In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

January 7, 2021

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

Key Deadlines & dates

  • Admissions Testing/No school for K3-K5 ONLY: Jan. 15
  • School Holiday, MLK, Jr. Day: Jan. 18
  • Winter Senior Nights: Jan. 15 & 19
  • Red Cross Blood Drive: Jan. 29
  • GWA Open House: Sunday, Jan. 31
Big picture

Welcome to Winter Term

As we head into the second semester, we hope that everyone had a great Christmas, stayed safe, and is recharged for the second half of the school year. While our lower and middle school students began their second semester courses, our upper school students returned from break ready to take part in their Winter Term experiences.

Due to the challenges that Covid-19 presented, our third year of Winter Term might look a little different this year. However, we have pushed through the challenges and are excited about the opportunities that our students will experience.

In a typical year, students have options to travel, participate in our global exchange program, intern, or take on-campus classes. Although the travel and global exchanges have been suspended for this year, our students are still taking advantage of the internship and on-campus options. Many of our junior and seniors are working in fields such as medicine, politics and government, as well as education. Students who remain on campus are participating in classes such as Woodworking and Hand Tools, Self-Defense for Women, SAT Math Prep, Japanese Language and Culture, Food Science, and Engineering Design Challenge to name a few.

Though this school year may look slightly different in many ways, we are excited to continue to provide as many of the same opportunities and experiences to our students as always.

It’s a great day to be a Bulldog!

Matt Reynolds

Big picture
Big picture

Learn By Doing

Our Winter Term course offerings are diverse and engaging – with some classes using true hands-on learning. Students are learning new skills and are learning-by-doing.

In Mrs. Fissette’s DIY Interior Design class, students have created feather lanterns and are beginning their work on pompom rugs – making each colorful pompom by hand. Students in Mrs. Kirk’s Calligraphy class are learning the technique for creating beautifully formed letters with calligraphy pens and those in Ms. Pickens Dinner for One course are learning to prepare meals with limited access to major appliances just as they will in college. Other classes, including Woodworking, Scratch Art, Cool Craftin’ and Paint Like an Impressionist give students the opportunity to create while acquiring new skills. We look forward to seeing their finished works at the end of Winter Term!

Big picture
Big picture

Exploring New Math Concepts

Our first graders have a new guided math curriculum that allows them to explore math concepts in many ways. Students work in various centers, such as technology, puzzles, and games. They also enjoy working in small groups with their teacher during math period. This week they worked on place value and used base ten blocks to represent numbers.

Big picture
Big picture

Violin Lessons Offered

Beyond the Bell will begin offering afterschool private lessons on campus with Liz Couch in January on Wednesdays and Fridays.


  • 30 minutes - $36
  • 45 minutes - $54
  • 60 minutes - $60
  • Violin rental will cost approximately $30/month (includes damage waiver).

Please contact Stacy May with any questions.

Big picture
Big picture

Three Magic Words

These three words, when spoken by the right person in the right context, can help us make the Lucky Dawg Gala and Auction a hugely successful fundraiser for our school! We are looking for items for our silent auction and as a shopper in your community, you patronize businesses daily, weekly or monthly. These businesses are often more than willing to help out their loyal customers and benefit from a little free advertising in the process. Ask for a donation for our auction today!

Consider asking your hair stylist to donate a gift certificate or hair care products. Ask your favorite boutique to donate an item, service or a gift certificate. Maybe you or someone in your family is willing to donate a few days or weeks' worth of time at a vacation property. Ask a friend who's an artist to consider donating a painting — all of these are great ideas for the auction!

Items that tend to sell very well include restaurant gift cards, artwork, jewelry, business services, spa items and time at vacation properties. Click HERE to access a donation request form that you can print and share when saying those three magic words: "Will you donate?"

Big picture
Big picture

Help Us Spread the Word!

We are excited to invite prospective families to our GWA Open House on Sunday, January 31! The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please share the news with your friends and neighbors. Prospective families will need to email to reserve a specified time to attend. Face coverings are required, we practice social distancing, and we will be limiting attendance for each session. Our admissions team will share general information, provide campus tours and answer questions. We can’t wait to meet new families and show them all that George Walton Academy has to offer!
Big picture
Big picture

Author Cortney Pickens

GWA Latin teacher Cortney Pickens can add published author to her list of accomplishments! She originally wrote and illustrated her newly released book, “Festive Daddy” as a gift to her nephews last Christmas and as an homage to her granddaddy Olin, who crafted many of the beautiful Christmas traditions she grew up with. Ms. Pickens said, “It’s the traditions I’ve created with family and friends that make every Christmas season so special, and I hope that by sharing them in a children’s book that my readers will create new traditions themselves!”

The frog characters found in her book were inspired by the multitude of frogs that inhabited the creeks and puddles near her childhood home, “It was a joy to bring my frogs and my favorite holiday together in a single book!” To purchase your own copy of “Festive Daddy” – go to

Big picture

The Search Continues

By Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling

It is finally 2021 and the opportunities to continue the college search are accessible! GWA college counselors encourage our high school students and parents to take advantage of these available opportunities in the upcoming months:

-Save the Date - SACAC Virtual College Fair on Thursday, February 11, 2021, 5:00 pm - 7:45 pm. An email will go out when registration and a list of colleges attending are available. (SACAC stands for the Southern Association of College Admission Counseling, of which Mr. Terrell & Mrs. Nabors are both members.)

-College Visits - Nearly all colleges are offering virtual tours that prospective students/families can access at any time. Slowly but surely, more colleges are opening their campuses for face-to-face tours with online registration and social distancing protocols in place. GWA juniors are encouraged to schedule college tours after Winter Term concludes. Juniors can take up to three school days as excused absences in the spring semester. To be excused, junior students should complete the College Visit form in the counseling office once a tour date is confirmed. Freshmen and sophomores can plan college visits with their parents around days off from school such as February 12 & 15 or March 11 & 12.

Here is a brief list of nearby colleges and links to sign up for on-campus tours:

1) Berry College

  • Preview Days - morning and afternoon sessions available on Saturday, March 6, and Saturday, March 20. Registration will open later this month.
  • Campus Tours

2) Georgia College

3) Georgia Southern University

4) Kennesaw State University - be sure to specify which campus - Kennesaw or Marietta. (Most STEM majors are housed on the Marietta Campus.)

5) Samford University

6) University of West Georgia

7) Young Harris College

Big picture
Big picture

Refresh Takes Center Stage

Kudos to our Fine Arts department on their recent transformation of the lower gym stage! During finals week (which was virtual) – the group cleaned the space, sanded floors, painted and installed new spotlights with the help of Adam Kimmelman. Also, a wall of mirrors has been added for our growing dance program.

“I am so proud of what our team was able to accomplish in just a few days. We have one of the most caring and hardest working departments on campus and their talents never cease to amaze me. I am truly surrounded by rock stars.” said Brian Cole, GWA Fine Arts department chair.

It is exciting to see the completed renovation and a stage where our students can shine!

Big picture
Big picture

Lifting Creativity

By Megan Sims, Middle Art Teacher

Middle school art students were tasked with creating a paper mache “hot air balloon” decorated with the theme of a book or a movie. The focus of this project was not only to get students to start thinking in three dimensions, but also to encourage the development of ideas fully before they execute the application of the design.

The process started with students building the base structure of the hot air balloon using an actual balloon that they covered with layers of paper soaked in a glue mixture. Once their structure was complete, they moved on to the design phase.

They were required to propose three different design ideas that focused on characters, plot and setting. They brainstormed ideas and worked on sketches. The goal was to create a unique design that reflects the story in an interesting way. Students were tasked with creating a balloon design and a non-traditional basket that could take any form needed to best reflect their theme. Their design options unlimited; they could use any materials available to complete their design.

This project required deep thinking and creative problem solving. Students often looked to their classmates to work through design problems as they occurred expanding the possibilities even more.

Big picture
Big picture

GWA Hoops

Congratulations to the boys varsity basketball team on their 80-70 win over Loganville Christian on Tuesday night with junior Kennedy Johnson contributing 36 points! Our Bulldogs look for more wins this Friday on the home court against the Spartans from Athens Academy. Attendance is limited to those with vouchers. Please use the link below to watch the varsity games via livestream. Go Bulldogs!

Big picture
Big picture
Click HERE for athletic events details.
Big picture
Big picture
Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Apex Painting and Decorating. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.
Big picture
Big picture