In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

August 16, 2018

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Dawg Days Winter Term

By: Matt Reynolds, Dean of Students and Winter Term Principal

In January, GWA upper school students will have opportunities to gain real-world experience or study non-traditional topics during a new three-week intensive winter term titled "Dawg Days."

January 7-25, students will take a departure from their regular courses and curriculum and will choose one of the following options:

Travel (10th-12th grades)

  • Belize
    • Students who have completed our Global Health course in the fall will travel to Belize to work alongside Duke University and Johns Hopkins University medical fellows in rural Belize, offering basic medical care to the local population.
    • Contact: Holly Atkinson,
  • Close-Up (Washington, D.C.)
    • According to the program's description: “Immerse yourself in all that Washington, D.C. has to offer and explore the famous monuments, world-renowned museums, and hallowed institutions that define our past, inspire our present, and impact our future. Using D.C. as a living classroom, students will make personal connections with the people, institutions, and iconic sites that embody our nation’s past and present. Through meaningful conversations with students from across the country, this program helps young people find their unique voice.” Learn more.
    • Contact: Wrynn Carson,
  • Virginia
    • High school history students will go on a tour of historical sites surrounding our nation’s founding through the American Civil War. Highlights include Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg, Appomattox, UVA, and much more.
    • Contact: Katherine Meeks,
  • Spanish Exchange
    • GWA students who hosted our Spanish students in the fall will travel to Barcelona to stay with a Spanish family and attend classes at our partner school, St. Paul’s.

    • Contact: Femke Côté,

Internships (11th and 12th grades)

A survey was sent to upperclassmen to determine areas of interest and more information will be coming soon on available internship opportunities.

Cool Courses (9th-12th grades)

A complete course list is currently in development, but students will have the opportunity to take courses like Magic Carpet Ride taught by David Harcourt. In this course, students will build and ride a disc that uses the concept of reduced sliding friction and air pressure. The disc will be of their own design and they will enjoy riding the “magic carpet” at the end of the session. Participants will learn basic concepts regarding the laws of motion and basic engineering principles. Students will be allowed to keep their product.

*And note that an additional travel opportunity will be offered for the Summer of 2019:

Galapagos Islands

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A Way with Words

Congratulations to senior Conner Brown! His poem entitled “Trees” will be published in the upcoming publication entitled "Futures". Brown submitted his poem through Mrs. Wrynn Carson's English class last year and received notice this week that it has been officially registered in the American Library of Poetry.

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Most Likely To...Design a Great Yearbook!

The yearbook staff spent the day with journalism/yearbook expert Bruce Watterson at the Wayfarer sunroom in downtown Monroe. They did some team building activities and learned about yearbook design and coverage.

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More Than Enough for Everyone

A delicious treat will soon be served to GWA students thanks to seventh-grader Jordan Smothers. He recently won the prize for the largest melon in Walton County. Weighing in a 115.2 pounds, this melon is also the third largest in the state. Smothers is seen here with Congressman Hice, who presented him with the honor. The melons were donated to GWA and our school will enjoy them shortly! Good news- they are organic! Way to go, Jordan!
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Parent Socials Well Attended

Dawgs360 hosted enthusiastic crowds at this week's Parent Socials. K4 - second grade parents joined us this week and the rest of the grade-level gatherings are coming up soon. Please join us to hear about exciting things going on at George Walton Academy and reconnect with parents in your children's respective class. Socials will be held in the cafeteria from 6 to 7 p.m. on the date assigned to your child's grade. Please, only parents at this event. If you did not receive your emailed invitation, please contact Elizabeth McDonel at See you there!

August 20: Fourth and Fifth Grade

September 4: Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Grade

September 6: Ninth and Tenth Grade

September 12: Eleventh and Twelfth Grade

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GWA Flying High

Do you have a student interested in aviation? Young Eagles Day is a free opportunity for school age children to take a flight! The next Young Eagles Day in the Lawrenceville area is Saturday, Aug. 18. For more information, visit To register, click HERE!

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Beat Those Trojans!

GWA Bulldogs return to Don Williams Stadium tonight in a scrimmage against John Milledge Academy at 6 p.m. Come in your GWA gear to support the first game of the season! Nothing to wear? Don't worry! Dawgs360 will be selling retro jerseys to the general public at the game. Go Dawgs!

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Varsity Softball Undefeated!

The varsity softball team traveled to Eagles Landing Tuesday and won 11-0. This follows their first victory of the season against Monroe Area, leaving our Lady Bulldog's undefeated! They play Hebron at home 8/16 at 4:30.

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Volleyball Reaching New Heights

Varsity Volleyball competed in the Queen of the North East tournament, placing fifth out of 18 teams from all divisions. They remained undefeated throughout the morning until facing 7AAAAAAA Norcross in the semifinals. They have now won nine out of 14 sets played and will compete this weekend at the Athens Academy Invitational. Their first match is at 10 a.m.

JV Volleyball is currently undefeated! We wish them the best of luck as they take on Jefferson High School next week.

Middle School Volleyball is off to a great start! Their first official tournament is this weekend at the Prince Avenue Jamboree.

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Youth Football Kick-Off

GWA Youth Football prepares to kick-off the season with a fun-filled afternoon and a heartwarming tribute to their players' families. Youth coaches had the Kona Ice Truck at their latest scrimmage to welcome the team into the season and announced the season's dedication.

In an effort to rally behind team members and offer support during a time of hurt and healing, the youth coaches and players are dedicating their season to three teammates family members who lost their battle with cancer this past year. Players will wear decals on their helmets in memory of Dae’von Hammond and Scott Schoenthal.

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A Time-Honored Tradition

Seniors learned the names of their special first graders this week – continuing one of our favorite GWA traditions. Throughout the school year, the pairs will celebrate holidays and fun events together, building a bond that may last well beyond their time at George Walton. In the coming weeks, they will have a senior-first grader meet and greet and enjoy a breakfast with their new friends. We can't wait to see what this year will hold for them!

Show Your GWA Spirit!

We couldn’t be more excited about the upcoming year and the awesome events that contribute to GWA Bulldog life! Show your support for our varsity football team by attending the first game of the season at Walnut Grove on 8/24 at 7:30 pm. This game will be a white -ut and t-shirts will be available in the Dawg Shop and at the Ice Cream Social for $12 (youth & adult sizes).

Our Homecoming Week game will be a black-out against Towns County on 9/14 at 7:30 p.m. The black-out t-shirt design includes the homecoming theme - the Mexican holiday “Day of the Dead” or “Día de los Muertos.” Please use the link provided (found on the Dawg Shop web page) to purchase homecoming tees as they will not be available in the Dawg Shop. The cost is $12 in youth and adult sizes. T-shirts will be delivered to the Dawg Shop for pick up on 9/10.

Support your Bulldogs and show your GWA spirit! Go Bulldogs!

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Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Middle schoolers kicked off the school year with collaborative growth mindset activities. Students started the day competing in a mega relay (congrats to sixth grade grand champions!), created towers of spaghetti in the marshmallow challenge, and spent time learning best practices in time management and organization. We can’t wait to see what the middle schoolers will achieve this year!
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Bulldog Band Members Shine

Two members of the Bulldog Marching Band will represent GWA in the Atlanta Youth Wind Symphony this year. After a competitive audition of over 350 students, Alex Aull was named First Chair Euphonium and Brookes Dokes was named Third Chair Trombone. Bailey Croker was named alternate.

The symphony is comprised of around 90 upper school students from roughly 75 different schools. The AYWS typically performs four concerts annually. Additionally, the group has participated in commissioned compositions, world and regional premieres, professional music conferences, and tours.

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Alumna Captures First Place Award

Bethany Leggett ('06) is currently the editor of Golden Isles Magazine in Saint Simons Island. She works to produce the bimonthly lifestyle publication that covers the people, places, and events that "make the Golden Isles a special place to call home." In June, the magazine won the award for the #1 magazine in the state during the 2018 Georgia Press Association's awards banquet.

Leggett says, "At GWA, I was editor of the yearbook both my junior and senior years. It was in Mr. Cole's class that I learned my way around InDesign, discovered the basics of layout and design, and ignited a passion for journalism and telling people's stories as a way to document their time in a place. While I went on to college at Furman University and graduate school at Northwestern, the groundwork for my journalism career all started in that classroom at George Walton."

The GPA award is just their latest recognition. The magazine previously won two national awards in 2017 at FOLIO: in New York City and they have been nominated for three others this year at the 2018 convention in October. Watch for Bethany and Golden Isles Magazine as they come to you with even more award-winning content.

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"We Rise By Lifting Others" - Robert Ingersoll

Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling

It is no surprise that GWA students are busy people. Most of our students are involved in multiple activities in addition to their rigorous academic course load – fine arts, athletics, clubs, service, leadership, part-time jobs, and more. It is easy to get bogged down with all the stuff and forget to truly connect (and I don’t mean wi-fi or social media).

The GWA Advisory program, which kicks off this Friday, will provide a means for middle and upper school students to develop decision-making skills, establish healthy authentic relationships, set personal and academic goals, and gain a better self-understanding. Our advisory team consists of faculty and administration that will meet with the same small group of students throughout the school year.

Back in the day, I personally reaped the many benefits of being in a high school advisory group as a student. I vividly remember more of my experience in advisory than I do most of my time in academic classes, not because of the content but because of the relationships developed there. My advisor invested in me. She cared for me as a person, not just as a student. She helped me stay motivated, held me accountable, and demonstrated concern when I veered off track.

I also was able to connect with my peers outside of my normal friend group, pushing me beyond my comfort zone. I especially remember meeting with my advisory group after the 9/11 attacks to process our emotions and discuss our thoughts and beliefs in a safe place. It was a pivotal time in my life, and I’m grateful for the support and encouragement I gleaned from my advisory program.

It is GWA’s hope to build personal relationships through the advisory program that will last for years to come and instill some life skills in our students along the way.

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Tuesday, Aug. 28

GA Futures College Information Session

6:30 p.m.


This meeting is for seniors and/or their parents and will include information on the elements of a college application, how to use the GA Futures website and GSFAPPS, along with how to apply for Hope, Zell Miller, and other scholarships.

Friday, Aug. 31

How to be a BIG DAWG!

11:55 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. (Flex Block)

A representative from UGA will present to juniors and seniors who pre-register for the event. Parents are welcome drop in without pre-registering. Please note that seating may be limited.

Upcoming University Visits

Open to ALL upper schools students. Parents are also welcome to drop in.

August 31*: University of Georgia during the Flex Block in the Auditorium

September 5: University of North Georgia during break in the Upper School Media Center

September 6: Agnes Scott College during break in the Upper School Media Center

September 11: Columbus State University during break in the Upper School Media Center

September 12: Mercer University during break in the Upper School Media Center

September 19: Oglethorpe University during lunch in the Cafeteria

September 20: New York University during break in the Upper School Media Center

September 20**: Walton County Probe Fair

September 24: Emory University during break in the Upper School Media Center

October 2: Florida Polytechnic University during lunch in the Cafeteria

*Space is limited. For the first 90 juniors and seniors that register. Freshmen and sophomores will take YouScience assessments at this time. A registration form will go out on Friday.

**Mandatory for all juniors. Space available for up to 40 seniors. Not open to freshmen and sophomores. A registration form will go out on Friday.

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Parents: Cast Your Votes!

Make your opinions known! We are beginning our GWA adult programs so please take a few minutes to let us know which of these options capture your interest. With your help, we can offer our community vibrant new opportunities to learn, socialize, and enjoy. Let us hear from you by clicking HERE to vote!

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