In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

December 6, 2018

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Christmas Tree Presentation: Dec. 7
  • Arsenic and Old Lace Theater Performance: Dec. 7 & 8
  • Tennis Parent Meeting: Dec. 10
  • Chorus Christmas Concert: Dec. 11
  • Auditions for Spring Musical: Dec. 12 & 13
  • Band Christmas Concert: Dec. 13
  • Yearbook Deadline: Dec. 21
  • Early Dismissal: Dec. 21
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Living Out Our School's Mission

By Our Fourth and Fifth Grade Teachers

Living Out Our School’s Mission

By Our Fourth and Fifth Grade Teachers

As George Walton Academy teachers, it is our mission to provide challenging instruction, engaging experiences, and global perspectives. This school year, we have been given the opportunity to receive coaching from an outside, premier organization to broaden our instructional strategies and encourage our students to reimagine learning. Through this partnership, we aim to globalize our teaching practices and create student-centered projects. Each grade began their project by developing a driving question. Students took this driving question and prior content knowledge and began to take responsibility for their learning by planning ahead and visualizing their individual and group projects. Read more.

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Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet. But only 35% of all high schools teach computer science. The good news is, we’re on our way to change this! If you've heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history - more than 100 million students around the world have tried an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is part of a global movement to promote computer science and programming in schools all over the world and GWA is making the most of the opportunity! Read more.

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Let's hear it for another exceptional group of young readers who had the highest number of Accelerated Reader points for the month of November: Addie Trinh and Benton Yeater (first grade), Ryver Bailey and Caleb Eubank (second grade), Landry Atkinson and Oliver Reid (third grade), Peyton Wilson and Phillip Akin (fourth grade), and Maddie Garrett and Maisen Rogers (fifth grade). Monthly winners’ names are displayed on a certificate in the LS Library and on the LS Library Blog each month ( We are proud of their hard work and enthusiasm!

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This Just In...

The GWA broadcast journalism class had the opportunity to tour the Fox 5 News Studio in Atlanta. Students sat in the studio during the live noon broadcast, tried out the teleprompter, as well as the green screen, and heard helpful advice for pursuing careers in the news industry from Joanne Feldman and Portia Bruner.
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Seeing for Themselves

Our fourth graders have been busy during the month of November attending field trips that enhance our curriculum. The social studies curriculum centers on early American history and building our country. At the beginning of the month, students attended a Native American Pow Wow festival at Stone Mountain where they enjoyed a firsthand look at Native American ways of life. Students and teachers recently returned from a trip to Saint Augustine, Florida (our country’s oldest settlement) where they were able to see and experience things they had just read about. They visited the Castillo de San Marcos which is the fort established by the Spanish and The Fountain of Youth. They also took a historic tour of the old city - and for a little fun - were commandeered by pirates for dinner.

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The Trip of A Lifetime with GWA

The trip begins in Quito, Ecuador, and moves to the Galapagos Islands, off the coast of South America. Students in grades nine through 12 are eligible & parents are welcome to travel! Read more.

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Eighth Graders Taking Their First Exams!

By: Lynn Robinson, Director of Counseling Services and Middle and Upper School Counselor

Eighth grade is an important year. Eighth graders are taking more sophisticated courses and are learning more sophisticated ways of thinking and studying. They are learning what it takes to make it in high school. During the week of Monday, Dec. 17, our eighth graders will be doing something that is very “high school.” They will take semester exams. One of my former students referred in jest to exams as “the semi-annual alien mind probes.” In a way, she wasn’t that far off the mark (not about the alien part). On an exam, a teacher is probing the student’s mind to see how much he has retained of the content and skill taught throughout the semester. Read more.

Career Day Volunteers Needed

The College Counseling Department is seeking professionals who are interested in speaking to students about their careers. If you are available to volunteer on March 15, 2019 from 12 to 3:30 p.m. please contact Mr. Michael Clancy at Our students could greatly benefit from your expertise, experience and knowledge- so please consider joining us!
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A Very "Sweet" Christmas Indeed!

It was a holly jolly evening as we celebrated our first Gingerbread Christmas on campus. Families enjoyed photos with Santa, smores, reindeer games, music, festive decor, and plenty of fun! The evening concluded with a devotional and tree lighting, with Coach Whitley singing a touching rendition of “Mary Did You Know.” Thank you to the faculty, staff, parents, friends, and Santa for helping make this a special evening! Click here for photos with Santa. Password - GWAChristmas18*

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Congratulations to our Gingerbread House Contest Winners:

Junior Division

1st Place – Barry Kate Huene with Reindeer Games

2nd Place – Anna Swope with It’s A Small World

Adult Division

1st Place – Cortney Pickens with Christmas in Surrey

2nd Place – Ashley Short with Santa’s Journey Around the World

Group / Family Division

1st Place – Coach Shelnutt & Family with A German Village Chapel at Christmas

2nd Place – Mark & Morgan Staples with the Gum Drops

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Decking the Halls for Denim

This year, all of the GWA buildings and halls were decorated for the Deck the Halls for Denim contest. Congratulations to fifth grade for winning with their Christmas Vacation-themed hall. Their success means all of Lower School, including teachers, may wear denim starting on December 10 for two weeks. Because of such an impressive school-wide effort, middle and upper school students may wear denim beginning December 10 for one week. Students are still expected to be in dress code tops, and jeans must not have holes. Middle and Upper School are invited to wear a tacky Christmas sweater and Lower School is invited to wear Polar Express P.J.s to school on Friday, Dec. 14.

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GWA Float Wowing the Christmas Crowds

Come out and share some Christmas cheer with us tonight at 6:30 p.m. for the 65th annual downtown Monroe Christmas Parade! Our award-winning gingerbread dawg house will also be appearing in the following parades, so mark your calendar:

Monroe: Thursday, Dec. 6 @ 6 p.m.

Winder: Saturday, Dec. 8 @ 11 a.m.

Lawrenceville: Friday, Dec. 14 @ 7 p.m.

Covington: Saturday, Dec. 15 @ 10 a.m.

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Tis the Season for Tinsel and Trees

Thank you to our wonderful Dawgs 360 families who helped us spread Christmas cheer by decorating our trees on campus! There were so many that we couldn't feature them all here so we invite you to tour the lobby and courtyard to see their creative and fun designs. They went all out to help GWA celebrate this merriest of seasons. We are grateful for the willingness of our families and students to volunteer and give their time and talents to help GWA celebrate the Christmas holiday.
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And Speaking of Trees...

Don't miss the heartwarming, beloved tradition of the seniors presenting their custom-decorated trees to their first graders this Friday at 9 a.m. in the Nicholson Center. There will be plenty of festive fun including the always-popular singing by the crowd of the "12 Days of Christmas!"
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EmPOWERing Education

A big thank you to Walton EMC for the School EmPOWERment Grant delivered by their CFO Marsha Shumate (far left) and Youth and Community Specialist Kathy Ivie (far right) earlier this week. GWA is thrilled to receive this grant for science department upgrades. A special thanks to Director of Advancement Jeanie Beach for her work in acquiring this grant!
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GWA Knows How to Throw an "Extravagant" Party

It was a night of fun and games at the Bulldog Basketball Extravaganza. GWA swept Providence Christian, the students turned out, and Santa was in the house! Thank you to our guest vocalist, junior Emma Boyer, and to our sponsor Stacy McCullers of Malcom & Malcom Realty.

And the fun has just begun! Please plan on kicking off the holiday season watching our two basketball teams, the Lady Dawgs at 6 p.m. and Dawgs at 7:30 pm., on Friday, Dec. 21. If at least 100 students sign in with Elizabeth McDonel at the Nicholson Center prior to 6 p.m., all varsity coaches will take a pie in the face at the next pep rally!

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Congratulations to the Brady family - our latest winners of the #gwaproud contest. Thank you for showing your Bulldog pride when out and about in our community! Justin, Mikelle, Amelia and Gibson are new to the Academy this year and we are thrilled to welcome them to the GWA family. They won just by sharing their photo on Facebook...but we also want to express our gratitude to Justin for sharing his family's GWA story on social media. Read post here.

We love seeing our parents, students and teachers wearing their GWA apparel around town (or even on vacation!) - so we encourage you to don your Bulldog best, take a selfie, tag it #gwaproud, share it on social media, and you might just be our next winner!

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Just in Time for Christmas

All spirit wear in the Dawg Shop is currently on sale at 40% off the original price! The discounted price for Dawgs 360 members is 50% off the original price. The sale runs through December 21 and quantities are limited. Stop by and check out the new arrivals, too!

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Comedy with a Twist

GWA Theater Arts is pleased to present “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Our talented actors will tell the story of a drama critic who learns some surprising news (on his wedding day) about his seemingly sweet elderly aunts. Shows will be presented Friday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. in the GWA auditorium. Admission is free. Hope to see you there!
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Debut Dance Dazzles

Our new GWA dance department presented their original production of “The Nightmare Before Nutcracker”- combining ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and modern dance in a stunning display of theatrical collaboration and artistry. The reviews are in and the crowd was very impressed with the talent displayed by the dancers in their very first year of our new program. Congratulations to all the students and dance program director Genie Wiggins!
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Click here for photos with Santa from Gingerbread Christmas!

Password - GWAChristmas18*

And GWA is pleased to share the wonderful photos taken by yearbook advisor Liz Jones. Here is a link . Password: gwadawgs2019. You may have to enter the password to get into the main folder and then again for each gallery. Feel free to download and share her pictures!

Also, don’t forget to buy a yearbook! You can order one here or send a check made out to GWA ($75 per book - deadline Dec. 21) to Liz Jones in the front office. Don’t forget to include your child’s name, grade and homeroom.

And if you have any questions regarding school photography, please contact our school photographer, Elena De La Rosa at or give her a call at 770-861-5890.

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Bulldog Wrestlers Impress Against Formidable Foes

GWA wrestlers began the 2018-19 season Thanksgiving week at Grayson High School’s Frida’s Duals defeating 7A Grayson to finish the day 1-3. The team was able to cover only eight of the 14 weight classes. Freshman Angus Bateman and Juniors Chris Sperin and Beau Mitchell were all undefeated at the event. Bulldog wrestlers represented GWA again on Dec. 1 at Walton High School. The Bulldogs beat 7A Hillgrove High to take sixth place in the Walton Duals. Juniors Beau Mitchell and Patrick Morris were undefeated at the tournament.

This weekend the Bulldogs will have their first opportunity to compete individually at the South Forsyth Santa Slam. This 34 team varsity tournament is one of the most competitive of the season with George Walton Academy listed as one of only a handful of Single-A teams participating.

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A Passion for Pizza

Congratulations to alumni Ross Bradley (’07) and Andrew Williams (’08) on the opening of their third Your Pie location. Their third location is located right in the heart of downtown Monroe on Broad street. Haven't tried Your Pie yet? These experts believe pizza is an art, not a science, and invite everyone to experience the difference that craftsmanship and a deep passion for tradition can make.

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