In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

September 12, 2019

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Blood Drive: Sept. 13 @ 8 am - 2 pm
  • Swim Meeting: Sept. 16 @ 6:30 p.m.
  • Equestrian Meeting: Sept. 17 @ 7 p.m.
  • Homecoming Pep Rally: Sept. 27
  • Early Dismissal: Sept. 27
  • Alumni Weekend: Sept. 27-29
  • Dawgs Unleashed Tennis: Sept. 24
  • Dawgs Unleashed 5K & Fun Run: Sept. 29
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Motivating Your Intelligent But Unmotivated Child


TODAY. That's what most young people are focused upon and it's understandable. It is only with age that we appreciate and understand how:


  • current actions (and inaction) make an impact on tomorrow.
  • vital it is to make the most of the time and opportunities we have.
  • important it is to plan for the future and take steps to reach goals.


As parents, it can be frustrating to see our children unmotivated. We see their many gifts and talents and only want them to make the most of their potential.


The George Walton Academy

Counseling Departments and Dawgs 360

have the pleasure of inviting you to hear special guest speaker

Ellen Carrington

as she discusses

Motivating Your Intelligent But Unmotivated Child

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

at 6:30 p.m. in the Auditorium


This workshop is for parents who have tried everything – incentives, punishments, arguing, begging, or even bribing – to get their child to work at the level of his or her potential, but to no avail. If you are a parent who is worried that your intelligent child seems unconcerned about his future and how her actions today may impact her opportunities tomorrow, you will appreciate what this session has to offer. Parents will discuss the reasons that these approaches have not worked and what to do instead.

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Important Homecoming Info

Homecoming 2019


Dance: Saturday, Sept. 28, 8-11 p.m. (high school students ONLY) in the cafeteria- this a change from the original venue and the theme is "Under the Sea."


Homecoming dance tickets will be sold during break and lunch. Each ticket is $10. The last day to purchase a ticket is Friday, Sept. 20. After Sept. 20, tickets will be sold at the door for $15.


Dress Up Days: Monday-Friday (Sept. 23-27) READ MORE

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Club Expo Draws a Crowd!

Club Expo gave students a chance to preview the numerous clubs offered at GWA and learn about membership requirements for each club. We have 27 clubs and our newest addition is the music club. The book club reported sign ups from 17 new members!
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Sign Up for Dawgs Unleashed Now!

Our Dawgs Unleashed events are just around the corner and it's time to sign up. The Fun Run begins at 1:30 p.m. and the 5K begins at 2 p.m. with a new route from our campus to downtown Monroe. Click HERE to register for the 5K and Fun Run, and HERE to play in the tennis tournament.


If you are interested in helping out with our Dawgs Unleashed events- please contact Elizabeth McDonel at emcdonel@gwa.com.

Dawgs Unleashed Deals!

All registered Dawgs Unleashed runners may use their bibs to get discounts and special deals at participating Downtown Monroe businesses! Click HERE to check out the virtual goody bag.
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We are pleased to introduce the newest additions to the George Walton Academy team!


Lisa Smyrl is the newest member of the Pre-K department, teaching GWA's youngest students in the new Pre-K3 program. She graduated from the University of South Alabama and worked with seriously, chronically, and mentally ill children for over 8 years. “GWA is an amazing, fun place to work. All the faculty and staff are top-notch. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the Pre-K3 students and helping them begin their academic journey.”


Laurel Gahan has joined the foreign language department where she specializes in sign language instruction - a new course offering that has been enthusiastically embraced by GWA students. She graduated from Dekalb College with a degree in Interpreting for the Hearing Impaired. She is a nationally-certified interpreter and has worked at the Atlanta Area School for the Deaf, Clarkston High School in Dekalb County, and Berkmar Middle School in Gwinnett County. “I’ve worked at a lot of schools and I just want to say how impressed I am with George Walton,” said Laurel. “The welcome I have received has been so warm and genuine. I am really looking forward to getting to know everyone! I’m hoping my class will give students a glimpse into the world of deaf people and maybe even point them down a career path that they hadn’t thought of yet.”


Derek Hill joins the GWA team as Assistant Dean of Discipline for K-5th grades and Football Coach: Defensive Backs. With a degree in special education from Morris Brown College, Derek has 34 years of multi-level coaching experience at eight institutions. He has five national championships under his belt and tells us, "GWA is a family-oriented school with a great environment. I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, parents, and stakeholders."


Paula Gerhardt is the newest addition to GWA’s talented Fine Arts team. Paula has a rich and extensive background in theater arts and is a well-known in our region for having appeared in and or directed numerous productions for OnStage Playhouse Walton, the W.C. Institute of Performing Arts, Loveland Stage Company, Northern Kentucky University, The New London Theater, and the Cincinnati Young People’s Theater.


Savanna McMichael brings her experience and expertise to the Advancement department as a new Development Associate. A GWA alumna with a degree in Agribusiness from the University of Georgia, Savanna says, "It is wonderful to be back and part of the Advancement Office. I look forward to working with our faculty, families and our community to continue to tell the exciting story of GWA. It is my goal to put GWA at the forefront of Advancement, helping to ensure our students and their families have the experience of a lifetime at our school. I am excited about the future at George Walton!"


Tonya Coe has more than a decade of educational experience that will benefit GWA’s middle school students. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in health science. “I have been in education for 12 years and have taught middle and high school students,” said Tonya. “Prior to working in education, I worked in a hospital setting and home health care with both children and adults. I am very excited to join the GWA family. The students, families, and staff are great and I cannot wait to get to know them better throughout the years.”

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Costa Rica 2020

Are you ready for a Costa Rican adventure in Summer 2020? An adventure immersion trip has been organized for June 13-20, 2020. The trip includes a tarzan swing, whitewater rafting, zip lining, snorkeling, a cacao plantation, an active volcano, a fiesta, and many birds and animals native to Costa Rica. The trip will include staying in hotels, a rainforest lodge, and ocean bungalows!


This trip is open to middle school (rising 6th grade in 2020 also!) and high school students. Parents are also welcome, but not required to attend.


There will be an informational meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. in Señora McElveen’s room (Science building room 904). Please attend if you are interested in the trip. If you are unable to come to the meeting, but would like information, please email amcelveen@gwa.com.

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50 on the 50

In honor of our 50th year, we are throwing it back to the school's first fundraiser in the spring of 1969 and hosting a BBQ on the 50-yard line of Keith Henderson Field at Don Williams Stadium. Back when the idea of GWA was still fresh on the minds of our original Board of Trustees, and the cost of opening a brand-new school was too much for them to generate, they hosted an old-fashioned southern BBQ with homemade sides to raise the funds needed to open GWA’s doors. In honor of that event, George Walton, in partnership with Dawgs 360, is hosting a BBQ celebration on Tuesday, October 22 from 6 – 8 p.m. to commemorate our first 50 years, and to look ahead to the next 50. Tickets will be priced at $15/person, and will include a meal from Lane’s BBQ, live music, lawn games, and entry into a raffle. Interested parties can reserve a table for 8 people for $200. Tickets are selling fast, so hurry since we are capping this event at 250 tickets!

http://bit.ly/50on50tickets

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Red Cross Blood Drive Sept. 13

Help support the American Red Cross! GWA is hosting a blood drive on Friday, Sept. 13, 8 a.m. - 2 p.m., and we still need volunteers to donate blood. Please sign up at redcross.org and enter GWA in the search box or call for an appointment at 1-800-RED-CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
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Sixth Grade in Operating Order!

The sixth grade took advantage of the block schedule to try some new activities. Math classes participated in the Order of Operations Operating Room where they consulted with other “surgeons” to solve expressions to help determine what operations their patients required. In English, students wrote their own mathematical expressions and used those expressions as the frame work to write original short stories. Social studies students worked as archaeologists to identify artifacts and fossils from the Paleolithic and Neolithic eras. In science, the students acted as pharmacists using laboratory skills, problem solving, and data analysis.

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What Does the College Counseling Office Provide for My Child (and Family)?

In not-so-typical fashion, this week’s article is more of an informative, save the date and mark your calendars, write-up if you will. Now, we aren’t covering everything we do for you and your children, my keyboard will shatter before I can complete that. So, we will call this – The Pre-information before the Information. If my razzle dazzle intro isn’t compelling enough for you, please continue to read on as we have four different upcoming events that are beneficial to every upper school student and parent!



1. Alright, so this one does only pertain to one class: JUNIORS AND PARENTS!
Mark your calendars! October 29, 6:30 PM in the cafeteria.
Mandatory College Counseling Meeting. A previous email reminder was sent out, be sure to read it in case you missed it. READ MORE...

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Spring Rawl Gets a Head Start on the Monroe Art Guild Show!

By Spring Rawl

My dog’s name is Enzo and we have had him since I was nine. He’s been my companion for most of my childhood and has watched me grow up. At the same time, I’ve seen him grow and bond with my family. I wanted to document both my progression in my art skills and his life as well. I started doing portraits of him in eighth grade, starting with pencil and then Prisma color. Through these pieces over the years I’ve seen how much I have improved from middle school. I’m glad I’ve had the ability to showcase my appreciation for my pet and my development as an artist.

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Support the Bulldogs on the Road!

Our varsity football team wants to see a crowd of Bulldogs in the stands tomorrow night at Hebron! The physical address for Hebron Christian Academy (high school campus) is 775 Dacula Road, Dacula, GA 30019. The ticket booth will open at 6 p.m. and it is located off Liam Avenue. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for students. Let's GO Bulldogs!

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Lady Dawgs Look Towards October!

The Lady Dawgs softball team is off to a fantastic start! With a current record of 11 and three- they have their sights set on making another run at the state tournament in Columbus this October. Sophomore pitchers Caroline Conner and Taylor Tinsley are setting the tone from the pitchers circle while seniors Annabelle Jerman, Torie Johnson, Savannah McBee and junior Reign Williams are leading the way on offense. Come on out to one of the remaining home games and cheer on these amazing girls! Remaining home games are Friday against ELCA, next Tuesday against Commerce, and Sept. 26 against Towns County (senior night).

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Equestrian Team Meeting on Sept. 17

Are you ready to ride for GWA? The Equestrian team is holding an informational meeting for interested students (fourth grade and higher) and their parents on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 7 -8 p.m. in The Commons. Contact Tara Geoffroy at tara.geoffroy@gmail.com with any questions.
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Swim Meeting on Sept. 16

The GWA swim team will hold a meeting for middle and high school students interested in swimming in The Commons on Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m. This meeting is for parents and students. Please contact Doretta Power at dpower@gwa.com with any questions.

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Be in the Know!

GWA fall sports are off to a great start! Click the calendar link above to check out upcoming sporting events. Go BULLDOGS!

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Alumni Weekend Tickets on Sale Now!

Please share the news! All GWA alumni are invited to our first-ever GWA Alumni Weekend! The fun begins Friday, Sept. 27 with a pre-game tailgate in the newly renovated cafeteria- complete with catering by The Varsity, a DJ, campus tours and displays of GWA memorabilia. We will host a party on Saturday night at The Wayfarer in downtown Monroe. READ MORE...

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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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