In Focus @ GWA
A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy
World Class Band Program
The 2020-2021 school year has been an exciting one for the GWA Band. After an undefeated marching season and a record number of students making the Honor and All-state Bands this spring, we are already beginning to plan for the future!
We recently added an after-school program to jump start fifth-grade students and prepare them for middle school. They meet Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:45-3:45 p.m. With help from student leadership, the fifth-grade band is shaping up to be the best sounding beginner band we’ve ever had. The band is also starting a new summer camp for beginning band students in and outside the GWA community to build and teach marching fundamentals this June.
We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have two additional faculty teach our high brass students weekly. Dr. Tyler Jones has been working with the GWA band for three years and will be joining the faculty to lead the new fourth- and fifth-grade band program this fall. We’ve been blessed to have him leading our private trumpet studio. Tyler recently completed his doctorate degree at UGA studying with former principal trumpet player of the NY philharmonic, Phil Smith. Also, Achim Reus leads the most successful private horn students in the state. Prior to working privately in Georgia, Achim was principal horn for 20 years in the Radio Symphony Orchestra, a member of the German Brass, and a performer with the world-renowned Berlin Philharmonic. Mr. Reus brings his expertise and passion for music making to our horn students.
Percussion Ensemble has been meeting after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays to prepare more advanced, sophisticated, and fun music, while also preparing for 2021 Drum line led by Wayne Viar. Having Mr. Viar, a professional drummer who tours the country and has taught many successful private students and marching bands, come in several times a week to give individual attention to our students has helped grow the percussion section to its largest size in over six years! The Band will be fielding an extremely competitive drum line in the 2021 season.
We are also very thankful to have World Class WGI Silver medalist and Class A Champion Caroline Maughon continuing to teach and choreograph our guard in the 2021 season. Caroline writes great choreography across the guard spectrum. Whether it’s dance, flag, or weapon line, she’s simply one of the best in the state! In addition to leading our program, Caroline is the Assistant Director of the A Class Guard- Edge Independent, which two of our students Ella Smith and Barbara Hammons were able to compete with this season!
The band facility has received multiple upgrades this Spring. We implemented new rubber flooring to provide a slick look, enhance marching technique indoors, improve movement of large equipment, and increase the sound quality of the room. Every door has been replaced to include glass paneling to give the facility a sleeker look. We repainted the walls a neutral grey which has both modernized the building and created a calming but bright environment for students to practice and hang out after school. All our lockers and shelving have been replaced and updated. We are so thankful that every student has a personalized Wenger instrument locker.
The directors are hard at work training the 2021 leadership team, coaching the rookies, preparing for the April 29 Spring Concert, and designing their custom show for the fall (theme to be announced soon)!
We want to say a big thank you to the admin, parents, donors, and world class staff who have helped make this year a spectacular one!
Christian Smith, Director of Bands
Lindsay Ferris, Assistant Band Director
Literary Competes Well at Region
Our dynamic literary team had an outstanding showing at the regional literary competition last Friday. Despite very close competition, the GWA Bulldog team brought home 2nd place in the region. Several of our competitors did so well that they will be heading to the state competition in Milledgeville this Saturday. Congratulations goes to all members of the team, and good luck to those who will be competing this weekend, including:
Claire McNulty for Rhetorical Essay
Makena Helms for International Extemporaneous Speaking
Brooks Dokes, Jack Boyer, Mac Geoffroy, and Michael Mealor for Boys’ Quartet
Rebecca Trifu for Personal Essay
Pictured (left to right) in order mentioned.
Happy Earth Day!
Earth Day is a world-wide day of appreciation for all that planet Earth gives us and reflection upon our environmental impact. In an effort to focus on sustainability and admiration of nature, GWA has been celebrating Earth day for the entire week.
Lower School has been celebrating Earth Day by doing simple eco-friendly activities every day including campus clean-up, energy and water conservation, waste free lunch day, and celebrating Earth photo day. We have also been enjoying morning Earth Day announcers sharing interesting facts about the environment right after The Pledge.
Third graders talked about plastic and why it is a problem in the ocean. They explored the "life cycle" of a plastic bag and learned how it can end up in the ocean, they also investigated how plastics can harm marine life, and evaluated whether there is enough scientific evidence to take drastic action on plastics.
The week's activities will culminate with our annual Field Day tomorrow to enjoy a day of fun in the sun!
By Mac Geoffroy
Creative Writing Club Member
The Creative Writing Club is working on a literary magazine that will include works of writing, art, photography, and other literary works. Anything creative that you do, we would like to publish it in our magazine. The magazine will be a culmination of the school’s artistry. Be a part of it!
Students may submit works to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 26 to be published in the magazine, and we are running another raffle ($15 Dunkin Donuts gift card) for anyone who submits their work.
We’d love to see some great submissions from the creative students at George Walton.
LAX Heads into Post-Season
Good luck to our lacrosse teams that have advanced to the playoffs! The Lightning team (4th & 5th grade) is competing in the B division playoffs this weekend. The Junior team (6th & 7th grade) earned the 2 seed in the A division and also competes this weekend. The Senior team (7th & 8th) earned 4 seed in the A division and begins playoffs on May 1. Go Bulldogs!
Ready for Football?
Spring football is almost here! Please see the dates above for middle and high school spring football. Anyone interested in playing football next fall is encouraged to participate (all rising 6th-12th graders). For more information, contact Coach Beer at email@example.com.
Riding Into Nationals
Eighth grader Hailey Wudtke qualified for and is attending the Interscholastic Equestrian Association's National Finals this weekend in Perry, Georgia! She qualified for Regionals this season, then won Regionals to qualify for Zones in North Carolina. At Zones they took the top three in her division from the southeast and she was one of them. Only 14 riders across the United States will compete in her division! We wish her the best of luck this weekend!
Congratulations to our Class of 2021 Competent Toastmasters and Gavel Club senior members. Seniors gave their final (farewell to GWA) speeches at the annual banquet with nine club members delivering their tenth speech in order to earn the Competent Toastmaster title. The mission of the Toastmasters Club is to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills as well as self-confidence. Gavel Club members will carry these skills with them to college and beyond.
Competent Toastmasters -
Mary Elise Roberts
Senior Members –
Last weekend GWA participated in a clay shooting fundraiser for the Walton County Boys and Girls Club. Teams were comprised of four shooters and their scores were added together to determine the winning team. There were 15 stations (with 4 to 8 disk to be shot at each one) and the maximum score was 100. The GWA team placed third out of sixteen teams. Senior Cameron McDevitt finished with the top score! His team members included Vickie Rollins (who placed two points under Cameron!), Philip Smyrl and Trey Kirkpatrick. They were awarded $200 for their win!
By Lynn Robinson
Director of School Counseling
We are down to the last six weeks of the school year, and once we start counting the days until the end of school, students can easily find themselves of two minds. On one hand, we have students who find themselves excited by the oncoming events of summer and at the same time stressed, because they have a set time that assignments must be completed, and events attended. On the other hand, we have students who will want to slow their productivity down and coast into the end of the year.
Here are a few reminders:
1. Don’t put small tasks off if you can get them done right then. If you find that you have something to do and you have time to do it, then get it done. That means one less thing you will need to do later.
2. Keep a calendar showing all the events or deadlines that are important. Most of us do this anyway, but during a busy time, it is especially important to make sure that the dates for events are correct.
3. Break up projects or bigger events into small chunks of time and see what you can get done earlier rather than just before.
4. Please make sure that you are eating right and getting plenty of rest.
We’re all excited about being out of school, but grades still count and we want to make sure that our students stay focused to end the school year strong.
Sign Up for Summer Camps!
We are thrilled to offer summer camps for kids of all ages and all interests! Our summer camps are open to the community, so bring a friend and spread the word about summer fun at GWA. Camp offerings include athletics, band, creative camps, LEGO camp and much more!
Please click HERE for camp descriptions and the registration links.
The Monroe-Walton Center for the Arts welcomed Dale Clifford, Dean of the Academic Services at the Savannah College of Art and Design, to judge their High School Student art show. George Walton Academy was very well represented, taking home SCAD scholarships of $1,500-$3,000. Our students took home the first and second place prizes in both drawing and painting and photo/2D design!
Congratulations to our talented artists - it was a great show!
1st Place Mikee Bolle Untitled - Googly Eyes
2nd Place Marnie Couch Untitled - Christmas
1st Place Rhiannon Williams Untitled - Figure & Light
2nd Place Ella Brooks Untitled - Water & Fruit
Teacher Appreciation Planned for May
"Teacher Appreciation is a week where all your hard work and efforts are appreciated and you realize how blessed you are to teach in such a great school with awesome students, parents, staff and administration! So blessed!"️ - Jackie Vadney
GWA Teacher Appreciation Week is May 3-7. Please see the grid above for details and use the links provided below to sign up for events on Monday and Friday.
- Need several parents to provide 12 to 24 count snacks (prepacked items) to be dropped off to Elizabeth McDonel’s office in the Dawg House between 7:30 to 8 a.m. that morning. Sign up at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B0949A8A82DAA8-teach
Friday – VIP lunch (catered lunch courtesy of student council).
- Sign up with the link below to make a dessert for our faculty/staff luncheon.
- We are in need of lunchtime volunteers to watch classes (all grades) on May 7 from 12 to 1 p.m. for teacher appreciation week. Please contact Elizabeth McDonel to volunteer.
Thank you for showing our teachers your appreciation!