speaker Brett Leake To Present Next Wednesday

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, GWA will host our first Secio speaker at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church in Monroe. All students in eighth through 12th grade are expected to attend. Secio speakers present topics that inspire character, community and opportunity.


Guest speaker Brett Leake worked as a stand-up comic from 1983 until 1997, when he began working as a sit-down stand-up comic. In 1998 he also started to work as a funny motivational speaker, adding to his stand-up act personal stories and what have been called ‘philosophic lecturettes’ that address using humor as a problem-solving device and as a means to get more out of life. He has performed at the Smithsonian, the Kennedy Center,and Wolftrap. Corporate clients include IBM, Toyota and Ford.


Brett has facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy. In 1991 he became the first comedian with a physical disability to appear on NBC’s "The Tonight Show" about which Jay Leno said, “He broke up the whole room. People realized here’s a man with a disability and he’s not gonna let it bother him.” Other television appearances include "Entertainment Tonight" and the American Comedy Awards. In 2003 public broadcasting stations around the country began running his hour-long comedy special “Laughing Matters with Brett Leake.”


To learn more about Brett, please click on the link below.

https://vimeo.com/78095798


Parking is limited for this event. Please carpool if possible.

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Urgent Appeal For Blood Donations Following Hurricane Harvey

The Red Cross will be on campus Friday, Sept. 8, as GWA hosts a blood drive in the Nicholson Center from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents, faculty, staff and students ages 17 and older are invited to donate. Students must bring a signed parental consent form in order to donate blood; forms are available from Wrynn Carson.


GWA will be participating in the Red Cross' High School Scholarship Program this year, so the more pints of blood GWA collects, the more scholarship money we're eligible to receive. Your blood donations help others while also helping our graduating seniors.

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Mark Your Calendars For Dawgs Unleashed 2017

Calling all golfers, tennis players, runners and fun seekers! Signups for Dawgs Unleashed are underway.


  • Golf Tournament: Monday, Oct. 16 - Monroe Country Club
  • Tennis Tournament: Tuesday, Oct. 17 - Summit Chase Country Club
  • 5K, Fun Run and Dawgs 360 Fun Fest: Saturday, Oct. 21- GWA Campus


Sign up for Dawgs Unleashed events HERE.


Event sponsors are still being accepted. Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com for more details.


We're also looking for a crew of awesome volunteers. Contact Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com to sign up to help with one of these events. Volunteers receive a free event T-shirt.

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Bulldogs Give Back

We would like to thank our George Walton Academy community for supporting two charitable efforts last week. The sale of Pink Out T-shirts raised $396 for the GWA Cure Dawgs and will go towards funding their annual scholarship program. All of the gate proceeds from Friday night’s football game, a total of $2,966, are being donated through the local Rotary Club to aid those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Thank you, Bulldogs!

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2017 Homecoming Court Announced

Congratulations to the 2017 Homecoming Court! Representing seniors are Baylee Bowers, Stevie Lee Manning, Molly Downey, Libby Lee McDaniel and Morgan Robertson. Representing juniors are Taryn Shelnutt and Sydney Senical. Spring Rawl and Melissa Gish are sophomore representatives followed by Claire McNulty and DoriLord McCullers for the freshman class.

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GWA Featured in Monroe Hometown Teams Exhibits

Don't miss GWA athletic history at the Monroe Museum this fall as it's featured in the Hometown Teams exhibit. The exhibit opens Sept. 16!
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New Advisory Program Underway

Last week GWA implemented a new advisory program aimed at providing students in eighth through 12th grade extra support and academic oversight. Over 40 faculty and staff members will serve as advisors to an assigned group of students. These advisors will check grades weekly, offer solutions to students needing help and fill the role of advocate for each advisee.


The accountability on the part of both advisor and advisee is designed to foster students’ overall success while supporting the values we share as George Walton Academy Bulldogs.

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Just Because It's on the Internet Doesn't Mean It's True

How many times have you read something on the internet and assumed it was true? This week students in Beth Moss's class spent time with Jennifer Stapp from the technology department, who presented a lesson on credible resources.


Mrs. Stapp taught students how to use the web regarding researching and note taking. She highlighted credible and non-credible search engines along with tips and tricks for making researching easy. Students also learned how to access and use GWA's electronic databases.

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Club Expo Sparks Students' Interest

Students in first through 12th grade were given the opportunity to explore club offerings on campus with our first Club Expo last Friday.


"It gave students the opportunity to see in one place all of the clubs, meet club members and learn about the qualifications and requirements for each one," said Director of Student Life Wynn Carson.


Students could also visit a booth where they could learn how to start a new club on campus. Two new clubs have been created as a result. "Students submitted applications to start a recycling club and a book club," said Mrs. Carson.

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New Dance Class Coming Next Semester

GWA is now offering a dance class as an art elective. This class will be offered next semester. Students interested in taking this class need to see Chris Stancil. If we have enough interest, GWA will also offer a dance team.

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Don't Take This Winter Off – Wrestle!

Young men in sixth through 12th grade who are interested in wrestling are invited to attend informational meetings in the Alumni Commons on Monday, Sept. 11. Middle school will meet at 5:30 p.m. and high school will meet at 6:30 p.m.


Interested athletes will have the opportunity to meet the coaches, learn about the season, see the swag and ask questions. Pizza and drinks will be provided. Parents are welcome to attend.

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Swim Informational Meeting September 12

Join Coach Sheryl Mitchell for a swimming informational meeting in the lower school gym on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6:30 p.m.


Middle and high school parents and students who are interested in joining this year's swim team are invited to attend. We'll cover suit sizing, apparel ordering instructions and more. Please contact Sheryl Mitchell with any questions.

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September 11: College Financial Aid Meeting for Senior Parents

The Guidance and College Counseling Offices will be hosting a "Show Me the Money" seminar on Monday, Sept. 11, with representatives from GA Futures and the University of Georgia. We'll meet in the auditorium at 7 p.m. These experts will be sharing information concerning HOPE, Zell Miller, scholarships, FAFSA and more. This meeting is intended for senior parents. Please contact Linda Smith or Michael Clancy with any questions.

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September 14: Picture Retake Day

Yearbook portraits should be coming in early next week. If your child needs a retake, make sure that he or she brings the picture envelope on picture retake day, Thursday, September 14. If you have any questions, please contact Liz Jones at ljones@gwa.com or 678-635-3813.

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