In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

July 30, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Fall Sports Picture Days: Aug. 5 & 6 (coaches will provide details)
  • Bulldog Bonanza: Aug. 5 & 6 - see details below
  • Campus Clean Up Day: Aug. 8
  • COVID Community Commitment Form Due: Aug. 12
  • Dawg Shop Hours: Aug. 10 -14 (9 a.m. - 2 p.m.)
  • Lower School Open House: Aug. 17 (sign up required)
  • New Student Orientation: Aug. 17 (sign up required)
  • Mandatory Senior/Parent College Info. Meetings: Aug. 17 (details coming)
  • Senior BBQ: Aug. 18
  • First Day of School (all grades): Aug. 19
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A Time for Celebration

On a very warm and sunny July morning, members of the Class of 2020 completed theIr final chapter in their GWA story with an outdoor graduation before families and friends. The event was in keeping with the anomaly that has been their senior year. Attendees were limited, chairs were spaced for physical distancing, many grads donned masks throughout the ceremony and the event was streamed live on YouTube. However, the excitement and sense of pride for this fine group of young men and women were not diminished. Our community celebrated graduates who have shown perseverance, patience, grace, and optimism throughout the challenges presented by the pandemic and their achievements speak further to their talent and hard work, including:

  • Class of 2020 grads earned just under $4 million in college scholarships
  • 100% of graduates have been accepted to four-year colleges
  • 88% pre-qualified for the HOPE or Zell Miller scholarships
  • 44 graduated with honors
  • Five have received college athletic scholarships
  • Two have been awarded college music scholarships
  • All-State recognition was earned by two for athletics, two for literary and one for music

Congratulations to the GWA Class of 2020, to valedictorian and Hearn Medallion recipient Spring Rawl, and to salutatorian Jenna Lo! We look forward to following your success in college and we wish you all good things in life. Go Bulldogs!

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Staying #GWAStrong on Campus

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to campus in just a few short weeks. We have carefully developed a back to campus plan to provide a safe and healthy environment for all of our students, teachers, and staff. A vital component of that plan includes the COVID Community Commitment form that each family signs and submits in support of these efforts. If you have not already submitted your form - please go to ParentsWeb/Resource Documents to print and sign the form. Send to Vickie Rollins ( or drop off in the front office by Aug.12. Once the form has been received, we will mail a back to school packet to your family.

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The 411 on Face Coverings

We require all adults and students (second -12 grade) to wear face coverings while on campus indoors as well as outdoors when social distancing is not an option. Students in Pre-K3 through first grade are encouraged to wear face coverings. Please note that some fabric face coverings are not effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, all face coverings need to be appropriate.


· Cloth masks

· Neck gaiters

· Any color

· Sports teams

Not okay:

· Bandanas

· Anything with holes

· Things that have political messages or words/phrases will not be allowed

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Aftercare Updates

GWA will continue to offer an aftercare program for students K4 through eighth grade each regular school day from 3:15 p.m. - 6 p.m. (middle school runs until 5:30 p.m.). Students in K4 - second grade will remain in the kindergarten building, third - fifth grade students will have activities in the cafeteria and middle schoolers will be in The Commons. Outdoor spaces will also be utilized for our younger students. Beyond the Bell classes will be limited in size and dance classes will resume in the spring. For complete details and sign up forms, please click HERE.
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Making the Most of Charitable Efforts

Each year, the school is approached by a dozen or more reputable charities requesting we support their efforts. As much as we would like to partner with each one, we just don’t have the bandwidth to do so effectively.

That said:

  • Caring for others is fundamental to an organization such as ours.
  • We believe it's important for our students to understand their efforts can impact our local community and even change the world.
  • Championing a cause provides tremendous leadership opportunities and enables us to live our mission by providing "engaging experiences" and "inspiring lives of purpose."



George Walton Academy provides challenging instruction, engaging experiences, and global perspectives designed to inspire lives of intellectual curiosity, integrity, and purpose.

It is important that these partnerships are both meaningful to and led by our students and families. Please see below the process to submit an organization for partnership:

  • Any student (or team of students) is invited to present a cause that is important to him or her (no age restriction).
  • The target audience will be faculty and staff with presentations held in late August.
  • Presentations should last no longer than 10 minutes.
  • To schedule a presentation, contact Ashley Short at
  • The target must be a 501(c)(3) charity.
  • A committee of faculty and staff will recommend one or two charities that the school will support for the upcoming year.

The Academy's support may include:

  • Providing needed volunteers.
  • A limited number of mailings and/or communications to GWA families.
  • Guidance / oversight of the student efforts to support the cause.
  • Use of our facilities to support an event or host meetings.

Last year we enjoyed a successful partnership with Folds of Honor, Extra Special People and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We look forward to another great year of charitable efforts!

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Your Participation Matters More Than Ever!

Did you know through the Georgia Private School Tax Credit law, you can designate some of the taxes you must pay anyway, to provide tuition assistance for qualifying students seeking a GWA education? In exchange for your contribution to the GOAL Scholarship Program, you will receive a 100% Georgia income tax credit. However, the $100 million dollar state-wide cap for 2020 is going fast, and only about $12 million in tax credits remain available; and independent schools all across the state are vying for these funds. Please help us secure some of the remaining funds for GWA students by taking just 20 seconds to apply for a state tax credit at GOAL will submit your application to the Georgia Department of Revenue (DOR). No further action is required until your payment is due within 60 days following DOR approval or by the end of the calendar year, whichever is sooner. It’s a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, so you see every dollar back when you file your 2020 taxes. Thank you in advance for your important participation. Please contact Tara Gill or Jenni Cole with any questions at or

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Welcome Dr. Nathan Hutcheson

Please join us in welcoming 2003 alumnus Dr. Nathan Hutcheson as GWA’s new biology and physics teacher. Nathan has an impressive list of academic achievements including:

  • Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Graduate Biomedical Science and Neuroscience, Howard Hughes Fellowship, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Bachelor of Science in Biology, Emory University

“I started my academic career pursuing biomedical research involving psychiatric neuroimaging of patients with schizophrenia and anxiety conditions,” said Nathan. “Following my post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA, I accepted a position as a professional medical writer in Atlanta.”

Most recently, Nathan has been teaching biology courses at Emory University and Georgia State University.

“I am excited to return to my alma mater to help the current student body excel in biology and physics. Also, I'm looking forward to encouraging my students to get excited about the sciences and appreciate that science is for everyone, not just scientists. I think that being an alumnus adds a dimension to being an instructor. While teaching, I will be thinking of the way my own GWA teachers fostered my interest in the sciences.“

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Fall Sports Pictures Next Week!

Aug. 5 – 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Middle and High School Sports*

Aug. 6 - 4 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Youth Sports*

*Coaches will provide players with times and details.

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Claim Your 2020 Yearbook

We still have some yearbooks up in the front office that not been picked up yet. Please make sure to get them soon! We need to clear out this space before school starts! Stop by the front office during our summer office hours, Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. to pick up.

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Bulldog Bonanza is Back!

Mark your calendar for our upcoming Bulldog Bonanza! This event is a great opportunity to get an early start on the school year and it also coincides with Fall Sports Picture Days on August 5 and 6. Dawgs 360 will offer a gently used uniform sale and membership sign ups for the new school year from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on August 5 and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on August 6 in the cafeteria. The Dawg Shop will be open (in the cafeteria) during this time with new spirit wear and uniform items. If you would like to donate uniforms prior to the sale, please contact Elizabeth McDonel at for more information.

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Join Dawgs 360!

Dawgs 360 supports all aspects – or the full circle – of Bulldog student life. The organization was created to engage the entire school community and benefits the student experience at all grade levels.

A family membership to the organization is $100 annually and Dawgs 360 member families enjoy:

*Admission to all concerts, plays, and performances

*Admission to all home athletic competitions, except playoffs

*Field trips, for both the student and the member chaperone (overnight field trips require additional fee and field trips will be limited this year)

*Class parties

*10% discount on all regular-priced apparel items at the Dawg Shop

Additionally, Dawgs 360 is simply the best way to get involved at GWA! It is the clearinghouse for all volunteer opportunities on campus. It’s a 360 degree turn, a full circle of influence that promotes and celebrates Bulldog school pride. Dawgs 360 dues go directly to funding student life opportunities.

We encourage parents to become involved in our GWA community. Attending events and volunteering are great ways to meet other parents, interact with students and collaborate with GWA faculty. There’s no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together.

Email Elizabeth McDonel, Director of Dawgs 360, at if you’re interested in volunteering as part of Dawgs 360 or if you have any questions. Click HERE for application form and more details.

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Mark Your Calendar!

Campus Clean Up is Saturday, August 8 at 9 a.m. The campus is looking great and we are gearing up for the new school year! Please join us for our annual Campus Clean Up as we knock out the final sprucing up of campus. Along with extra hands, we need a few rakes, shovels, leaf blowers and a couple of pressure washers for the playground on the hill. Please RSVP at and don’t forget your mask and gloves!

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