In Focus @ GWA

A news bulletin for the families of George Walton Academy

November 30, 2017

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It's a Small World After All

by Kevin Cloud

Assistant Headmaster and Lower School Principal

I recently had the privilege of traveling to six cities in China to build relationships with students and potential educational partners. Among the highlights of my trip were visits to two “experimental” schools where I made presentations on behalf of GWA. In all, I was pleased to meet and interview 50 students who expressed an interest in pursuing their studies in an American school. It was also interesting to learn just what a small world we live in as I met representatives from schools in the United Kingdom, Australia, and other regions across the United States.

It was an incredible experience to travel to China. I enjoyed learning about their culture and community just as much it appeared they enjoyed learning about ours. My hope is that next school year we will welcome some of the students that I interviewed so that they too can become part of the George Walton Academy family.

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Looking for a unique Christmas present? Give your child the gift of fun and learning that extends Beyond the Bell! Space is limited for these exciting after-school classes, so be sure to sign up now. To register, email Peggy Jordan at

Star Wars Camp with Jared Radosevich

With a new movie coming out, there’s much to explore and plenty of fun to be had in the Star Wars Universe: Movies, Robot Building, Board Games, Books and Video Games. For 1st - 5th graders. Thur. 3:15 – 5:00, 7 weeks, beginning Jan. 11, Lower School Art Room, $150.

Stop Motion Camp with Mandy Gudnason

Let your imagination be your guide as you create stop-motion video stories from start to finish. Students will learn how to create a concept, develop the idea with a storyboard, design a set and produce a video with this unique type of storytelling. There will be a Premier Presentation Party on the last day to share your creative movie with other movie producers! Limited to just 15 students. For 3rd – 5th graders, Tues. 3:15 – 5:00, 6 weeks, beginning Jan. 9, Lower School Computer Lab, $150.

Sewing with Dale Harrison

Basic skills of sewing such as sewing-on buttons, hemming, and other small projects. Students learn and explore through hand sewing as well as machine work. Students will come home with projects they created. Some choices will be bows, tote bags, hand towels, and wall hangings. Parents are encouraged to register too! For 4th Graders and up (parents too!), Wed. 3:15 – 4:30, 7 weeks beginning Jan. 11, Lower School Library, $165 per participant – this includes all materials.

Dance Class - Still Enrolling!

Thur. 3:15 – 4:15 Registration Fee: $35, Tuition $65/month* Encore Studio, Downtown Monroe (GWA will provide transportation)

*Costume for recital and recital fees are billed separately.

Tennis Camp with Alex Lussi

For 3rd Grade and Up, Mon. 3:15 – 4:15, 4 weeks, at tennis courts beside the Nicholson Center, $100 and for K4 – 2nd graders on Thur. 3:15 – 4:15.

To register, email Peggy Jordan at

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For those who have not yet participated in this program, we encourage you to seize the opportunity to “tell” the state where you want your tax dollars spent and make a difference for GWA!

    • Contribute to the GOAL program and receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit.
    • Your contribution makes a significant impact on our school without costing you a dime – literally!

    GOAL is now accepting applications for the 2018 tax credit!

    • Payment is not required until 60 days after DOR approval, which will be mid-March of 2018.

    • Click here for more information about GOAL.

    Questions? Please contact Jenni Cole at or 678-635-3830. Thank you for your participation and for your support of GWA!

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    GWA Is Pleased to Welcome Back Alumnus Mr. Lucas Jones

    George Walton is pleased to welcome back alumnus Lucas Jones as he joins the faculty and staff as a French teacher. Mr. Jones graduated from Brigham Young University in 2016 with degrees in French and Spanish. He is “truly passionate” about the French language and has worked in several French-speaking countries, including work with the European Union in Belgium, the United Nations in Switzerland and France’s government.

    Mr. Jones says that he is excited for his return to GWA. “I have wonderful memories from my time here, and I hope to create many more for myself and the students I am teaching.”

    Students in his classes can expect to have exposure not only to the French language, but new thoughts, beliefs and cultures. He says that students can expect to be learning and speaking from the first day of class.

    GWA is excited to have Mr. Jones back!

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    Team Work Makes the Dream Work

    This week George Walton hosted juniors from seven Walton County schools who are members of the Youth Leadership Walton Program, which is sponsored by the Walton County Chamber of Commerce. Program volunteer and Youth Elementary Principal Susan Enfinger led a discussion which focused on the topic of team building and the various roles found within healthy group settings. Students were able to apply these ideas by working together in teams to design team t-shirts.

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    Back by Popular Demand

    After receiving positive feedback from fellow educators for her presentation at the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) annual conference, Ms. Angie McElveen was asked to speak at the GISA South Conference in Tifton. This was the fourth year that she has presented on the topic of integrating a world language into the classroom. “This presentation gives teachers information on how to use routines, realia (real life objects) and technology to further conversation in the target language,” said Ms. McElveen.

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    Basketball Extravaganza Was a Slam Dunk!

    George Walton kicked off the basketball season this Tuesday with a Basketball Extravaganza sponsored by GWA’s Student Life. In addition to watching the varsity teams play, students sipped on hot chocolate from Kona Ice, won gift cards during a halftime shoot-out competition and took “Selfies with Santa”, which were graciously sponsored by Stacey McCullers Realty.

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    Just a "Plane" Day at GWA!

    This week, middle and high school computer science students along with several Technology Student Association members enjoyed touring the Delta Flight Museum at Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta. They learned about the impact that technology and engineering have on the airline industry. Students examined how Delta airplanes have progressed over time, and they discovered the reasoning behind the various engineering design changes.

    Senior Riley Watkins said, “Seeing the evolution from humble beginnings to the extreme commercial success of Delta Airlines is truly inspiring and a testament to just how far technology has developed.”

    Students also had the opportunity to board two Delta commercial airplanes, including the recently retired Boeing 747. The field trip proved to be very educational and supplemented the students’ current studies, giving them some insight into aviation engineering careers.

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    A Glass Half Full

    Ms. Tara Walker’s forensic science class wrapped up their studies on glass evidence and how physical properties can be used in determining what type of glass has been found, both at a crime scene and on a suspect or victim. The students conducted a lab which put those properties to test. Students calculated density of different types of glass and compared refractive indexes using various solutions and light sources.

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    Spanish IV Students Create Their Own Science Fiction Movie

    Mrs. Jessie Croft’s Spanish IV class has been studying various literary and movie genres over the course of the semester, learning everything from pre-Columbian literature and medieval Spanish poetry to comedy, tragedy and more. With each genre the class studies, students usually read a short story, watch a film if applicable and have a discussion focused on the subject.

    However, for the science fiction unit, students were able to explore their creativity and made their own sci-fi movie. Students chose a topic, wrote a script entirely in Spanish, then filmed and edited the movie. After a week and some class time to work on this project, the students completed a short film complete with acting and bloopers! Mrs. Croft said the students intentionally made the movie a little cheesy, but that that is what made her love it.

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    You Have the Right to Remain Silent

    George Walton was pleased to welcome Lieutenant Zach Barrett of the Walton County Sheriff’s Departmennt as he spent a few days teaching Mrs. Karen Barrett’s government class how the Fourth Amendment applies to local law enforcement.

    Students learned interesting and practical information about the intersection of federal and local law. For example, students learned the difference between a pat-down and a frisk, and how the United States Supreme Court case of Terry v. Ohio applies.

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    Connecting Christmas and Chemistry

    Coach Harcourt's students are using chemistry to create Christmas ornaments! Students are creating a super saturated solution of sodium borate and letting the sodium borate crystals grow on chenille wires, (pipe cleaners) shaped into stars, candy canes, etc. The crystals are examined and their shape is identified.

    "This is a project to learn more about dilute, concentrated, saturated, and super saturated solutions and how they are temperature dependent," explained Coach Harcourt. An introduction to crystallography is also an objective. The AP Chemistry class used silver nitrate to create a mirrored finish on the clear ornaments and atoms of silver were calculated.

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    Do You Recall the Most Famous Reindeer of All?

    Ms. May’s and Mrs. McDaniel’s K5 classes caught the Christmas spirit this week as they were delighted by a magical presentation of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

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    Court Is In Session: Basketball Season Underway

    This week the bulldogs kicked off their season against Oconee County with the JV, varsity boys and varsity girls all in action in front of a crowd of supportive GWA fans.

    “The Dawgs had a great showing!” said Athletic Director Mark Whitley. “The Warriors pulled away at the end but it was a great effort by our teams. Really enjoyed seeing the hard work paying off!”

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    Wrestlers Pin It to Win It

    GWA's middle school wrestling team continues to impress. They beat both GMC and Athens Academy in head-to-head match-ups this week. Coach Whitley said, "They are doing great this year so far. They head to Madison County this weekend and the Varsity is going to McEachern."
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    Impressive (and Early) College Acceptance Numbers

    It is not even December, yet many George Walton Seniors have received word they have been admitted to college. So far, GWA students have been admitted to the University of Georgia, Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia College, Georgia Southern* along with Mercer and UNG. More acceptances are coming in daily.

    If it seems that we are making these announcements earlier than ever before, you’re right! Just like Christmas decorations going on sale even before Halloween, more and more students are choosing to apply to college early. The University of Georgia offers an “early action” application deadline of October 15 and Georgia College and State University’s early deadline is November 1. Those who apply early receive answers at the end of November or in early December.

    Many other Georgia institutions (UNG & GSU) and many out of state (Alabama & Ole Miss) have rolling admission, meaning they make offers about six weeks after a student’s application is completed. Although rolling admission colleges often have spring deadlines, it is not wise to wait that long as programs can fill up before the deadline.

    Regular decision deadlines, most commonly January 1, still exist. However, most George Walton seniors choose to apply early so they will receive answers sooner and hopefully enjoy an anxiety-free Christmas vacation. Even when the response from the university is not what the student hoped for, it still leaves him or her time to apply to other institutions.

    If your child is not yet a senior, keep in mind that the college application process, like most other things in life, changes. And it seems to be happening earlier and earlier each year. Fear not - our college counseling team is here to help guide your student (and you) through the process!

    *At the time of this article’s publication, within the state of Georgia, GWA had the highest admit rate to Georgia College & State University.

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    To kick off the Thanksgiving and holiday season, elementary school students performed a lovely rendition of the first Thanksgiving meal that delighted family, friends and teachers.

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    Mark Your Calendar for January Coffee With the Admin

    There will be no Coffee with the Admin for the month of December, but please know that Dr. Dolan is always happy to field any questions, comments or concerns you may have.

    In January, we will host our first Coffee in the Neighborhood. Mark your calendar for the evening of Thurs., Jan. 11 and join us in the clubhouse at Providence Club. The time and further details are coming soon.

    If you are interested in signing up to host an in-home Coffee with the Admin in 2018, please contact Cari Bailey at