In Focus @ GWA
A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy
By: Mandy Gudnason, Computer Science Coordinator
With the development of a Computer Science Department, we are now able to increase our focus on helping students become producers and creators of new technologies, rather than just consumers. This involves computational thinking that uses creativity, collaboration, communication and persistence to solve complex, real world problems. Microsoft predicted that when our elementary students are ready to enter the job force, only two out of ten students will have a job that we recognize today. We want students to be able to not only think outside the box, but also ask, “what can I do with that box?”
We are designing a Robotics program that will expose students to opportunities to strengthen those computational, problem-solving skills that are driving forces in today’s workforce and that of the future. This program will engage all our students in classroom activities as well as after-school clubs.
The technology department is working with fifth grade students to lead the charge with five teams participating in the Wonder League Robotics Competition. All lower school students will participate in computer programming (coding) activities in their computer classes. These activities will include hands-on problem-solving design challenges, programming using various robots, as well as challenges on the computer.
In the middle school, Jennifer Stapp is creating a VEX Robotics Team with her Emerging Technology Leaders class. Second semester, she will offer more opportunities for middle school students with a robotics club after school. These students will transition easily into high school next year with VEX Robotics. This spring, we hope to begin building a high school team to compete on the Robotics circuit next fall.
As you can see, we have ambitious goals and we can only go so far on our own, so we encourage parents and volunteers to help us grow this exciting program! Whether you have experience in the Robotics field or just an avid interest in helping, we can find a place for anyone willing to help. For more information or to volunteer, please email email@example.com.
Wallis Lucas Awarded Rotary Student of the Month
Wallis Lucas is November’s Rotary Student of the Month. She is a member of National Honor Society and Beta Club and is involved with both the Choral and Drama Departments. Wallis is currently playing the lead role of Mary Poppins with the Newton Arts Association. Hoping to attend Davidson College, she plans to major in biology and music.
Wallis selected Mrs. Jo Taylor as the November Teacher of the Month. Congratulations to Wallis and Mrs. Taylor!
Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a point guard and a center…or a screen and charging…or a technical foul and personal foul? What about goal tending or backcourt violation?
Dawgs 360 is proud to present a night of pizza and Basketball 101 on Wed., Nov. 29 from 5:30 to 6:30 p. m. in the Upper School Media Center. There is no cost for Dawgs 360 and corporate partnership members; $10.00 for non-members.
Our guest speaker is Marc Couch, who was a standout four-sport athlete at Shiloh High School, as well as a basketball official for 25 years at multiple levels including college conference championships, NCAA tournaments and Division I colleges. He has been recognized by the Atlanta Tip Off Club and was one of only nine officials selected nationwide by the NBA to attend the Los Angeles NBA summer league.
Dawgs 360 will host this special event where Marc will break down basketball talk for women. Included in the evening will be door prizes and a free ticket to one of the GWA Varsity Basketball games. Limited space available to the first 30 who RSVP to Ms. Elizabeth McDonel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
East to West: Sharing the GWA Experience
While students at GWA have been preparing for Thanksgiving Break, Assistant Headmaster Kevin Cloud has been traveling through China, promoting GWA to potential students and partners.
He is spending a total of 14 days abroad, traveling to Beijing, Guangzhou, Xi’an, Chongging, and Shanghai. While his primary goal is to market George Walton to Chinese families who want to send their students to American schools, he will also have a chance to see historic landmarks including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tian’anmen Square and the incredible Terra Cotta Warriors.
Mr. Cloud will engage with students and families in many different ways: through large expos, intimate meet-and-greets, and classroom visits. He has already tried his hand at Chinese calligraphy!
Our goal in sending Mr. Cloud to China is to connect more personally with families who have an interest in sending their children to an American school. This firsthand interaction enables us to share the GWA story and provide a glimpse of all the exciting offerings on our campus. We hope to welcome at least one or two students from China to our campus next fall, and will continue growing this partnership in the future.
Welcoming Community Leaders to GWA
With a theme of “Passport to Possibilities”, students, faculty and staff welcomed Walton County business and civic leaders to campus on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, the “Walton Proud” bus tour included stops at several area schools, allowing visitors to learn more about the people and programs that set each one apart. GWA students, faculty and Dr. Dolan presented highlights of our outstanding programs, exciting new additions, including the Global Studies program, and vision for the future.
En-Garde! Fencing Team Impresses at First Competition
George Walton’s brand new fencing team competed in its first ever competition this past weekend at Flowery Branch High School.
The Bulldogs had a strong debut. Freshman Evelyn Echols won a silver medal in the Women’s Epee event, competing against 19 other competitors. Juniors Odile Vidrine and Tatiana Bolds tied for third place in the Women’s Saber event, in which they competed among 11 students.
The Fencing Club meets Mondays after school in the cafeteria. The club welcomes more students to join. If anyone is interested they may contact any club member or the fencing coordinator, Mrs. Maureen Vidrine at email@example.com.
This Field Trip Rocked!
On Wed., Nov. 8, Coach David Harcourt’s AP Chemistry and AP Environmental Science classes explored Unicoi State Park and Helen, Ga. The classes walked to the bottom of Anna Ruby Falls. The Environmental Science class took pictures of rock formations, trees and anything related to the environmental topics they had previously studied in class. The Chemistry students performed chemical analysis tests for dissolved minerals in the water in both the lake and the Chattahoochee River.
After their outdoor adventures, the students traveled to downtown Helen where they “mined” for minerals and learned the chemical formulas and uses for many of the minerals they found. The students’ experience will prepare them for future studies on the earth’s crust and the rock and soil cycle.
“It was cool and refreshing, and the overcast day added to the adventure. An appreciation for unspoiled environments was a major goal of the trip, and it lived up to expectations,” said Coach Harcourt.
The Art of Life
Earlier this week Mr. Steve Reagan and Mr. Brian Cole took their AP Art and AP Sculpture classes on a tour of Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta to give students a better idea of different career opportunities that are available in the arts. Students were able to gain a better understanding of how various disciplines of art are needed in the work place.
“I think any time you can get outside the school walls and help a young person experience first hand the application of the skills they are honing and how they are applied in real world settings [can help] validate, encourage and motivate,” said Mr. Reagan.
A highlight of the day was the fashion museum at SCAD. The fashion museum currently houses designs of Guo Pei Couture. This is the first installation in the United States of this world-renowned fashion designer.
Students were able to meet up and tour the school with GWA alumna and current SCAD student Ashlynn Findley (GWA ‘17) who said, “I have been at SCAD for a quarter now and I absolutely love it! GWA prepared me extremely well for college, especially for SCAD. The things that the art department taught me have allowed me to excel in my art and design classes here. SCAD is such a diverse and unique place where you can really bring your ideas and art to life. Getting to show my former classmates how much SCAD has to offer was really special for me.”
An appreciation for the arts is fostered at GWA and SCAD is a popular choice among graduates. Cullen Downey (GWA ‘16) said, “The arts at GWA really help students figure out what type of creative person they want to be. Also, GWA and SCAD both have small classes which help me create connections with students and professors for long-term working relationships.”
Softball Standout Megan McGuinn Signs with GMC
Congratulations to the latest George Walton Academy student to commit to play collegiate athletics. GWA senior Megan McGuinn will play softball for Georgia Military College.
“Megan has been an integral part of our softball program during her time at George Walton Academy, not only in her athletic ability, but also through her leadership skills,” said Coach Katerine Meeks. “We are so proud of what Megan has accomplished and of her contributions to our softball program and we know that she will continue to make GWA proud next year as she plays for Georgia Military College.”
Megan has made the All-Region team three out of the past four years and was named to the All-State team last year. This year’s All-State Team has not yet been named. Megan led the GWA team in batting average (.486) and in runs batted in (40).
Basketball Season Begins Soon!
Chris Flessas Qualifies for State Swim
Congratulations to senior swimmer Chris Flessas for making a state qualifying time in the 100 yard breaststroke at the first meet of the season.
Impressive First Place Finishes for Middle School Swim Team
GWA swimmers captured a staggering number of first place finishes at their meet against Greater Atlanta Christian on Fri., Nov. 9.
Team 1st Place
200 yard Medley Relay : Baylor Lingner, Jake Stout, Charlie Stout, Logan Thornton
200 yard Freestyle Relay: Jake Stout, Colt Ratliff, Logan Thornton, Charlie Stout
Individual 1st Place
Boys 200 yard Freestyle: Charlie Stout
Boys 100 yard Individual Medley: Jake Stout
Girls 100 yard Individual Medley: Breena McGraw
Boys 100 yard Freestyle: Charlie Stout
Girls 100 yard Freestyle: Sarah Digby
Girls 50 yard Backstroke: Breena McGraw
Girls 50 yard Breaststroke: Sarah Digby
Boys 50 yard Breaststroke: Jake Stout
Middle School Wrestling Team Takes First Place
By: Michael Clancy, Director of College Counseling
An important aspect of selecting a college, program of study and ultimately a career comes from “knowing thyself.” To assist George Walton students in this process of self-discovery, juniors are utilizing YouScience, an aptitude test providing a series of “brain games” to reveal their natural abilities in skills needed for high-demand careers.
Through YouScience, students:
·gain accurate insights on how each one of their natural abilities could help them in daily life,
·learn strategies for improving their performance at school or work,
·are given a richer vocabulary to describe their talents to potential colleges or employers,
·gain a better understanding of how they fit best on teams,
·and discover the type of work they will enjoy.
With career compatibility in mind, students view details such as “a day in the life,” core job tasks, salaries, projected job openings, as well as the educational investment needed. In early 2018, sophomores will also explore their talents in the same manner.
YouScience is just one more tool students may use to help them plan a course for life after GWA, as well as determine the best route to get there. If you would like to know more about YouScience, we encourage you to visit their website.
First Graders & Seniors Share Special Tradition
On Wed., Nov. 15, the GWA senior class enjoyed a breakfast in the Nicholson Center with their first grade friends. The meal serves as an opportunity to get to know each other better, share stories, and smile for plenty of photos!
Senior Haley Russell said, “We loved spending time with our sweet first grader, and the food was so good!”
A special thank you to the first grade parents for hosting this memorable annual event.
New Afternoon Traffic Pattern Begins Nov. 27
In an effort to ensure you get home safely and quickly each afternoon, we are adjusting the afternoon traffic pattern. For our Middle and Upper School pick-up, all drivers will now exit via Spring Street, where a police officer will be stationed to assist those drivers turning left. Please note that cones will be in place to prevent drivers from exiting via the back entrance. This new traffic pattern will begin when we return from Thanksgiving break, Monday, November 27. We appreciate your cooperation and patience as we test this pilot program to evaluate the best approach to afternoon traffic flow. This traffic pattern is only in effect during the afternoon Middle and Upper school pick up time.
Invitation to Experience GWA!
Prospective families are invited to join us for an in-depth look at GWA’s approach to academics as well as the full student experience – and more. A presentation by our administration will be followed by a campus tour and a Q&A session with a panel of current parents and students. Please complete the online registration form in the link provided to reserve your spot.
If you are someone already involved with GWA, we encourage you to invite your family and friends who may wish to become a member of the GWA family to this event!
Click HERE to register.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Impress Your Family & Friends This Christmas!
Join us for a Cookie Painting Class and learn how to bake, frost, and paint sugar cookies just in time for Christmas! The cost is $25 and includes all supplies needed (recipes, paintbrushes, palette, practice disks and five cookies). Join Cortney Pickens for a fun evening as she teaches you how to create beautiful cookies. Your family and friends (and Santa!) will be amazed. Limited to 15 spots. This class is designed for students 4th grade and up and parents are welcome to register too! Choose either November 29th or 30th from 3:15 to 4:30 in the Cafeteria. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org at least two days in advance.
Fun Community Classes Coming Soon to GWA
Looking for a new idea for some family fun? How about spending the evening with your kids learning how to… decorate a cake, bake a soufflé or take breathtaking photos? As we continuously look for ways to provide enriching opportunities for our families to gather and enjoy fellowship within our community, we plan to offer some fun (and free!) evening classes open to a range of ages. We are fortunate to have exceptional teachers who are willing to share their talents with our community and we look forward to announcing these special spring classes soon. Stay tuned!
Seeking Families To Host Future Coffee With the Admin
There will be no Coffee with the Admin for the month of December, but please know that Dr. Dolan is always happy to field any questions, comments or concerns you may have.
We would like to begin hosting similar events in the homes of our families. If you are interested in signing up to host an in-home Coffee with the Admin in 2018, please contact Cari Bailey at email@example.com.