In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 22, 2018

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Inspired by the Olympic Spirit

by: Mark Whitley, Athletic Director


The Olympics have begun and so have the spring sports season at George Walton Academy. In honor of The Olympic Games, we would like to take time to reflect on the benefits of being a student-athlete. While lessons taught in the classroom are crucial to student academic development, what is learned in the athletic arena is just as valuable to the personal development of student-athletes and to those who cheer them on from the stands. Athletics provide an outlet for all students--whether through actual participation in a spring sport, or the gains in school comradery created when we, as a school body, strive together to achieve a common goal of being the best.


In a world where sitting behind a computer or playing video games for hours on end is often the norm for young adults, athletics provide an outlet for students to challenge both their minds and bodies. Character is built through hard work and dedication, and teamwork requires effective communication and confidence in order to achieve success. I believe the lessons learned through participation in athletics serve as a benefit long after the student-athlete graduates from high school, taking them into the workplace to serve as strong leaders who value strength in character and personal responsibility to society. As I walk around the campus of George Walton Academy and interact with both students and staff, I am reminded of the school pride that is an integral part of what makes our school successful, and I believe athletics is at the core of that success.


George Walton Academy is proud to offer baseball, tennis, golf, soccer and track during the spring athletic season. Please take the time to come out and support our student-athletes who work so hard throughout the entire year and represent GWA so well. As always, you can refer to the athletic portion of the school website to find updated schedules for your favorite team. GO DAWGS!

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Great things are happening at GWA and it shows in the enrollment numbers! Currently, the number of returning students and new student applications are ahead of last year. Be sure to complete your student’s enrollment contract by the March 1 deadline to ensure his or her spot for the coming school year. At this time, we anticipate having a waiting list in the following grades: K5, second, third and tenth. Contact Cari Bailey in the admissions office if you have questions about the re-enrollment process. We look forward to partnering with you for another great year!
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Black History Month: Sharing the Stories of Impactful Women

In honor of Black History Month, Brandon Hardison spoke to both lower and middle school history classes throughout the day on Feb. 22. He shared the stories of a number of notable women in African-American history including Mrs. F. E. W. Harper who in 1858 refused to give up her trolley seat in Philadelphia, long before Rosa Parks famously refused to give up her seat. He also spoke on Claudette Colvin and Elizabeth Jennings. Mr. Hardison has spoken to GWA students before on other aspects of American black history, including presentations on Harriet Tubman and Fredrick Douglass Patterson.


Mr. Hardison is an employee of Jim Ellis Automotive Group, a company that believes in working with schools in the greater Atlanta metro area. The firm helps Mr. Hardison speak to schools free of charge. GWA is thankful for Mr. Hardison and Jim Ellis Automotive Group and their commitment to helping students learn about these important aspects of American history.

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February Student of the Month

Congratulations to Claire Rowan for being selected as February’s Student of the Month; she has selected Mr. Jeff Lalaian to be the Rotary Teacher of the Month. Claire is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club. She currently serves as the president of both Interact Club and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. She also volunteers with Team Up Mentoring through her church. Claire plans to attend Berry College in the fall to study English as a Second Language.

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As part of the Vietnam War Intensive, GWA is delighted to invite parents to hear a special presentation by veteran Bob Babcock. More information on Mr. Babcock may be found here. Space is limited; RSVP to emcdonel@gwa.com.

New Silent Auction Items Still Arriving!

Check out this incredible painting by student Patrica Sauer. Patricia kindly donated this item to be auctioned at the Lucky Dawg Gala this Saturday. She says,"GWA has been really helpful to my family so I wanted to give back!"


You can bid on Patricia's painting, item #174, or other new arrivals by first registering and then clicking HERE!

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An Apple a Day Didn't Keep This Doctor Away!

Dr. Brittany Hoover spoke to lower school students about the importance of good dental hygiene. A few lucky volunteers had the chance to dress up like a dentist as well as demonstrate proper brushing with a giant toothbrush. Thanks, Dr. Hoover!
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Both middle and high school students are invited to join the Costa Rica trip this summer. The dates for the trip are July 7-15. For details on the trip, please click here. If you want to see a glimpse of last year’s trip, click here!

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Students Prefer Positively Productive Assemblies!

When Mr. Cloud talks, students listen! Today he explained the three P’s of leadership during the lower school character assembly. A great lesson in being positive, productive, and preferring to put others before yourself.

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When a Biography is Brought to Life

Mrs. Mappes’ fourth-grade writing classes took biographies to a whole new level. As part of their informative writing lessons, students chose a famous person, read a book, and wrote a first-person summary of his or her life. Mrs. Mappes said, "Writing is an important way of communicating, but so is oral communication."


After completing their summaries, students dressed up as their featured person and presented to their class. Students worked with Mrs. Mappes on successful ways of presenting. “Public speaking is one of the top fears in adults. Many of the students were nervous before presenting, but all did an excellent job.”


Students also made a lapbook of their chosen person. Lapbooks are file folders with a variety of mini-book foldables. “I liked reading about Thomas Edison. It was fun writing the paper in first person and dressing up,” said student Maddie Garrett

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Middle School Girls Dominate

Our GWA middle school girls tennis team continues to dominate on the court! They scored a sweeping 5-0 victory over Prince Avenue yesterday, bringing their record to 3-0. Great job, girls!

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These Riders Were in the "Zone"

The GWA middle school team competed at the Zone Four Region One Finals in Conyers this past weekend. The team was named Region One Champion and will represent the region at Zone Four Finals. Zone Four is made up of schools from several different states, and only 11 teams advance. We are very proud of the team for their hard work! Madison Smith (not pictured) and Kendall Thornton will advance in their individual divisions as well. The Finals will be held March 17-18 in North Carolina, and the riders will try to qualify for the Nationals in Syracuse, New York.

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Why We Sing

This week, GWA held the annual Winter Concert, which featured the fifth grade Showstoppers, Middle School Meistersingers, Middle School Choristers and the High School Chorale. Additionally, the literary team gave a preview of their competition next week, which includes men and women soloists, men’s quartet and women’s trio. After several beautiful performances, the highlight of the evening was the closing song called “Why We Sing”. As part of a yearly tradition, seniors take a solo and descant of the piece, allowing the seniors to end the evening on a beautiful note.

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Talented Musicians Qualify for District Band

GWA is proud to have had several members of the band program qualify to attend District Band earlier this month. Congratulations on your achievements!
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Coming Home

by: Coach Grace Martin


We feel incredibly honored to have eleven George Walton Academy alumni back on campus. This time, instead of being student-athletes, they serve as coaches.


When asked why they chose to bring their talents back to GWA, the response is simple: the community. They believe in our school, have a passion for coaching, and appreciate the impact that coaches have on student athletes. These alumni truly want to give back to the place that molded them into the well-rounded professionals they are today. Many pursued other careers before coming back on campus, some made this their first stop after college and a few are still working on their undergraduate degrees. Whether this is the first stop of their career or their last, George Walton Academy is elated their paths have brought them back home.


If you would like to see a full list of alumni who came back as coaches, please click here.

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Congratulations! You Have Been Nominated.

Lately, several GWA students have received letters with this salutation. These letters usually go on to invite the student to participate in a summer program often hosted on a college campus, but run by a third-party provider. These programs tend to be expensive. However, the ones with which I am familiar such as Global Young Leaders or Oxbridge Academics are legitimate and deliver on what they advertise. Some students and parents wonder how they were “nominated” without their knowledge. Many of these organizations buy contact information from the College Board (the company that produces the PSAT, SAT and AP exams). From time to time, the college counseling department will also nominate students for summer programs. This is done in consultation with the student and family, and should not come as a surprise. There are numerous summer programs for high school students offered on university campuses. You may review some of these on a list that appears on the GWA College Counseling webpage.


Several college counseling related events are coming up. Click here for more information.

March 7 - SAT Testing

Math and English review on Monday and Tuesday, see Mrs. Carson.


March 24 - Atlanta College Application Mini-Camp

Workshops on preparing for college presented by several university reps on the Georgia State campus. Recommended for ninth-eleventh grade students and families. Register.


March 25 - NACAC University Fair

Close to 200 colleges will be in attendance at the National Association of College Admissions Counseling University Fair. Learn more and register.


March 26 - GWA College Fair

More information to come.

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