In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

October 31, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Yearbook Senior Page Deadline: Nov. 1
  • Fall Sports Senior Night: Nov. 1
  • Student Holiday: Nov. 4
  • Coffee with the Admin: Nov. 7 @ 8:15 a.m.
  • S'mores and More: Nov. 7
  • Upper School Play: Nov. 7 & 8
  • Veterans Day Program: Nov. 11 @ 9 a.m.
  • Counselor Chat Speaker: Nov. 21 @ 8:15 a.m.
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Art From the Heart

A selection from AP photography student Ana Cordero’s most recent portfolio will be on display at this year’s Veterans Day program. The latest prompt for AP photography was to capture a “Sense of Place”. Students were asked to think about how they fit into their environment and they could interpret this in many different ways. Ana chose to explore the flags that represent her family - demonstrating their diversity, dedication, and conviction. When asked what her inspiration was, Ana said, “My Veterans Day photos came from my passion for art and my respect for the cause. I grew up around veterans, so my decision to portray the honorable sacrifice in my photos was a choice that came from my heart.”


Ana added, “I struggled a lot in the beginning of the brainstorming process when I was first given the prompt of ‘Sense of Place.’ While I was throwing around ideas, a common theme that occurred was the flags that played a huge part in my upbringing. I had a structure built up around me from the moment I was born, and this structure is a huge part of who I am today. It was a great feeling that I was allowed to branch out from inside the box of ‘Sense of Place’ and was able to pursue a set of pictures that I am passionate about.”


Mr. Cole explained his thought process behind the assignment. “I believe that it is important to provide a prompt that gets the students to engage in self-reflection. The goal is to be flexible and allow students to explore and go beyond the obvious to find something that speaks to them. We went through several brainstorming conversations and a lot of uncertainty before we recognized all the connections that could be made between the flags of her family.”

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Jenna Lo is Student of the Month

Jenna Lo has been selected as Rotary Student of the Month for October. She chose Rachel Jackson as Rotary Teacher of the Month. Jenna has earned academic achievements including AP Scholar with Distinction, Georgia Certificate of Merit, 2019 Junior Fellow Scholar, Headmaster’s List and Best of the Best. She has participated in leadership programs such as HOBY (Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership) and the 2019 Apex Leadership Summit. Jenna is president of National Honor Society, editor in chief of the GWA yearbook and participates in Beta Club, Socratic Circle, and Gavel Club. She has received the President’s Volunteer Service Award (Bronze) and continues to serve her community through charity work and school events. While Jenna has taken on a challenging course load for her senior year, she is more focused on learning than getting the highest grade. Jenna explained, “While I am proud of these well-earned titles and accomplishments, I am prouder of the things I have learned these past four years that I believe define me more as a person.”

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Student-Inspired Design Defines New Writing Center

Be sure to stop by the newly designed GWA Writing Center the next time you visit campus. This space was created by students from inception to completion- a collaboration that has provided our students with an environment that offers a creative vibe. From fresh paint colors, handmade posters, and patterned pillows to the custom up cycled tables- made from gym floor scraps- the Writing Center is a place students will enjoy for years to come.
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Writing Center Provides Design Opportunity

By Steve Reagan, Fine Arts Teacher


The vision for this project was for students to develop a better understanding of design and how it applies to everyday life. For them to understand that visual arts is a catalyst to many creative fields that they may not know exist. It is important they understand that drawing skills are only one aspect of fine art and does not determine their ability to pursue a career in a particular field. Drawing can be learned; it is a skill like any other. Learning the elements of design- line, space, color, texture, etc. are relevant to many fields including engineering, architecture, graphic design, and interior design. Creating art allows you to observe the world around you more closely and understand how many parts come together to create an overall design. Every well-designed space has all the elements that were included in this project. Application is vital to a young person's learning.

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Signs of Learning

Mrs. Gahan’s ASL (American Sign Language) students are busy learning new signs for family members, clothing, money, colors and, just in time for Thanksgiving, they are starting a new unit on food. Both middle and upper school classes have already learned the American Pledge and signed for the GWA news broadcast. Middle school ASL students are looking forward to performing a song with the middle school chorus at the Christmas Tree Presentation in December. Mrs. Gahan’s curriculum also includes the history and culture of the Deaf community. She noted, “To become fluent in a language you have to understand the people who use it.”

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Hair-Raising Science Lesson

Mrs. Lovett’s fifth-grade class experimented with static electricity. They rubbed balloons on the carpet to build up negative charges on the balloon. Once the balloons were negatively charged, students placed them next to objects with a positive charge. Balloons stuck to paper, salt, cabinets, ping pong balls and their hair. The class learned that opposites attract- negative charges attract positive and electrons attract protons.

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Conflict and Bullying

By Lindsey Bailey, Lower School Counselor


October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In the lower school, we have been talking about bullying and other types of conflict as well as ways to respond in each situation. Students learn that it is ok to be mad but it is never ok to hurt others, ourselves, or property no matter how mad we feel. Instead we should try to be assertive problem solvers. Below are the four types of conflict we’ve learned about with some problem solving ideas. Conflict is a problem that never goes away, but we can empower our kids by teaching and modeling the skills to manage conflict in a healthy way. Take some time to share with your kids about the conflict you experience and how you handle it. Ask them about the conflict they experience and brainstorm ideas to help solve the problem. READ MORE...

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The senior page final deadline is TOMORROW! If you have questions, please click HERE for answers to some frequently asked questions.

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Sew Much to Learn

The Sewing Club is a new club started by Cortney Pickens and Rachel Jackson this year to teach GWA students the basic skills of sewing and to complete projects that will leave a lasting paw print on our community. Already our Sewing Club members have made pillows for the new Writing Center. During the course of the year, will complete a fun project for the Chili Cook Off and a Quilt of Valor to be presented to a veteran from our community at the 2020 Veterans Day Program.

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Please click HERE for details on exam week (12/16-12/20) - including dismissal times for all grades.
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Marching Band Performs at GSU

The GWA marching band had a fantastic showing at the 2nd Annual Georgia State Marching Band Competition. The guard and percussion scored 3rd place in their class, and 5th place overall! We are super proud of our guard for scoring the highest they have in over four years- outspinning groups over six times their size! The band placed 2nd in their class, division, and 4th overall! Other notable achievements were 1st place Field Winds Overall, and 2nd place Visual Ensemble Overall!


For the second year in a row a GWA student won the Conn-Selmer Outstanding Soloists Award! Senior, Brody Lindsey was awarded a round trip tour to the Conn-Selmer instrument factory in Indiana, money towards an instrument of his choice, and a scholarship to Georgia State University!

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GWA Drama Takes the Stage

The GWA Upper School Drama class competed in the Georgia High School Association 4A Private One Act Play Competition on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, performing The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). Our students performed along with five other schools. Two GWA students, Makena Helms and Dakarai Winters, received “All Star Cast” awards in recognition of outstanding performance.

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The George Walton Academy

School Counseling Department

has the pleasure of inviting you to hear

special guest speaker,

Lisa Boylan

as she discusses

Stress vs. Anxiety: Looking Beyond the Behavior

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019

at 8:15 a.m. in the Dawg 360 House


We live in a fast-paced, 24/7 world, and sometimes students, no matter what their age, find themselves overwhelmed, leaving them to feel stress or possibly anxious. The problem for parents and educators is that stress and anxiety have behavioral implications; so how do we look beyond the behaviors to help our student deal with the stress or anxiety?


Lisa Boylan, the Community Liaison for the Ridgeview Institute, will be at our next Counselor’s Chat to talk to us about recognizing behaviors your student might demonstrate while stressed or anxious and to provide suggestions on how to help your student cope with stress or anxiety in a healthy and positive way.

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Annual Loyalty Fund Supports Athletics

When you say “yes” to the Annual Loyalty Fund, you are supporting and encouraging the inception of increased athletic opportunities. Without the Fund, we would not be able to create new sports programs within our Athletic Department. With an emphasis on fostering positive relationships and mutual respect, encouraging personal responsibility and self-discipline, along with cultivating good sportsmanship, our athletic teams provide much more than a physical outlet for students.


Head Lacrosse Coach Scott Jackson is excited to share a bit about one of our newest athletic programs: READ MORE...

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Dawg Shop Updates

Check out the Dawg Shop for the latest in GWA spirit wear - including a graffiti-inspired t-shirt designed by French exchange student Axel Cantova. Also, just in time for Christmas, hand blown glass ornaments with our gold 50th anniversary logo have arrived. Hurry in! The quantities on these items are limited. For your convenience, the shop hours have been extended to Monday - Friday, 7:45 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
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Lady Dawgs Place Third at State!

Congratulations to the Lady Dawgs and their coaches on a great season! They finished with a 24-8 record and placed third in the state! Check our their impressive season stats:



Taylor Tinsley - 214 strikeouts in 141 innings pitched with a .546 ERA.

Caroline Conner - 77 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched with a 1.43 ERA. Also hit .292 with 22 RBI.


Offensive Leaders:

Reign Williams - hit .374 with 22 RBI, 30 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases.

Riley Wilson - hit .350 with 11 RBI, 26 runs scored, and 16 stolen bases.

Torie Johnson - hit .341 with 24 RBI, 20 runs scored.

Annabelle Jerman - hit .321 with 13 RBI and 13 runs scored.

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Varsity Volleyball Wraps Up 2019 Season

By Coach Amanda Riser


Varsity volleyball had another great season. We made it to the first round of state for the second year in a row. We have a young, hungry team and will have for the next few years! These ladies have been incredible to watch grow and form into talented athletes. Our girls played 33 matches, served at our opponents 1224 times, attacked the ball 1564 times, got a hand on 1265 balls served at them and put up over 50 blocks this season!


On and off the court these girls continue to be leaders, scholars and all around amazing individuals. Having them on a team together has been a blast. Next year we will have TEN eighth graders coming up, trying to earn the one vacant spot on varsity. If you haven't been to a match, make a point to join us next year.

GO DAWGS!

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Swim Dawgs Dive into the New Season

Practicing at 6 a.m. has paid off for the GWA 2019-2020 Swim Dawgs. Here are the highlights from last night’s swim meet at Riverside Military Academy:


· Varsity Girls 200 Yd Medley Relay place 2nd - Congratulations to Breena McGraw, Ella Rowan, MK Dopp and Alex Carrillo!

· MS Boys 200 Yd Medley Relay took 1st place – Congrats Baylor Lingner, Jake Stout, Anthony Pham and River Morrow!

· Charlie Stout took 1st place in the 200 Yd Freestyle and the 100 Yd Breaststroke for a total of 18 points

· Timothy Pham placed 3rd in the Varsity Boys 50 Yd Freestyle

· Emma Dopp took 1st in MS Girls Breaststroke - scoring nine points for team GWA

· Baylor Lingner took 1st in MS Boys 50 Yd Backstroke

· Sarah Kate Bailey took 1st place in the MS Girls 50 Yd Backstroke

· Dustin Trinh scored five points for his team in the MS Boys 50 Yd Backstroke


Overall, the Varsity Team took 3rd and the MS Team placed 2nd. It’s a great start to the 2019-2020 Swim Season! Coach Power and Coach Stout look forward to the endless possibilities from these swimmers.

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Shiny and New!

Just in time for basketball season- the new hardwood flooring in the Nicholson Center is finished and ready for action!
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Be in the Know!

GWA fall sports are wrapping up and winter sports are getting started! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events. GO BULLDOGS!

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It's (Almost) Time to Trim the Trees!

Dawgs 360 has 18 live trees in the courtyard looking for families to adopt and decorate with holiday decorations the week of Thanksgiving Break! Please email Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com for more details!

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Ross Bradley Champions Boys and Girls Club

Kudos to Ross Bradley '07 for jumping in the ring last Saturday night to help raise money for the Walton County Boys and Girls Club. The event was held in the Nicholson Center and was officiated by former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Evander Holyfield.
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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Li-Way Transfer and Storage, Inc. Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at jbeach@gwa.com or call 678-635-3812.
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