In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

November 9, 2017

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Dr. Dolan Addresses Campus Security Enhancements

Dear Bulldog Families and Friends,


Several of you have noticed security enhancements in and around campus. Not surprisingly, some have questioned the need, while others have found comfort in the upgrades. I understand both positions as my own opinion has evolved over the years.


In my early days as an administrator, I opposed security measures that might make some feel unwelcome. After all, for generations schools had been the anchor for many communities. Whether a family had a student at the school or not, I wanted all to feel welcome. Additionally, I worried that we might send a message that we had problems or concerns or that our children weren’t safe. I also wondered how increased security measures would reflect on the community. What would the school be saying about our location?


Times have changed and in hindsight, perhaps like many new administrators, my views were a little naïve (or maybe overly optimistic). In any event, I now believe that conspicuous security measures are both helpful and preventative. Each of our security enhancements was thoughtfully implemented and our campus has never been as secure as it is today. And, we will continue to evaluate our security needs and constantly be on the lookout for ways to improve. As always, your input is very welcome. Thanks.


Dan

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For those who have not yet participated in this program, we encourage you to seize the opportunity to “tell” the state where you want your tax dollars spent and make a difference for GWA!


  • Contribute to the GOAL program and receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit.
  • Your contribution makes a significant impact on our school without costing you a dime – literally!


GOAL is now accepting applications for the 2018 tax credit!



  • Payment is not required until 60 days after DOR approval, which will be mid-March of 2018.


  • Click here for more information about GOAL.


Questions? Please contact Jenni Cole at jcole@gwa.com or 678-635-3830. Thank you for your participation and for your support of GWA!

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GWA Welcomes Alumnus Justin Sperin to Staff

Please join us in welcoming alumnus Justin Sperin as he joins our staff. Coach Sperin graduated from Armstrong State University in 2017. Prior to attending Armstrong State, he was a member of the wrestling team for Brewton Parker College. He also served as a lay wrestling coach for Calvary Day School. Justin joins GWA as a lower school P.E. aide and is also the assistant varsity wrestling coach.

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Marching Band Impresses the Crowd (and the Judges!)

Last weekend, the GWA Bulldog Marching Band capped off a successful competition season with a strong finish against 30 bands. The Band performed for crowds of more than 7,000 people at Finley Stadium at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.


In the first round of competition, the Marching Bulldogs won the Class 6 Open, besting seven other bands and taking high scores in both the Music and the Visual and General Effect categories. After a late night performance, the Band placed third overall in the final competition.


Band Director Mr. Christian Smith said, “We had our best performances of the year at this event… I was so proud of our kids and [the] way they tackled the field and performed their hearts out!”

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GWA Faculty and Staff Learn from Esteemed TED Talk Presenter

GWA faculty and staff enjoyed a powerful presentation by Sir Ken Robinson during the Georgia Independent School Association Conference. Sir Ken Robinson, author of “Creative Schools”, was the keynote speaker at the annual conference held this past Monday at Marist School in Atlanta. Robinson presented one of the most viewed TED Talks in history and is an internationally-acclaimed expert on creativity and innovation.


While at the conference, GWA faculty and staff had the opportunity to attend a variety of professional development classes. Mrs. Mandy Gudnason, the Lower School technology teacher, said, "I learned a great deal from the Robotics Teacher at Marist which will aide me and my colleagues in the Computer Science Department as we start building a robotics program at GWA. It also gave me an opportunity to network with like-minded teachers, enabling us to share ideas with one another, both at the conference and throughout the year."

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GWA Teachers Make Big Impact on Other Educators

Georgia teachers had the opportunity to learn valuable lessons from two GWA teachers who recently served as conference presenters.


During the GISA Conference, Mrs. Angie McElveen taught a session entitled “Creating a Successful World Language Classroom." Her presentation covered many topics including methods for incorporating technology, routines to engage students in the target language, and realia, which is a method often used to teach students different languages.


Mr. Philip Peavy spoke at the Georgia Education Technology Conference in Atlanta. More than 1,000 applications were submitted, and Mr. Peavy was one of only 300 selected to present. The title of his presentation was “Board Games, 3D Printing, & More: How to Incorporate 3D Printing Into Your Classroom.” Mr. Peavy said, "It was great to present ideas and concepts that we use at GWA to other teachers across the state.”

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A Welcome Surprise at the U.S. Capitol!

High School teachers Mrs. Karen Barrett and Mrs. Jo Taylor are in Washington, D. C. this week studying with the Close Up organization, which is a group that teaches students about their government and civil responsibilities and allows them the opportunity to meet with government officials.


When meeting with Senator David Perdue, Mrs. Barrett and Mrs. Taylor learned that 2009 George Walton graduate Ms. Lindsey Maxwell Robinson works on healthcare reform in the senator's office. The teachers were able to spend time at the conference meeting with both Senator Perdue and Ms. Robinson.

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Teachers Answer the Question: "When Will I Use This in Real Life?"

As seventh graders discuss the importance of communication and writing in the "real world", they have the opportunity to practice writing business letters. In this project, students assume the role of an event planner who is organizing a 10-year anniversary dinner for a couple. As it often is with event planning, several guests have dietary restrictions that must be accommodated. In order to meet these specific needs, students compare two restaurant menus; and after conducting enough research, they will choose a restaurant and write a letter to the couple discussing their findings.

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When Mythology Comes to Life

Ms. Cortney Pickens’ Latin II and III classes spent some time this week at the M. C. Carlos Museum at Emory University touring the Greco-Roman and Egypt exhibits. The outing gave students a chance to see Greek and Roman art up close. The display included everything from tiny, intricate bronze sculptures and everyday objects to beautiful marble statues and painted vases. Students were able to see ancient depictions of the mythology they have been studying - painted and sculpted into amazing masterpieces.

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Upper School Library Features Student Creations

The Upper School Library currently features two intriguing art exhibits. One from Mr. Steve Reagan’s art class showcases scratch boards full of skulls. The second exhibit is from the Recycling Club, led by Mrs. Ursula Kirk. The clever pieces on display are made of recycled materials and include a squid, a bumblebee and more.


“I love having art projects on display,” said librarian Mrs. Richardson. “Our students are very creative and showcasing their talents gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy the students’ designs.”

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GWA Students Volunteer to Send a Little Love to Children in Need

Interact Club is actively working to make sure that ill and traumatized children are receiving a little extra love this holiday season. Through the organization Project Linus, handmade blankets will be distributed to children in hospitals, shelters and social service agencies.


Interact Club, which is sponsored by Rotary International, is a student-run group dedicated to serving both the local and national communities. Thanks to these students, children will receive extra warmth, security and comfort during a time when they need it most.


To learn more about Project Linus, click here.

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Red Out This Friday for First Round of State Playoffs

There will be a Red Out this Friday as our GWA Bulldogs take on Fellowship Christian in the First Round of the State Playoffs.


Coach Whitley will presell student tickets Thursday and Friday at break for $6.00. GHSA sets the gate price at $8.00 and requires that all pay for admission.


Faculty, staff, Corporate Sponsors and Dawgs 360 members must pay at the gate. If you would like to work a two-hour shift in concessions in exchange for free admission, please email Ms. Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com.

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Try Out College (Before You Even Apply!)

Want a taste of college before graduating high school? Consider a summer program at a university.


I used to lead tours for the International Association of College Admissions Counseling. These tours always took place in July. One thing that struck me, aside from the amount of construction taking place, was the number of high school students on those campuses. Practically every university offers summer programs for high school students. Some even have programs for middle and elementary school students.


There are several things to be aware of when searching for and selecting a summer program. To learn all of Mr. Michael Clancy's helpful tips on college summer programs, read the full article here.

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Please Note: Students May Not Wear Jeans to School Friday

Students may not wear blue jeans to school Friday, Nov. 10. We ask that they wear dress code in honor and respect of Veterans Day.

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