In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

March 26, 2020

Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram or visit us online.
Big picture

Helping Children Cope

Every day that we spend social distancing from each other forces us to show our “grit.” We are having our resilience, patience, persistence, dependability, courage, compassion and understanding tested in ways that are unprecedented.

For our students, this time may be especially tough, because their lives have been impacted in a way that may appear familiar, but really isn’t familiar at all. In the past, they have spent some school days at home due to inclement weather and have worked online to some extent, but these days at home have serious implications attached to them. Understanding those implications differ depending on the age and maturity of the student.

One way to help students of any age manage this disruption is to have many conversations within your family. Whether they are long or short conversations depends on the needs of your family. Having open frequent conversations will help students deal with the change in routine.

1. Listen to your student(s).

They need to know you understand what they are thinking and feeling. Right now, each concern they have about their day-to-day lives is important to them. They keenly feel what they are missing, (seeing their friends, social events, etc.) To some extent, they may be grieving over the loss of time with the people in their regular routine, and as in grieving for any loss, sharing with someone they trust is important to coming to terms with the change.

2. Make sure that you validate your student’s feelings.

Dismissing a child’s feelings may cause him/her to cling to them or make them believe that their feelings are wrong. Later, they may not be able to develop a perspective that will help them deal with the situation in a healthy way.

3. Be careful of the language you use when talking to them.

When things go wrong, children tend to talk in superlatives and/or use dramatic words. Your student may use the word “most” to describe their situation. An example would be “Postponing the prom was the most awful thing that can happen.” In response, ramping down the language helps. “Yes, postponing the prom is disappointing.”

4. Remind them that we need to social distance ourselves for the greater good.

I would suggest this not be your first conversation. You will know when your student is ready to hear this. We want them to listen to the warnings to keep them healthy.

5. Let them know they are not alone.

Every student their age in our county, state and nation is going through the same thing. Each is concerned about how this situation will play out and how this will affect the future and even next school year.

6. Let them know that “this, too, shall pass.”

Life will restart at some point. The main thing that they can count on is that we, the adults who care for them and about them, will continue to do so, and that we are in this together.

Lynn Robinson, Director of School Counseling

Big picture
Big picture

GWA Marks Founders Day

George Walton Academy was officially incorporated on March 26, 1969 in response to a community desire to provide a more personalized and higher quality education for children in the surrounding area. Combining the best in open learning and a structured environment, the primary goal was to prepare students to successfully achieve in post-secondary educational endeavors.

The early philosophy set forth from our founding Board of Trustees still stands true:

We recognize the individuality of the student and the dedication, time and effort necessary to challenge each student to his or her maximum potential. We recognize the need to assist each individual student at his level and guide him to his best performance.

Early objectives:

The student will be treated as an individual.

The student will be oriented to group needs.

The student will be taught at grade level standards and above.

The student will score at grade level and above on the SRA assessment survey.

The student will demonstrate sound moral judgement in interpersonal relationships.

The student will develop a positive attitude toward himself, his neighbor and his country.

As we mark the 51st year of the Academy, our motto Vires acquirit eundo or “We gain strength by continuing” still endures today.

Big picture
Big picture

A Message for GWA Families and Corporate Partners

If you own or work for a business that is being impacted by the changing business environment created by COVID-19, please email Jeanie Beach your business listing and a link to purchase gift cards. We will compile a list of links to share with our families to encourage them to purchase a gift card that can be used at a later date. This is open to everyone, not just Corporate Partners.

It’s just one simple way, together, we can support our community. Click HERE to see our families and partners who need your support.

Big picture
Big picture


Help us tell the #gwadigitaldays story on social media! We would love to share photos and short video clips of our students learning online – whether it is science, music or PE. Just email your photos/video clips (landscape format is best) to Christina Russell or post on Facebook or Instagram using the hashtag #gwadigitaldays. Additionally, feel free to share pics of your kids using their free time to learn something new or finding creative ways to have fun while we are all in self-quarantine.

Big picture
Big picture

Best Cookies Ever!

In case you missed it, we are sharing Mr. Will's "Big Cookie" recipe. Mr. Will graciously shared a video message with our students and the recipe for his legendary chocolate chip cookies on our George Walton Academy Facebook page and our Instagram account @georgewaltonbulldogs. Students were thrilled to hear from Will and many broke out their mixing bowls and ingredients immediately! Be sure to follow us on social media so you don't miss a beat!
Big picture
Big picture

Melissa Gish is Student of the Month

Melissa Gish has been named Rotary Student of the Month for March. She has chosen Jessie Croft as Rotary Teacher of the Month. Melissa has achieved Headmaster’s List and Best of the Best since ninth grade, served as Junior Marshal, and received the Junior Fellow Scholar Award from Presbyterian College. She is an active member of National Honor Society, Student Council, Beta Club, Gavel Club, Interact Club, and Spanish Club. Melissa also serves in leadership roles, including Student Council twelfth-grade president and National Honor Society vice president. She participates in varsity tennis and serves as a GWA Student Ambassador. Melissa enjoys serving her community through her involvement in student clubs and organizations. She plans to attend the University of Georgia or Piedmont College.

Congratulations, Melissa and Señora Croft!

Big picture
Big picture

The PARC is Open!

GWA PARC programs are virtually here to support our students during digital days!

· Students - please reach out to the peer tutors for support. Email a request to meet and they will quickly respond. Click HERE to access a list of peer tutor email addresses and availability. If link is not accessible, please email Mrs. Power.

· Parents - please feel free to email Mrs. Power at with any questions or concerns during this unique learning time.

Big picture
Big picture

Write On!

By Trica Fissette, Writing Center Director

As Thomas Jefferson once advised, "The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do," we know the power behind crafting our thoughts and communicating them cogently. Words have the ability to change our world. More important, words have the power to persuade and lead others to act.

For George Walton Academy, launching the Writing Center this year has been a remarkable journey. Between aiding students in their college applications, carefully molding a piece of writing to compete for scholarships, or intentionally crafting the perfect argument for a classroom assignment, students in the Writing Center built up their voices from the strong foundation laid out by their teachers. Even now, as we sit in front of our glowing screens in an attempt to connect with one another, the Writing Center continues to work with student writers, honing their ability to stand empowered by the craftsmanship of their words. Whether students walk into our warmly lit Writing Center clutching their computers close to them as they wander through our solemn bulldog halls or click a link to a warm greeting on their monitors, students can always find a friendly smile from an enthusiastic ally.

To make an appointment, students should go to

Big picture
Big picture

Virtual Labs

Dr. Dibble's AP and Honors chemistry students continue to learn about acids and base through digital video labs. Group discussion and analysis are completed though Microsoft OneNote collaboration and Google Meets conferencing.
Big picture

Tech Support

Click HERE for shortcuts to middle and high school technical support.
Big picture
Big picture

Online College Prep

-Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling

Digital learning is not just confined to classroom subjects. There are a plethora of online resources to take advantage of in the world of college prep and admissions. Here are some useful tools available to GWA upper school students.

-GWA Scholarship Database -

-Khan Academy for SAT Prep -

-ACT Academy -

Spring is a great time for underclassmen to take advantage of college campus tours and now is no exception. Check with your colleges of interest to see if they are hosting any virtual admission events. Many universities now have virtual tours so you can explore campuses from the comforts of your own home. Before you get started, check out this article by US News - "How to Make the Best of a Virtual College Tour" :





As always, your GWA college counselors are here for you. Don't hesitate to reach out with your questions via email or phone 706-389-0297.

Big picture
Big picture

Giving Parents a Well-Deserved Break

Our lower school teachers are using Google Hangouts to provide their students with evening story time and social time with classmates. On Tuesday and Wednesday, teachers read books including The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, Grandma’s Garden by Mercer Mayer and We Need a Moose by Lynne Fairbridge. Students loved seeing their teachers, their friends and themselves on the computer screens as they happily engaged with one another and hopefully, parents were happy to have a little free time as well.

For those with children in first and third grades – teachers will have story time tonight at 7 p.m. Please check your email for the link.

Big picture
Big picture

Online Resources

Check out these fun and/or educational websites as well helpful articles! They offer ideas for activities, provide family entertainment, digital learning and advice.

Lunch Doodles - grab paper, pencils, pens and crayons and join artist Mo Willems for Lunch Doodles @ 1 p.m. weekdays.

Center for Puppetry Arts -- offering curriculum-based workshops and digital learning interactive puppet shows and free live streaming shows on Facebook.

Kids For Peace - ideas and activities for families during the COVID-19 pandemic. New ideas and tips have been added this week.

Google Arts & Culture - a free app that lets you virtually tour museums around the world.

GoNoodle - offers plenty of kid friendly dances and movement activities to get energy out while indoors.

GPBKids - games, videos, and lessons galore to fill the extra time (all digital).

BrainPop - short educational videos about topics from health and wellness to wildlife and grammar.

Tips for parents working from home (article from CNBC).

Discussion prompts - use these questions while watching TV/movies with your children for social emotional learning.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Majorette Sign-Up Information

It’s time to sign up for the 2020 Mini Dawgs (K4-2nd) and Dawgettes (3rd-5th) squads! Information packets were sent home with your daughters on Friday, March 13, entailing costs and important dates (including the April 17 deadline for dues). If you are interested in signing your daughter up to twirl next fall, please click HERE for details.

Big picture
Big picture

Staying Fit

Coach Whitley is providing GWA athletes and students in Weight Training with these great tips and resources for keeping in shape during Digital Days. No excuses!


There are several resources listed on this page. Look and listen carefully to the videos and pick the one that best suits your situation at home.


10 Best Mobility | Flexibility Drills (PRE-WORKOUT)

1. 8 Best Bodyweight Exercises Ever (HIT EVERY MUSCLE!)

2. 10 MIN Home Workout (NO EQUIPMENT NEEDED!)

3. The PERFECT Home Workout (Sets and Reps Included)


The Perfect PUSH-UP Workout (3 LEVELS)


Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Andersson Supply. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture