In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

April 23, 2020

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Award Season is Quickly Approaching!

After last school year’s award season, a committee and Dr. Dolan looked at the way we organize and honor our students. This past October, Dr. Dolan rolled out the new criteria in an e-mail for Best of the Best, Honor Roll and Head of School’s List. The new criteria for each of the awards is listed below:


Changes to the Requirements for Best of the Best

Historically, the Best of the Best has been tied to a certain GPA. Beginning this award season, the ten (10) highest GPAs of each upper school class will be recognized. Additionally, students who earn All-State designation will be recognized as Best of the Best. Students who achieve the Best of the Best award will receive an academic letter their first year and a pin for each subsequent year the award is earned.


Changes to the Requirements for Honor Roll and Head of School’s List

Students who earn a cumulative GPA of 90 – 94 will be recognized as an Honor Roll student. Students who earn a cumulative GPA of 95 – 100 will be recognized as a Head of School’s List recipient. (Students earning 94.6-94.99 will be rounded up to 95.)


We are currently working on our plan to announce these awards and will provide information as soon as it becomes available.

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It's Almost Showtime!

The many entries we received for our first-ever GWA digital talent show did not disappoint! Be sure to check out the trailer below for a sneak peek at the talented performances and mark your calendar for April 30 when The Dawg Show will be coming to a computer screen near you!
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Brody Lindsey is Student of the Month

Brody Lindsey has been named Rotary Student of the Month for April. He has chosen Christian Smith as Rotary Teacher of the Month. Brody is a member of National Honor Society, Beta Club, Interact Club, Spanish Club, GMEA District and All-State Bands, and serves as GWA Marching Bulldog Band president. He also played varsity basketball and was named to All-Region track. Brody serves his community through his membership at Harmony Baptist Church and is a member of the Emory Youth Symphony Orchestra. Brody plans to attend Jacksonville State University in the fall and will major in music education. He looks forward to becoming an orchestral performer or educator.


Congratulations to Brody and Mr. Smith!

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For Rent Signs

Mrs. Gahan’s eighth grade ASL students are learning to sign new words through (hypothetical) real-life scenarios. She recently tasked them with describing an apartment to their college roommate as they plan to leave dorm life behind. They discussed the rent, described detailed floor plans, and covered the pros and cons of various floor plans.

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Observing Earth Day

Ms. Walker's seventh-grade Life Science students were given a "Human Impact Choice Board" as their assignment for #earthday. They had the option to choose one of nine assignments, ranging from filming a TikTok about human habits and recycling, to taking a nature hike and writing about observations, to doing chalk drawings around their neighborhood about Earth Day.

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Here to Help

Do you have a technology question or issue? Check out our new tech support page and the information it provides to help resolve the majority of issues experienced by students/families and teachers. If you need additional assistance, please email tech@gwa.com.

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Digital Daze

By Lynn Robinson, Director of School Counseling


So here we are in our fifth week of Digital Days, and I have noticed that many of us, me included, have gone into “Digital Daze.”[i] I think we are looking at some sort of phenomenon, one that we could not have imagined existed before now. We are exhausted from learning and living on-line. For some of us, we were originally enchanted by the idea of being at home and “going” to school without leaving the house, but now we see that working at home is just working without the fun of having our friends around us. And, we’ve learned the hard way that not getting out of our houses affects our mood and outlook. All of us are susceptible to this phenomenon, and we must battle the forces of digital daze.


Last Thursday, the International School Counselors Association sponsored a webinar focusing on how to deal with and beat digital daze. The presenters acknowledged that people do feel off their game when they are isolated from another and that people get tired from so much screen time, because we are meant to thrive around others. We have trouble concentrating and/or have no desire to do work.


The truth is we are nurtured by the presence of others, especially those people whom we enjoy their company. That’s what makes digital days so hard. We are not around our “nurturers.” We lose real face time, which is good for us. Scientists have done studies, and they have found that having eye-to-eye contact with another person is good for our souls. This is especially true for students.


So, what is the solution? Kevin Hawkins and Amy Burke, the webinar presenters, encouraged that we all get up, breathe deeply and move our bodies. They acknowledged that this solution seems simple, but really it is difficult, because digital daze makes us not want to do anything. Getting up and moving helps us breath more fully and breathing fully means we get more oxygen to our brains, and the more oxygen we have in our brains, the better we feel and the better our ability to concentrate. It helps us see what we need to get done and we are less likely to procrastinate.


Hang in there; you're not alone. When you're feeling off your game, simply get up and do some jumping jacks, walk the dog or some other movement, and BREATHE!


[i] Hawkins, K. & Burke. A. (2020). What Is Happening? Can Mindfulness Help in a Global Crisis. [Webinar]. International School Counselors Association.

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Don't Miss Our College Admissions Events!

By Jon Terrell, Director of College Counseling


The College Counseling Office had plans to host an Admissions College Panel on Monday, April 27, at 6:30 p.m. Six to eight colleges and universities in the southeast had graciously agreed to join us and inform our students and families not only about their respected institutions but also about the college admissions process in general. Unfortunately due to current circumstances, we had to cancel that event.


However, we have great news to share with you today! We figured if you can’t visit them, we will bring them to you! In addition to our upcoming events, UGA, Georgia Tech and Georgia State are hosting a virtual event TONIGHT. Please see the information below.


Georgia Tech, UGA, and Georgia State are hosting a virtual college admission discussion on Thursday, April 23, 2020, from 7 - 8 p.m. ET as part of the Peach State Tour! This conversation will cover a variety of topics surrounding the college admission application and review process, including:


  • The impact of COVID-19 on application review for campuses around the country.
  • The implications of test cancellations.
  • The ways colleges might consider no extra-curricular activities for this spring semester.


Please use this link to register for the event. Register now.


Beginning next week, we will be hosting a mini-series we like to call “The Ins and Outs of College Admissions” over the next few weeks. We are working to schedule individual sessions with each institution to cover general information, admission requirements, any changes due to COVID-19, scholarship information, etc. as well as be available for a Q & A session. All sessions will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will last roughly 30 minutes to an hour. We hope you can clear your schedule and join us! (Bad joke?) All high school students are encouraged to attend as well as their parents. We will require sophomores to attend at least three of these sessions as the Admissions College Panel was a required event.


Will we have every school your child is interested in? Unfortunately, no. Is that okay? Absolutely. One goal of ours is to expose and educate students to several different types of colleges and universities.


To give you an idea, here are our first four scheduled sessions.


  1. Tulane University from New, Orleans, Louisiana, on Tuesday, April 28, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
  2. Vanderbilt University from Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday, April 30 beginning at 6:30 p.m.
  3. Tuesday, May 5, is currently TBD with another email to follow up later this week (awaiting confirmation).
  4. Auburn University from Auburn, Alabama, on Thursday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m.


More events will follow in the upcoming weeks.

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Brady Napela to Cheer at YHC

Senior Brady Nalepa has recently signed to continue his education and cheer at Young Harris College. Congratulations and good luck, Brady!
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Baseball Senior Night

Join us in celebrating our senior varsity baseball players! The baseball coaches recently delivered signs, senior banners, and special gifts to their senior players. Despite these trying times- we celebrate the dedication, athletic ability, and success of these student athletes. Be sure to like us on Facebook where you will find a video of the senior night festivities. Congratulations to the players – Bryson Williams, Tommy King, Koby Dunn, Ben Howard, Eli Bowen and their families!

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Volleyball Sign Ups Begin

Calling all volleyball players – sign ups for all levels are open through May 22! Please click HERE to sign up and begin receiving information from coaches. If you have questions, feel free to contact Coach Amanda Riser.

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Artfully Done

Mrs. Carver’s lower school art students are busy creating interesting works of art at home and sharing them digitally via Seesaw. Third-grade students learned about the Spiral Jetty in Utah and set out to make their own spirals using nature-made or man-made objects. Check out the spirals created by Lily Menke (left) and Zoey Harris (right).


Fourth graders learned about a worm’s eye view in photography and captured great shots like the one taken by Sienna Riser of her dog and another by Maddux Lewis with a look up at a doorknob.

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

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