In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

November 5, 2020

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Key Deadlines & Dates

  • Virtual Veterans Day Celebration: Nov. 11
  • Homecoming Week: Nov. 9 -13
  • Senior/First Grader Breakfast: Nov. 12
  • Early Dismissal - All Grades: Friday, Nov. 13 (see below)
  • Winter Sports Photo Days - Nov. 18 & 19
  • Homecoming Dance: Nov. 21
  • Thanksgiving Break: Nov. 23 - 27
  • Preview Day: Dec. 3
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The New A-B-C’s

In this unprecedented school year amid a global pandemic, the wonder of learning and discovery is alive and well at George Walton Academy. The key has been the willingness of our students, teachers and families to embrace: Adaptation, Breakthroughs, and Curiosity.


The first thoughts that come to mind are words that have now become part of our everyday conversations: social distancing, handwashing, masks, and temperature checks. We have all of those safety measure in place of course, but our teachers and students have gone above and beyond to design creative approaches to challenges that might not seem as obvious.

The sustainable living class has created an outdoor classroom that is available throughout each day. The yearbook staff has confronted the challenge of a non-traditional year by developing a plan to spotlight students in more depth for this edition. The homecoming dance has been moved outdoors with a “glow-in-the-dark” theme, our time-honored and highly-anticipated Veterans Day program will be virtual, and our annual Gingerbread Christmas community celebration will now be a drive through event. Innovative “singing” masks are worn during chorus classes. And speaking of masks, while wearing one on campus is not ideal, we’ve added “themed-mask contest days” to the calendar for a little special fun.


We believe in empowering students so they can maximize their potential, realize they can achieve more than they imagined, and experience personal breakthroughs. We help make that possible by providing a wide array of courses and opportunities. Some of the new programs we’ve launched to enhance the student experience include guitar classes, expanded global studies and STEM classes in the lower school, and seven new courses added to the upper school humanities program. The new GWA gardening program enables students to grow, cook and enjoy fresh foods while learning about sustainable living. Our new middle school robotics and engineering lab is full of students and lights have been added to our lower field and new tennis courts will debut this spring.


No matter the circumstances, GWA students are always encouraged to explore and embrace their natural curiosity. In art class, kindergarten students are free to create and they have been introduced to well-known artists like Andy Warhol and Piet Mondrian. Music class is a fun opportunity to explore rhythm and movement and in their STEM classes, these young students are learning to use computational thinking and understand the basics of coding. Older students will have additional opportunities for exploration during the upcoming three-week winter term when they’ll choose from more than 65 cool courses including Impressionist Painting, Japanese Language and Culture, Web Design, Exploring Science Through Art, Video Production, Merchandise Design for Bands, Cyber Security, and much more.

Yes, it’s a year like no other. There are challenges, pressures and even disappointments. But there are also learning opportunities, memorable experiences, and ah-ha moments. This year has required changes, but one thing has remained the same at GWA – personal connections and student-teacher relationships that build character, confidence and equip students for lives of meaning and purpose. We believe today’s A-B-C’s are teaching our students the lifelong value of adaptability, breakthroughs and curiosity.


(Article reprinted from The Walton Tribune, Sun., Nov. 1)

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Supporting Students with ADHD

Assessment Coordinator Katie Robinson from the UGA Center for Counseling and Personal Evaluation held an informative workshop for our teachers on Monday. Her work makes it possible for students to get a proper diagnosis of ADHD, one of the most common neurodevelopment disorders of childhood and adolescence. Using three types of data – observational, self-report/informant report and quantitative, to assess for attention and executive functioning (ability to plan, execute, and complete tasks) impairment, the Center is able to determine if a child has ADHD or executive functioning impairment.

Our teachers learned about the range of symptoms and behaviors exhibited by students with ADHD and the importance of their own role when it comes to supporting a child with attention deficits. Mrs. Robinson explained, “When teachers provide observational insight and complete measures, psychologists can make more specific, individualized recommendations for each child. “

This well-attended workshop sponsored by The PARC provided our faculty with a wealth of information about ADHD, and with tips on how to best serve the needs of their students with ADHD while managing their classroom. Additionally, The PARC offers support for our students diagnosed with attention deficits.

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Smashing Pumpkins

Last Friday, Ms. Walker’s Life Science class wrapped up their unit on genetics by talking about DNA and its structure. Humans have diploid cells, meaning they have two sets of chromosomes whereas most plants are polyploid with many sets of chromosomes. This makes it very easy to extract DNA from these plant cells. Seventh graders kept with the harvest season spirit and extracted pumpkin DNA out of pumpkins!

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Reading is FUN-damental

The Lower School PARC has been working to address the needs of all level of readers, including those who need a challenge. Reader’s Theatre benefits young readers by engaging students, developing fluency, and giving them exposure to different styles of print. During small group reading time, first-grade students have been working to enhance their reading experience by learning to read a script and perform in front of their peers. Students honed their skills and entertained their classmates as they presented “Three Little Pigs” and “There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."

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HOCO 2020

We are looking forward to homecoming festivities in November! Please see the details below for this fun-filled week! If you purchased a homecoming t-shirt - it is available for pick up in the Dawg Shop.

Dress Up Days: Monday-Friday (Nov. 9-13)

  • Monday: Country vs. Country Club
  • Tuesday: Mathlete vs. Athlete
  • Wednesday: Holiday
  • Thursday: Group/Duo/Celebrity
  • Friday: Spirit Day: Seniors- black, Juniors-white, Sophomores- red, Freshmen-Gray

Middle and high school will participate in all five of the dress up days.

Lower school will participate in the last three dress up days.

Homecoming Pep Rally (Revised Version)

Friday morning, Nov. 13

Pep rally will start at the field house and wind through campus – includes homecoming court (in cars), band, cheerleaders, majorettes and football players.

Powder Puff Game

Friday morning, Nov. 13

Powder puff game following the mini pep rally. High school students will attend the powder puff game. Homecoming King court will be announced.

Early Dismissal – Friday, Nov. 13

  • Lower school will be dismissed at 11:30 a.m.
  • Middle school will be dismissed at 12 p.m.
  • High school students may leave after the powder puff game.

Homecoming Game: GWA vs. Athens Academy

  • Friday, Nov. 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
  • Homecoming queen crowned at halftime
  • Homecoming king crowned at bonfire after football game

Homecoming Dance

  • Saturday, November 21, 8 – 11 p.m., football field
  • GWA high school students ONLY
  • Dates from other schools not permitted due to COVID-related precautions
  • Theme: “Glow in the Dark”
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Leading the Way

Congrats to our GWA student ambassadors! These high school students were selected following interviews with the Admissions team and lead student ambassadors. New ambassadors are “learning the ropes” by walking the campus with experienced ambassadors and practicing at giving a tour. They will be ready to help the Admissions office with our upcoming Preview Day on Dec. 3!

Ninth Grade Ambassadors:

Charlotte Gregory

Ashlyn Felton

Anna Gray

Sarah Digby

Charlie Jesel

Kendall Thornton

Alina Aponte

Sarah Kate Bailey

Tara Dolan

Tenth Grade Ambassadors:

Elizabeth Jahns

George Zupko

Timothy Pham

Lily Jennings

Sara Bryan

Mia Smith

Morgan Green

Lillie Barrientos

Abby Mack

Graham Hill

Eleventh Grade Ambassadors:

Breena McGraw

Kilissa Gasaway

Noah Hicks

Camille Malcom

Matthew Lazenby

Mac Geoffroy

Avery Jesel

Dominic Williams

Madison Marable

Abel Moreno

Emmie Mitchell

Reagan May

Kennedy Johnson

Twelfth Grade Ambassadors:

Sara Camp

Natalie Dally

Max Misterka

Sarah Kirk

Julia Waldo

Ashlyn Turner

Jacob Maddox

Jennifer Allahverdieva

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Going Green at GWA

Thanks to our GWA Recycling Club members for collecting recyclable materials on campus each week! They make the rounds throughout all of our buildings and outdoor spaces - emptying blue recycling receptacles and deposit paper, plastic and aluminum in the large bin located in the high school parking lot. These middle and high school club members are committed to making a difference and to reducing GWA's pollution footprint.
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Blood Drive is November 20

GWA will host a Red Cross blood drive on Friday, Nov. 20. Please see above for details. Sixteen-year-old students must have a signed parental consent form in order to donate (attachment below). A COVID-19 antibodies test is included with all blood donations. Please be sure to sign up online or via the Red Cross Blood Donor App.

Parental Consent Form

Height/Weight Requirements

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Join Us on December 6!

Mark your calendars for Gingerbread Christmas! COVID can’t get Christmas down, but it does mean we will need to make a few changes. This year’s event is Sunday, Dec. 6 from 4-5 p.m. and will be a drive-thru event. Our theme is Christmas Greetings From Around the World. Our clubs, athletics, and other groups will be passing out goodies and projects to do at home and Santa will be there to wave and have his helper pass out candy canes. We will still have our gingerbread house contest for cash prizes! For contest details, click HERE. Be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. Want to be involved in Gingerbread Christmas? Contact Jeanie Beach at and we will get you on board to help us celebrate the season!

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Christmas Cheer for All to Hear!

The Advancement Office is putting together a Christmas video as part of our Gingerbread Christmas event. We would like to invite students, teachers, parents, (or groups who safely produce their own video via a digital platform such a Zoom) or families to submit a video of you singing or playing an instrument (or both) a favorite Christmas song. Below are the details.

  • Deadline for submission: noon on Nov. 20.
  • Attire: Please wear something with a Christmas theme
  • We will do our best to feature all the videos, but some may be shortened due to time constraints or duplicates.
  • Please upload your video HERE.
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Individual College Meeting for Juniors and Parents

By Jon Terrell, Director of College Counseling

It is hard to believe that November is already upon us! That means senior year is just around the corner.

It is now time to schedule your Junior Individual College Planning Meeting with the college counselors! We will discuss and plan your student's tentative senior year schedule, graduation requirements, ACT/SAT testing, as well as future college plans and goals. An email will be sent out this week to parents including a “Calendly” electronic sign up calendar. If you are unable to meet in November or December, please email ( or call Mrs. Nabors at 678-635-3821 to plan for a meeting in January or February. Appointments will be approximately 30 - 45 minutes long. The appointment time slots are aligned with GWA's class schedule and semester exams. We ask that you plan the meeting during your student’s study hall or after school. We will also be available to meet via zoom if that is more conducive with your schedule.

We look forward to meeting with you and discussing the upcoming year and a half!

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Softball Success

The 2020 George Walton Academy Lady Bulldog softball team had a highly successful season. While the team came up a little short of our goal of winning a state title, they still finished the year 24-3, won the area championship and made it to the Elite 8. The team was led offensively by sophomore Riley Wilson (.507 batting average with 3 home runs and 17 RBI), juniors Caroline Conner (.382 batting average with 5 home runs and 25 RBI) and Alana Griffith (.430 average with 1 home run and 22 RBI) and senior Reign Williams (.284 batting average with 13 RBI and 20 runs scored). The Lady Dawgs played solid defense all season, led by two junior pitchers, Caroline Conner (1.50 earned run average) and Taylor Tinsley (.284 earned run average and 226 strike outs). With most of the team returning and an exciting group of ninth graders coming up, they look forward to getting back to work in the spring in preparation for making another run at a state title next season.

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Something New

Thanks to Mr. Cole for creating a shiny, new and updated logo shield for the GWA Marching Bulldog Band! It will be officially presented to the Band this afternoon. Go Dawgs!
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Today's In Focus is proudly sponsored by Element Funding ( Interested in advertising through our Corporate Partnership program? Contact Jeanie Beach at or call 678-635-3812.
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