Ge­orge Wal­ton Academy cel­e­brates 100 years

The Covington News - - Front page - By Sabas­tian Wee swee@cov­news.com

For more than 40 years, Ge­orge Wal­ton Academy has proven to be one of the lead­ing providers in pri­vate school ed­u­ca­tion. Along with win­ning mul­ti­ple awards, many of its stu­dents have grad­u­ated to at­tend pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties across the coun­try.

In 1969, a group of 12 par­ents pushed for a pri­vate school in Wal­ton County. With an es­ti­mated list of 80 con­firmed stu­dents, they were ap­proved to build the academy. The school opened that Septem­ber with 132 stu­dents en­rolled in classes from first through ninth grade.

The school spent the next few years adding more grade lev­els and ex­tracur­ric­u­lar sports, like foot­ball, bas­ket­ball, base­ball, track and golf. In 1973, the school proudly saw its first grad­u­at­ing class.

The school just cel­e­brated its 40th an­niver­sary in 2010; they held events com­mem­o­rat­ing their longevity and suc­cess as one of the lead­ing pri­vate schools in the coun­try. With a cur­rent en­roll­ment of 950 stu­dents, GWA ex­pects to main­tain and im­prove the stan­dards the have set for the new year.

Since its in­cep­tion, the academy cre­ated an en­vi­ron­ment par­ents would grow to be proud of. Though fundrais­ers and do­na­tions, the school has added sev­eral fa­cil­i­ties, in­clud­ing the 2009 con­struc­tion of an ath­letic com­plex. Their fu­ture plans in­clude build­ing a mid­dle school fa­cil­ity and pos­si­bly a per­form­ing arts au­di­to­rium.

Al­though the academy was founded on Judeo-Chris­tian val­ues, the school’s pri­mary em­pha­sis was in col­lege prepara­tory achieve­ment. As a re­sult of the school’s grad­u­a­tion re­quire­ments, 100 per­cent of its grad­u­at­ing stu­dents have been ac­cepted into col­lege across the coun­try.

“Our coun­sel­ing of­fice meets with stu­dents and their par­ents, start­ing in Mid­dle School,” said Di­rec­tor of Mar­ket­ing Dessa Mor­ris. “We keep the stu­dents on track for their col­lege plans.”

The par­ents’ pride in the school would spread to their chil­dren, as many stu­dents at­tend­ing the school are sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion; some alumni, like Di­rec­tor of Devel­op­ment Jeanie Beach, whose par­ents were founders of the school, was also in the first kinder­garten class the academy of­fered.

“Our pop­u­la­tion is get­ting more di­verse,” said Beach. “And many other fam­i­lies re­turn to en­roll their chil­dren... I think it says a lot about the strength (of the school).”

The academy will play host to open houses at 10 a.m. on Tues­day and at 10 a.m. on Feb. 8.

Sub­mit­ted photo/The Cov­ing­ton News

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