In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

May 10, 2018

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Giving Our Students The World

By Femke Cote, Director of Global Studies


“So travel, at heart, is just a quick way to keeping our minds mobile and awake. As Santayana…wrote, ‘There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.’ …[travel] is, in the end … a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed.” – Pico Iyer, Why We Travel


Education is about transformation. About inspiring awe and wonder. About that spark of inquiry that expands the realm of imagination.


Much of our job as educators is to scaffold, in partnership with parents and community, the mindset of young people – showing them how to be respectful of differing people, mentalities, and cultures, while modeling how to view themselves as part of a larger global society. The traditional classroom provides a safe space in which we can build this container where intentional and strategic effort is made to allow for authentic dialogue to exist, and therefore cultivate more independently minded individuals. And yet the classroom still acts in many ways as a barrier to true authenticity; for it inherently keeps us in place, and therefore screens the full potential of education.


This is why we have placed such an emphasis on Global Studies and travel at GWA in the last year. We believe that we have a moral obligation to give our students the world, and to send them out not as tourists but as pilgrims, seeking to understand our common humanity. For some, this will involve travel, both domestic and international. For others, it will not. Nevertheless, we are committed to providing a global education for all of our students, in order to meet the challenge of our changing world.


To read more about out global studies program, click HERE.

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That's Debatable

Senator Dominic Williams made his case for new legislation before Governor Moss and Justice Reynolds as the mock legislative session of the Griffinia general assembly considered new bills. Student lawmakers from both Mr. Griffin’s and Mrs. Moss’ classes presented the rationale for their proposed legislation before these executive and judicial members of government in an effort to get their bill signed into law. What a memorable way to learn about the process of lawmaking while sharpening those debate skills!
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You Is Kind, You Is Smart...

In connection with reading The Help, Mrs. Carson's pop culture class made an old fashioned meal from scratch. The Help recounts the story of young white woman and aspiring journalist Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan. The story focuses on her relationship with two black maids, Aibileen Clark and Minny Jackson, during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. In an attempt to become a legitimate journalist and writer, Skeeter decides to write a book from the point of view of the maids—referred to as "the help"— exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.


In preparation for cooking, students snapped peas, peeled potatoes and brushed up on their baking skills. They enjoyed fried chicken, peas, mashed potatoes, corn bread and of course chocolate pie!

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Caesar Ciphers

Mr. Peavy is introducing cyber security to his classes. One of the cyber security lessons focused on cryptography-- the study encrypting and decrypting messages. A common encryption is the Caesar Cipher developed by Julius Caesar to send secret messages. In a hands-on activity, students hunted codes around the upper school building in an effort to decrypt famous quotes, including several from Star Wars in celebration of May the Fourth

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Dissecting Science

Students in Ms. Walker's biology class are wrapping up their unit on the circulatory system. In conjunction with their studies, they kicked off their final few weeks with frog dissections. The dissection shows the major body systems together. One lucky group got a frog with eggs throughout the body cavity; a rare find in the classroom!


The class will end their year with pig dissections during their finals weeks.

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Learning the Legislative Ropes

Students Alana and Terence Thorpe had the opportunity to serve as pages for Representative Harrell and Senator Martin. They said, "It has been our honor to serve as a pages. To serve our legislators of the Georgia General Assembly is both a responsibility and an opportunity to learn first-hand about our state government, the legislative process, and to develop workplace and leadership skills." Nice work, Alana and Terence!

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Honoring Our Veterans

In conducting research for the living honor wall that was built as a part of the Vietnam Intensive, Mr. Cole and his class contacted the Georgia Department of Vietnam Veterans to find a list of veterans who returned from war. They didn’t have a list, but they were intrigued by the project. Because GWA was going to compile a list, they asked if they could also utilize the list to award the veterans with a “certificate of honor.” The Department of Defense wanted to award them with a lapel pin as well. They wanted to do this at our exhibition at the government building, but it would have made the program too long. So, George Walton Academy teachers and faculty helped set up a separate program to allow these Veterans to be honored. In total, 62 veterans were recognized by commissioner Mike Roby and U.S. Representative Jody HIce. It was another way for GWA to help those who have given so much in service of our country.

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New School Photographer!

You spoke and we listened! Elena de la Rosa is our new school photographer. She is local, she is talented and she is ready to take some gorgeous photos of our kids! We are so excited to be able to offer such quality photography to our families! Check out her incredible work HERE!

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Uniform Sale

Are your students in need of new uniforms next year? Lands' End is offering 40% off all full priced merchandise. Click HERE and use code LESUFRIEND and PIN 2581 to take part in the savings!


Offer valid through May 15.

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Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

GWA is thrilled to announce that Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase will be filmed on campus this summer! If you are interested in being an extra, there will be an open casting call this Saturday at the Monroe Community Center.
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You Don't Want To Miss This!

The Red & White game will take place on May 18th at 6 pm. This game is our annual inter-squad spring game. Coach Whitley will be making a HUGE announcement at the end of the game around 7:30 pm.
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Baccalaureate

Baccalaureate is a time to reflect on students personal growth and achievement in a religious service that honors our graduates. Events included our Baccalaureate sermon from Dr. Greg Deloach, the Pastor at First Baptist Monroe, scripture readings, a performance by the high school chorus, and an inspirational message from senior Ben Carter depicting the many memories he and his peers have shared. In attendance were all 74 seniors and their friends and family. We were also honored to welcome our junior class marshals to the event. These eight individuals hold the top GPA's in their junior class.


We have three seniors whose parents also graduated from GWA. Seniors Ryan Moore, Izzy Ott and Eli Lindsey were joined by their moms, Jill Moore ('84), Lisa Ott ('82) and Donna Lindsey ('82) in a picture to capture such a special time.

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National Day of Prayer

In celebration of the National Day of Prayer, students, parents, and faculty gathered in the courtyard for a ceremony. Faculty members prayed for churches, community, country and school. An ensemble of select third and fourth graders performed an incredible rendition of Teresa Jennings "This Day of Peace." Thank you to Mrs. Debbie Dyer and Ms. Sara Smith for orchestrating this fantastic event.

Newly Elected Student Council

Congratulations to our new Student Council! In preparation for next year's festivities, the entire council took part in new council training this past Monday. They planned events and activities for the upcoming school year, determined themes for those events and were assigned to committees that will formulate proposals for modifications of next year. We can't wait to see what they have planned!
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Note-able Accomplishments

Our band program has been hard at work over the last month. They have attended the Dixie Classic Nation Adjudicators Invitational (NAI) in Chattanooga, rocked all night during Rockathon, and performed two spring concerts for our GWA friends and families.


Our program came home with a fantastic report from Chattanooga. At NAI, different groups and members performed in front of a panel of judges to receive comments and awards on their selections. The symphonic winds received a "superior" report, the concert ensemble received an "excellent" rating, and they also received best low brass. Freshman Gabby Cason was honored with best flute. Not only were they recognized for their musical talents, but also for their attitude and how respectful and attentive they were throughout the event. Click HERE to read the complimentary letter sent by NAI.


To celebrate a fantastic year, students participated in Rockathon. Rockathon is an overnight party that included blow up obstacle courses, a man hunt, and plenty of food! Students enjoyed fellowship and fun with their band friends.


As we look forward to the next season, congratulations to the 2018-2019 leadership.


  • Drum Major: Lydia Akin
  • Band President: Alex Aull
  • Band Vice President: Cole Aukes
  • Band Vice President: Brody Lindsey
  • Band Sergeant: Bailey Croker

AP Art Showcase

Our annual AP Art and Photography show always impresses! Students presented their hard work during a showcase to friends, family, faculty and staff. Attendees were able to view submissions and enjoy breakfast with their favorite artists.
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Music in the Parks

Join our 6th thru 12th grade chorus students as they perform at Music in the Parks May 11 and 12. They will perform Friday afternoon between 4 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. at Douglas County High School. On Saturday, performers will enjoy a celebration at Six Flags to close out their weekend.
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Alumna Credits Success to GWA

Feeding butterflies, baking 350 cupcakes, building a chapel: it’s all in a day’s work for alumna Rachel Leach. She is the production coordinator for Evolve Creative Content Studio in Nashville, TN. After graduating from GWA, Leach attended Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with the intention of studying visual effects. Leach said, “It was right in the time when visual effects were starting to go from "pretty good" to "absolutely incredible", and I was blown away when I realized that it was something that people actually could get paid to do.” It was during her visual effects class that she was able to work on a film project. After the project, she was “hooked” and immediately changed her major and all her classes to focus on production.


While her title is production coordinator, Leach "wears many hats" at Evolve Studio. She says that each day she doesn’t know what she will be doing until she receives her morning email. Because their team is so small, she tends to get a little bit of everything thrown her way. “Some days I’ll be doing graphic design on pitches for upcoming projects that we send to clients like NatGeo or ESPN. Other times, I’ll be booking travel for crew, casting talent for shoots, or spend hours shopping for props and wardrobe.”


Leach credits her passion and success to GWA. She said,” I know without a doubt that without Mrs. Taylor's incredible guidance for English and writing, or Mr. Cole's knack for design and style, I definitely would not have been as prepared as I am now. I spend most of my time doing design and creative work that I was never taught in college, but because I had such a good foundation from them and other teachers at GWA, I feel confident about tackling new things. I can say without a doubt that I would not have survived in this job if I hadn't been a part of yearbook.”

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May 22 - Colleges That Change Lives Fair

CTCL is a group of small, liberal arts, primarily undergraduate, teaching colleges that are regionally well known and have graduate school placement rates better than most Ivy League schools. The Fair is at the Westin Peachtree Plaza, Augusta Conference Center from 2-5. The address is 210 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303. To pre-register, please visit https://ctcl.org/atlanta-ga-may-22-2018/.


May 23 - Informative Session

Four colleges will give a presentation (Brandeis, Case-Western Reserve, NYU and University of Rochester) at 7:00 PM at the JW Marriott Buckhead. The address is 3300 Lennox Road NE, Atlanta GA 30326. For more information or to pre-register, go to: https://go.case.edu/portal/group

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JOIN THE FIFTH GRADE FOR C.H.A.M.P.S. GRADUATION ON FRIDAY, MAY 11 AT 1 P.M.

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