In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

March 31, 2022

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Spring Break: April 4-8
  • School Holiday: Good Friday, April 15
  • Aladdin: April 21 & 22
  • Cinderella: April 28 & 29
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Up in Flames

After completing their arson unit, Coach Jackson's Forensics students were tasked with creating a structure and a storyline on why their structure was burned down. Next, they set their designs on fire, documenting and observing the behavior of the fire and the state of the building as it burned. Finally, the students will investigate photos and the remains from the burn and work to determine the cause of the fire.
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Award-Winning Essays

Congratulations to our three grade-level winners in the Georgia Rotary Club Laws of Life 2021-2022 Essay Contest: school-wide and ninth-grade winner McKenna Rutledge, tenth-grade winner Emily Arenas, and eleventh-grade winner Emmie Carter. They will receive medals and monetary awards for their winning essays.

The Georgia Rotary Club Laws of Life 2021-2022 Essay Contest is the Rotary’s signature program that places emphasis on ethics, education, peace, and literacy in the classroom. The contest encourages students to select a “law of life,” or motto, reflect upon their lives, and express their personal beliefs through writing.

We would also like to congratulate the following students for their honorable mention recognition and hard work:

12th Grade: Allison Carter, Ana Cordero, Emmie Mitchell, and Matthew Lazenby

11th Grade: Brandon Berenguer, Calan Fortunat, Christian Hansen, and Kelsey Gasaway

10th Grade: Alek Spoon, Allie Marler, Jordan Smothers, and Nicole Volk

9th Grade: Audrey Doppelheuer, Emerson Sheldon, Hayden Byers, and Lexi Bond

Pictured above: Emmie Carter, McKenna Rutledge, and Emily Arenas

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Fifth-Grade Authors

As a culminating activity for their unit on fiction writing, Mrs. Gunnin’s fifth-grade students used an online site called Story Jumper to illustrate and publish their very first books. All the authors were given the task to write a story that a young child would enjoy reading and their creativity soared! They wrote, edited, and revised their story and then created a book digitally. Some students chose to illustrate their pages with their own artwork or photos they found on the site. Students even recorded their voices narrating their story which can be accessed by a QR Code while you read the book itself. They shared these books with their K5 “book buddies” and then with the current fourth graders who were able to get a preview of what they will do next year.

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Important Work

Pre-K3 is learning the importance of our community helpers. They have been associating people in our lives with their very important jobs and how they help us each day. On Tuesday, students visited with our School Resource Officer Joey Holliday (City of Monroe Police Department) and learned all about his vehicle and how he keeps us safe. Penny Beaulieu said, “I feel safe every day on the school playground because Officer Holliday is there to help me if I need him.”
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Congrats, Blakeney Sewell!

George Walton Academy is pleased to announce Blakeney Sewell has been selected as a 2022 Governor’s Honors Program finalist in Music (Brass).

GHP is a prestigious and competitive summer program that gives participants the opportunity to spend four weeks at Berry College with other gifted and talented Georgia high school students while working on instructional and cultural enrichment activities.

GWA Director of Bands Christian Smith commented, “We are so excited and proud of Blakeney in making GHP this year! She is a tremendous talent and has an amazing work ethic that has really led her to achieve so many great opportunities this year. Blakeney also was 2nd chair French horn in this year's Georgia All-State Band. Her hard work and dedication are really paying off and I know she will do a great job representing GWA and our band this year at GHP.”

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Straight From the Source

By Laura Nabors

Six college admission counselors gathered Thursday evening in the Nicholson Center for our College Panel program. An audience of upper school students and parents heard straight from the source - Mercer University, Mississippi State University, Oglethorpe University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Georgia, and Valdosta State University - about common topics and trends in the college search and application process. They discussed each school's enrollment size, admission requirements, strategies for essays and scholarships, and common myths related to admissions. It was an informative evening that we will host again next spring with at least six different schools in attendance.

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Simon Says… Set a Good Example

By Lindsey Bailey

Have you ever played Simon Says? The basic goal is to only follow the actions given by the leader or Simon when they say “Simon says…” This gets tricky when Simon also acts out every command he or she gives. For example, I was playing with some kids yesterday, and I was Simon. I said “Touch your toes” as I touched my toes. Most of them immediately touched their toes even though I didn’t say “Simon says…” Their brains had to work so hard to process that they should NOT always do what they saw me do. The same goes for everyday life. When kids see us do something, they want to do it too, even if it goes against what we tell them. We have a greater influence than we realize, and this isn’t just for young children. Teens are watching the adults in their lives, too. So don’t just tell your kids what to do. Show them, and they will almost always follow your example, whether you know it or not. Simon says… model the behavior you want to see because those behaviors become habits, and those habits develop character.

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Signing Day

Noah Hicks will continue his studies and basketball career at California Institue of Technology in Pasadena, California. He plans to major in data science. We wish Noah all the best and much success at Caltech!
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Cheer on GWA Tennis Today!

Come out to celebrate our seniors and support our tennis players as the (undefeated) girls' team looks for 1 seed ranking and the boys' team for 2 seed as they head into the Region tournament.
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Safe and Sound

Thanks to the generosity of our donors at the Lucky Dawg Gala, GWA is able to partner with Safe and Sound Technology to install a new state-of-the-art surveillance and access control system on campus. The equipment order has been placed and we look forward to having these enhancements in place for the next school year.

This project consists of 60+ security cameras powered by artificial intelligence, with an increased storage capacity and the ability to monitor areas of campus that we were previously missing. We will also install an access control system for not only the gates, but for every building on campus. Each building entrance will have magnetic locks that require badge readers for entry after school hours. These systems will communicate with each other and enable us to know who is coming and going. If needed, we will be able to take immediate action to lock all exterior doors with the simple push of a button.

Thank you to our donors for supporting our efforts to make GWA even more safe and secure!

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Make Plans for Summer Fun!

GWA activities don’t stop when the school year ends! Our camps begin May 30 and run through July 25. Check out the exciting camp offerings for Summer 2022!

Click HERE for complete details and registration. Please contact Ashley Kirkpatrick with any questions.

  • 3D Design with Mr. Gasaway
  • Basketball Skills Camp with Coach Lamonique and Coach Grace
  • Basketball w/ Coach Reynolds
  • Build the Future (3D city software) with Mr. Gasaway
  • Christmas in July Camp with Mrs. Scott
  • Cooking Camp with Mrs. Gervais
  • Craft Camp with Mrs. Scott
  • Crochet Camp with Mrs. Feinstein
  • Dot and Dash Robots with Mr. Gasaway
  • Draw, Paint, Create Art Hosted by The Sketch Pad
  • English SAT Prep Rising 11th – 12th grades
  • English SAT Prep Rising 9th – 10th grades
  • Flight 2050 (Learn about aviation) with Mr. Gasaway
  • Girl’s Youth Basketball with Coach Hines
  • LEGO Camp with Mrs. Power
  • Melty Bead Camp with Mrs. Scott
  • Minecraft and Video Game Camp with Mrs. Bellah
  • Mission to Mars with Mr. Gasaway
  • New London Driving classes
  • Outdoor Sports Camp with Ms. Shupe
  • Princess Camp with Mrs. Bellah
  • Reader’s Theater with Ms. Shupe
  • Soccer Camp with GWA Soccer Coaches and Players
  • Stay and Play with Ms. May (Offered all weeks camp is offered)
  • SUMO Robot Camp with Mr. Gasaway
  • Tennis Camp with Coach Chiara
  • Theater Basics Camp with Ms. Gerhardt
  • Wrestling Camp with Coach Sperin
  • Youth Football Camp with Coach Beer
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Getting Ready for Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2 - 6) is a special time to honor the individuals who lend their passion and skills to educating our children. We hope all GWA families are excited to recognize and show gratitude to our steller educators with special activities. We encourage you to thank our faculty by signing up to help with the following events - snacks for mailboxes, breakfast treats, desserts and in-kind donations.

It's easy to sign up - just click HERE and fill in an available slot. Questions? Please send them to Elizabeth McDonel, Dawgs 360 at Thank you!

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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Reliant Homes ( Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.
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