In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 4, 2021

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Key Deadlines & dates


  • Lunch Orders Due: Feb. 11 (see details below)
  • Spring Sports Picture Days: Feb. 11 & Feb. 22
  • Winter Break: Feb. 12 & 15
  • Re-enrollment Contracts Due: March 1
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All About Athletics

As we wind down and finish up the winter sports programs, we are quickly approaching the start of the spring seasons! But before we move outside, let’s give some final kudos to some well-deserving groups.


The swim and dive team is competing today at Georgia Tech in the State Championship Meet. More GWA swimmers have qualified for State than in most recent years. As an example of the talented athletes on this team, junior Charlie Stout just committed to continue his impressive swimming career at the University of Georgia in 2022. Congrats and good luck to all our swimmers at State!


The varsity basketball teams are entering the Region Tournament next Tuesday. We celebrated the middle school girls team’s championship win in overtime against Oglethorpe County.


The wrestlers compete this week at Area and expect to send as many as six to the State Meet on Tuesday, Feb. 9.


The cheerleaders will compete at Sectional this weekend to qualify for the state competition which has been moved to Macon. Go girls!!


Now on to the spring season! The big news is that we have enough girls (14) to begin our first girls lacrosse competition team. They will play a JV schedule this year, so stay tuned for those details. Everyone else is in full swing and first up will be soccer this Thursday at home against Hebron. All the other spring sports will begin competition next week, so check schedules on the website and come out to support your Bulldogs!


We have something for everyone in the spring. GWA has multiple team levels (varsity, JV, middle school and youth) for baseball, soccer, track, lacrosse, golf, and tennis. We offer lacrosse for the youth and currently have four teams with 65 participating. Youth track started this week with our lower school students and we have had more than 30 each day at practice. They will have their meets beginning in March on Saturdays.


So far this year, most of our sports teams have enjoyed great success. We look to continue that trend in the spring, and hopefully build all of our teams for the future from the ground up.


It’s Great to Be a Bulldog,

Mark Whitley

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Lessons in Black History

Students in K4 through twelfth grade will focus on Black History Month throughout the month of February to recognize and celebrate the contributions of African Americans to the world. Each morning an interesting fact from Black History is shared on the school announcements. This week our fourth graders started research projects on prominent Black figures- someone who made a contribution to literature, the arts, sports, politics, or science. Middle school piano students have studied accomplished Black musicians, such as Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong, and Eubie Blake. Each student a gave presentation about the personal life and accomplishments of their subject and played a sample of their music.


We look forward to sharing more Black History lessons from our classrooms- designed to highlight the integral contributions of American Africans here and around the globe.

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Real-World Applications

Students in Ms. Benfield’s AP Environmental Science class took part in a simulation today that represents that challenge that farmers across the world face as they try to harvest the maximum amount of food per acre. While farmers work hard to grow food for people and animals, some insect pests eat many of the same crops, which can reduce the amount of food harvested by farmers. As a result, modern farming in the United States usually relies on pesticides to reduce insect populations and increase crop harvests. Most insects are killed by pesticides, but a select few are naturally resistant and don’t die when they come in contact with pesticide. The activity modeled how pesticides can affect an insect population, both positively and negatively. Students spent time before the simulation learning about different irrigation techniques that farmers use, and comparing their efficiency and cost.
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Shining a Light

Mr. Reagan’s Art 3 students have put the spotlight on lesser-known scientists and inventors as part of a project to bring art to Dr. Hutcheson’s classroom. They are people of color and women – including Elizabeth Blackburn, Erich Jarvis, Otis Boykin, Charles Drew, Mae C. Jemison and others. Their important contributions to science and technology are highlighted in these eye-catching pieces. Students took an in-depth look at their subjects’ impressive work and found inspiration in their abilities to overcome gender and racial boundaries.


“Learning about Walter Lincoln Hawkins truly made me realize that no matter where you come from, if you work hard you can do truly amazing things. He went from being orphaned as a child and raised by his sister to being the first African American chairman of AT&T Bell Laboratories,” said Emma Barley.


Christian Hansen explained, “What I found most interesting about Percy Julian was the fact that he was able to use proteins, mainly ones found in soybeans, to make treatments to help cure diseases such as arthritis and glaucoma. I also found out that he made a chemical that is used to put out chemical fires. For my art project – I showed Mr. Julian standing in the background watching his discoveries in use.”


Mia Berry studied Otis Boykin, an American inventor in the early and middle 1900's. “Throughout the process of this art project, I learned so much about Mr. Boykin and modern-day medicine. Otis Boykin invented the pacemaker, along with tons of other medically related items. Boykin faced many challenges in his life that are frequently looked over. Boykin attended university; however, after two years he was forced to drop out because he could not afford tuition. He worked extremely hard for his successes. Otis Boykin's invention changed modern day medicine and without him the way we see medicine would be completely different.”


Charles Drew was a pioneer in science and an advocate for racial equality. Lillie Barrientos learned about the obstacles Mr. Drew faced as he worked to make it possible for blood supplies to be transported and stored so that it could be distributed to others. She explained, “A myth going around at the time (1940’s) impacted the storage of blood because it stated white people and black people had different types of blood. Drew worked throughout his career to fight this misconception.”


American mathematician Katherine Johnson faced many hardships being an African American woman during the time of segregation and discrimination. Hannah Freeman discovered the contributions made by Katherine Johnson despite her limited access to educational opportunities. “She was not given many options for her future but made her way up in NASA and assisted on many important mathematical calculations. She helped send a satellite up as well as sending men up to the moon. Katherine overcame the challenges she faced, becoming an inspiration to others. She modeled to never give up and work even harder than before. “


Be sure to stop by The Commons and see this insightful exhibit in person!

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State Bound Thespians

Our GWA One Act actors are state bound! They took first place in the GHSA Region 8A Private School One Act Play Competition as well as many additional awards! Congratulations to drama teacher Paula Gerhardt and the entire cast of Almost, Maine! They will compete at State on Feb. 20. They received the following awards at the Region competition:


First Place Play: GWA / Almost, Maine


Best Female Actor: Makena Helms


Best Supporting Male Actor: Alex Zahradnik


Best Ensemble: Almost, Maine


All Star Cast:

Ashlyn Turner, GWA

Sara Camp, GWA

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State Bound Swimmers

Good luck to the nine Swim Dawgs- MK Dopp, Charlie Stout, Jake Moore, Timothy Pham, Emma Dopp, Jake Stout, Sarah Digby, Madison Taylor, and Baylor Lingner, who will compete today at the GHSA Swimming & Diving State Championship at Georgia Tech. Swim fast, Bulldogs!
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Champs (Again)!

Our middle school girls are champs for a second consecutive year! They defeated Oglethorpe Co. MS tonight in overtime 39-37 on Monday in the Athens Area Championship game! Leila Mathis and Ashley Hill are named All-Stars!

Congratulations to all players and coaches on an amazing season!
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Jackson Ellerbee has signed to play football and continue his education at Stetson University in Deland, FL. Best wishes and much success as you enter this new chapter, Jackson!
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Jake Whitten will play football and continue his studies at Berry College in Rome, GA. Congratulations and all the best at Berry, Jake!
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Nico Eberhart has signed to play soccer with Lander University in Greenwood, SC. He plans to study graphic design and business. We wish you continued success and all the best, Nico!
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Tentative photo schedules are below (please confirm with your coach). Photo order forms should be available from your coach, the athletic office and/or the main front office.


Feb. 11-

8-9 a.m.: Soccer - MS girls, MS boys, VG and VB (Football Field by lower school gym)

9:45-10:30 a.m.: SENIOR banner pictures in the Cafeteria (ALL spring sports seniors, including soccer, tennis, baseball, lacrosse, golf, track and any senior managers/trainers)

10:30-11:15 a.m.: Tennis- MS girls, MS boys, VG and VB (Tennis Courts by the cafeteria)

11:30-12:15 a.m.: Baseball- MS and Varsity (Baseball field)

12:30-1:15 p.m.: Lacrosse- MS and HS players (field by the red track)


Feb. 22 (locations and times TBD)

Golf- MS and HS athletes

Track- Youth, MS and HS athletes


SENIORS WILL HAVE THEIR BANNER PICTURE TAKEN ON FEB. 11 AT 9:45 IN THE CAFETERIA. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A UNIFORM, PLEASE WEAR A GEORGE WALTON POLO.

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Click HERE for athletic events on the GWA February calendar.
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Visit HERE to register for the Lucky Dawg Gala & Silent Auction. Since this year’s event is virtual, everyone is able to participate and bid on all items, but you do have to register to bid! We are excited to extend participation to all within our school and community.


The deadline to order a charcuterie board (for pick-up at GWA on February 19) is tomorrow, Friday, February 5. You may purchase a board HERE.

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Raffle Tickets on Sale!

Three Trip Raffle tickets are now available. Purchase a ticket HERE for a chance to win a trip to Austin, Texas, Scottsdale, Arizona, or Cortona, Italy.


Only 135 tickets will be sold! One ticket for $100. Six tickets for $500. 13 tickets for $1,000.

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It's a Date!

What's a calendar's favorite treat?

Dates!


Speaking of dates - the GWA College Counselors have a few to offer.


For 9th -11th Students: SACAC Virtual College Fair on Thursday, February 11, 5 pm - 7:45 pm. For more information and to register, visit http://bit.ly/SACACfair.


For 9th and 10th Students & Parents: As announced last week, the GWA College Counseling office is offering optional Academic Planning Consultations with current freshmen and sophomore students and their parents. These meetings do not guarantee a specific schedule or course load for the upcoming school year but are intended to strategically plan for courses that would best serve a student’s needs and abilities in the future. The college counselors would welcome the opportunity to sit with your family and discuss what classes or subjects can benefit a student the most as well as best prepare them for the future. College applications will not be a focal point of these meetings as we do that during the fall of junior year and requirements can change year to year, but we will include the information when beneficial and necessary. You can schedule a meeting during your student's study hall or after school in February and March using this link: https://calendly.com/gwacollegecounselors/9th-10th-academic-consultations


For Middle School Parents: The College Counseling office is happy to announce meetings for our middle school parents! We will be hosting small groups to present information on the Academy's College Counseling program, high school graduation plans, the college search process, and much more. We are offering two morning and two evening sessions. Sessions are limited by size to allow for social distancing. Parents are encouraged to register for a meeting through the following link: https://calendly.com/gwa-college-admin/ms-college-chats

  • Tuesday, February 23, at 8:15 am
  • Thursday, February 25, at 6 pm
  • Tuesday, March 23, at 6 pm
  • Thursday, March 25, at 8:15 am

Please contact Laura Nabors, Associate Director of College Counseling, at lnabors@gwa.com with any questions.

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Click HERE for more information about Dawgs Unleashed!
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Salamandra’s Kitchen is proud to serve our GWA community by offering a boxed lunch program – available by pre-order for grades K4 through 12 as well as faculty and staff. Please print, complete, and turn in your order form with payment (made directly to Salamandra’s) to the front office by the Thursday before the start of the new menu. Menus are updated every two weeks.


To avoid food waste, – please email leslie@salamandraskitchen.com by 9 a.m. if your child is absent on a day in which you have ordered a lunch. You will receive credit for that day.


New lunch menus will be posted every two weeks at http://www.gwa.com/campus-life/lunchmenu.cfm and no longer be sent via email. Click HERE for current lunch menu. Orders will be due on Thursday, Feb. 11.


Please contact Leslie McDowell with any questions at 404-759-3177 or email leslie@salamandraskitchen.com.

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Share the Warmth

What you can spare, they can wear! The GWA Interact Club is hosting a winter clothing drive through Feb. 26 to help share the warmth with the Atlanta homeless population. Drop off your gently used items (coats, rain jackets, sweaters, pants, socks, gloves, beanies, blankets) in Mr. Reagan's room in the Fine Arts building, at a designated "Winter Clothing Drive" box located around the main building and in the Lower School library.
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Join us for a two-day mini camp all about playing the piano! If your child has been interested in playing, but you can’t seem to find time in your busy schedule to try it out, here’s your chance!

During this camp, students will learn piano basics, play fun music games, and even end the event with a performance for parents. Questions? Contact Corrie Beth Noll at cnoll@gwa.com

To register : https://forms.gle/6FEAZrXSjfdqVour8

Upon registration, you will be sent information regarding payment.

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Willco Electric Company. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.
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