In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

February 20, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Counselor Chat Guest Speaker: Tonight at 6:30 p.m.
  • MS Dance: Feb. 21
  • GWA Golden Gala: Feb. 22
  • Spring ACT: Feb. 25
  • Concerts in the Courtyard: Feb. 26
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48 Hours to Go Beyond!

You’ve heard me say it before. “It’s a great time to be a Bulldog!” But in our 50 year history, what makes this time so special? Interest continues to grow, enrollment is up, and attrition is down. The word is out: GWA is the place to be!


Our journey has not been without its setbacks, but we continue to move forward – to go beyond. I am writing today to ask those of you who haven’t had a chance to get involved in our Go Beyond campaign, to take a moment – this moment – to be a part of something great.

Our current effort to improve the student experience focuses on our facilities, but it represents so much more than brick and mortar. We are 50 years strong this year and we are laying a foundation to solidify GWA’s position as the leader in independent school education in the region.


Not long ago, we began a careful review of our people, programs, and facilities. We have grown from 25% of our faculty holding advanced degrees to 70%. Our academic and signature programs are unparalleled in the region. And we have improved every learning space on campus. Campus has never looked better! We have demonstrated that we are good stewards of the facilities in our care. We will never lose sight of the imperatives that exist in our classrooms, but we are proud to now Go Beyond!


This campaign will impact every student who attends GWA. Whether they are a musician, an artist, or an athlete, this campaign will expand their opportunities and enrich their experience. We aim to build a new gym, establish enhanced band facilities, and build a dance studio, choir room, and piano and guitar labs. We will refurbish our track, add bathrooms and concessions to the lower field, relocate two tennis courts, and add much-needed lighting.


We are so close to meeting our financial goal to make it all happen. For the next 48 hours, every donation will be matched. The time is now. We need your help. Please contact Jeanie Beach to make your pledge or donation today!


Dan

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Help GWA Go Beyond for Our Students

Gifts or pledges made by Saturday, Feb. 22 will be matched.

Click HERE to make your gift.

To make a pledge or ask a question, please contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or 770-714-6238.

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Going Global

Our Global Studies students shared their Winter Term experiences with their peers last week during flex block. They either traveled to Belize as part of the Global Health class or participated in global exchange with one of our partner schools in Barcelona, Spain or Metz, France. They spoke about their apprehensions prior to leaving for their trip, what a typical day was like, the places they visited and the people they met. All of the students encouraged their classmates to consider Global Studies and they were grateful for the experience to travel, learn and engage with people in other cultures.

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Come to our informational meeting to learn more about this incredible Global Studies opportunity on Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in The Commons. Please RSVP to Jessie Croft at jcroft@gwa.com.

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Are you interested in an immersive adventure trip to Costa Rica? There are still spots available for this Summer 2020 trip. The trip will include white water rafting, a cacao tour, zip lining, cooking lessons, a Costa Rican fiesta and many other adventures! The eight- day trip is sure to be a wonderful memory for years to come. Contact Señora McElveen at amcelveen@gwa.com for more details.

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Accelerated Readers

Our lower school students continue to achieve their grade level AR point goals! Congratulations to the following readers:

1st Grade: Tinsley Bowen, Maddie Brooks, Emma Potts, Dallin Peck

2nd Grade: Parker Wilson, Addie Trinh

3rd Grade: Ryver Bailey

4th Grade: Constance Trinh

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4-H Achievers

GWA was well-represented at last weekend’s Walton County 4-H District Project Achievement at Rock Eagle. Fifth grader London Lewis placed first in the category of Entomology with her presentation “Bee Kind.” Jon Brooks received a third-place ribbon for his presentation on Constantinople. Project Achievement gives students a great opportunity to research their topic of interest and a chance to develop public speaking skills. Great job, London and Jon!

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Spelling Bee Champs

Middle School students recently competed in the GWA Spelling Bee. After a run-off round and a tie-breaker, eighth grader Blakeney Sewell and sixth grader Journey Allen were selected to represent GWA in the next round of the GISA Spelling Bee at McGinnis Woods. Congratulations ladies and thanks for representing GWA.

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Got Books?

GWA student-led organizations – Interact Club, National Honor Society and Beta Club are partnering with nonprofit Books for Keeps ( http://booksforkeeps.org/) to collect books for elementary and middle school students in Athens-Clarke County. For each book donated, a student can send one free candygram to a friend! Books must be gently used.


When: Feb. 2 – Feb. 21. Candygrams will be delivered on Feb. 24.


Where: Drop off donations in the following classrooms-
Lower School: The rooms of Mrs. Hutter, Mrs. Scott, Mrs. Rawlins, Mrs. McDevitt
6th Grade: Mrs. Grimsley’s room
7th Grade: Mrs. Croker’s room
8th Grade: Mr. Griffin’s room
Upper School: 7:10 – 7:50 a.m. in the Commons or during lunch in the cafeteria.

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Celebrating Leap Year Birthdays

Was your child born on February 29? If so, please send your child's name, date of birth, grade and homeroom teacher's name to Christina Russell at crussell@gwa.com. We would love to get a photo of all our GWA leap year babies- including Director of Admissions Cari Bailey who will be celebrating her 12th birthday on February 29!
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Get Your Raffle Tickets!

Our Three Trip Raffle tickets are still on sale! TOMORROW, Friday, Feb. 21, at 3 p.m. is the last opportunity to enter the Three Trip Raffle if you are not attending the Golden Gala!


Click HERE to secure your tickets today. Quantities are limited.

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Have You Signed Up?

If you pay taxes annually, quarterly or through paycheck withholdings… you can redirect a portion of your taxes to GWA! By making a payment through GOAL, individuals and businesses can receive a 100% income tax credit back. See tax credit details here. Please contact Tara Gill at tgill@gwa.com in the Business Office to learn how you or your company can designate a portion of your tax liability to GWA and receive a dollar for dollar tax credit in return from the state.

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Mark Your Calendars! Spring Events for Everyone!


By Jon Terrell, Director of College Counseling

Sophomores; Open to all high school students:
On Monday, April 27, the College Counseling Office will be hosting a College Admissions Panel from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. on campus in the cafeteria. Sophomores – mark your calendars! This is a mandatory meeting for sophomores as we hope to kick off your high school college counseling experience with a wealth of knowledge and information from colleges themselves. We also encourage at least one parent to attend as well. Freshmen and juniors are also highly encouraged to attend.


Juniors & Seniors:
On Thursday, March 5, the College Counseling Office will be taking a field trip to the University of North Georgia (Dahlonega) for the day.
This field trip is open to seniors that have applied and all juniors. Sign up in the college office by Friday, February 28.


Freshmen, Sophomores, & Juniors:
On Sunday, March 15, the College Counseling Office will be taking a field trip to the Georgia International Convention Center which will be hosting the Spring Atlanta NACAC College Fair (https://www.nacacfairs.org/attend/national-college-fairs/atlanta-national-college-fair/) from 12:30 - 4:00 p.m. This is a tremendous opportunity for exposure to even more colleges nationwide, many of which are not able to visit GWA or the surrounding areas during the academic school year. There are currently around 200 different institutions registered to attend the event (visit this link to see registered schools: https://hub.nacacnet.org/CollegeFairDirectory?id=a0k1P000017XQk7QAG ).
This field trip is open to freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Sign up in the college office by Wednesday, February 11.

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The Truth About Vaping and Juuling

Please join us for Counselor Chats TONIGHT to learn the most up-to-date information on vaping and Juuling from Dr. Brian Dew. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Counseling and Psychological Services at Georgia State University. Dr. Dew’s research has focused on substance use, primarily on the topics of methamphetamine use and treatment, opioid use, and more recently, the use of vaping/e-cigarettes. This event is open to parents and students in middle and high school as well as the greater community - so invite your friends and neighbors!
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GWA Hosts Relay for Life

We invite our entire community to get involved with Relay for Life: volunteer, donate, honor a loved one affected by cancer and help raise awareness and funds to fight cancer. To be part of this life-changing event, please contact Director of Dawgs 360 Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com. Click HERE to access team registration.


Survivor Dinner:

GWA is partnering with First Baptist to host this special dinner on Friday, April 17. If you are a cancer survivor and/or know someone who is please fill out the FORM by April 1 to receive an invitation to dinner.


Dedicate a Luminaria:

Light up your community and honor every life touched by cancer. Dedicate a luminaria to a loved one lost, someone currently battling, or anyone who has overcome cancer. Dawgs 360 is selling luminaria bags with all proceeds going to American Cancer at the price of two for $10.00. If you are interested contact Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com for more information. If you would like a student from our art department to decorate your bag for you, please let her know. Please click HERE for the order form.

Volunteer:

We are in need of 100 volunteers in different areas, from unloading to loading tents, traffic marshalls, joining GWA Relay Team, helping at the survivor dinner, as well as providing and driving golf carts! If you are interested, please email emcdonel@gwa.com.

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Tickets For Sale

Stop by the Dawgs 360 house to purchase tickets for the upcoming Daddy Daughter Dance, sponsored by the Monroe Rotary Club.
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Flagfest is February 22!

GWA Flagfest will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Learn to dance, spin flag, spin rifle and perform with us. ALL students (guys and girls) from grades 1-11 welcome

  • Register on site in the Nicholson Center.
  • Wear comfortable athletic clothes and tennis shoes. No experience is necessary.


We look forward to seeing you in the Nicholson Center on February 22 at 10 a.m.!

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Rehearsals Underway for Annie, Jr.

Mark your calendar and join us for the upcoming middle school theatre production of Annie, Jr. Shows will run on the following dates in the Lower Gym:


  • March 27 @ 7 p.m.
  • March 28 @ 7 p.m.
  • March 29 @ 3 p.m.
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Top Dawgs!

For the first time in school history, George Walton Academy has TWO GHSA wrestling state champions. Chris Sperin at 145 and Patrick Morris at 170. Michael Dagenhart placed 5th at 152. GWA placed 6th. Congrats to coaches and wrestlers on a great season!
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Equestrian Rides at Region Finals

The GWA equestrian team had a great showing at Region Finals last Saturday! Josie Evans, Sarah Blackstone and Hailey Wudtke qualified for Zones. Hudson Geoffroy was named high point rider for the Region in his over fences division and the high school team won the Reserve Championship, barely missing out on a trip to Zones! Congrats, GWA riders and good luck at Zone Finals!

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Major Success

GWA majorettes WIN BIG at Disney’s Twirl Mania! Our varsity twirlers win 1st place Team Twirl Mania and 1st place Halftime Show! Individual wins include:


  • Callie Carper – 1st Beginner Miss Twirl Mania (ages 10-11), 1st Preteen Twirl Maniac Challenge, 1st Beginner Strut
  • MaKayla Briscoe – 6th Place Beginner Miss Twirl Mania (ages 12-13)
  • Cheyanne Romer – 2nd Marching
  • Payton Stone – 1st Intermediate Jr. Miss and 1st Intermediate Jr. Strut
  • Morgan Green – 3rd Intermediate Jr. Miss Twirl Mania
  • Catherine Atkinson and Payton Stone – 1st Place Duet
  • Taylor Grossman – 1st Place 3-Baton, Mickey Mousecar Winner


Congratulations to our amazing majorettes, their coach, Candy Byrd Miller, and GWA Majorette Coordinator Jere Lin Hutter, on an incredible showing at Disney’s Twirl Mania!

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Youth Cheer Information

There will be a youth cheer uniform drop off March 17 and March 19 from 2:30-3:15 p.m. in the Nicholson Center concession area for used youth cheer uniforms. Parents can bring their used uniforms that are too small for their daughter or that they simply don't want anymore to Michelle Bowen during car pool on these dates. They need to be in a bag that is labeled with their name and contact. We will sell them at registration on 3/23 and 3/26 for $45. Money will be collected at registration and given to the seller.


Youth cheer sign ups will be March 23 from 3:30-5 p.m. in the cafeteria and March 26 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. Registration for youth cheer will be $75. Checks can be made out to GWA.

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Be in the Know!

GWA spring sports are in full swing! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events. Go Bulldogs!

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Calling All Alumni!

GWA Alumni - we want to hear from you! We are currently gathering alumni information for our upcoming Bulldog Magazine and we are looking forward to publishing a comprehensive “Alumni Roll Call.” Please complete the short survey HERE and let us know what’s new in your life! Our Advancement department interns, Patrick Morris (’20) and Ben Howard (’20), have been tasked with making this effort a success and we hope to gather more great information on our alumni than ever before. Be sure to follow us on Instagram @georgewaltonalumni and join our George Walton Academy Alumni group on Facebook as Patrick and Ben have taken to social media for their endeavor. The survey will be active through Feb. 28. Anyone who completes the survey will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card!

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The Alumni Challenge To Help GWA Go Beyond

Can you spare $10 a month for the next 10 months? For the price of a fast food meal, you can help GWA provide the best spaces to our students with the creation of the Christian Smith Band and Performing Arts Rehearsal Center, the building of a new gym with dedicated space for wrestling and cheer, and upgrades to our lower fields. Best of all, if you make a commitment to this campaign by this Saturday (Feb. 22) your gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar!


We are in the final three days for the alumni challenge for our Go Beyond Campaign. You can make a gift online and set up monthly payments for the next 10 months and make your impact on our school. If every alumni made a gift of $100, we could raise $222,900 and with the match = $445,800 for the school. Please consider supporting this vital campaign. For basically the price of one lunch a month for the next 10 months, you can make a real impact on our students AND help strengthen our school!


Please go online HERE to make your gift (don’t forget, you can set up a reoccurring payments).

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

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