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  • Carrie Petersen received her Volunteer of the Month Award from Zach Sparks, Pasadena Voice assistant editor.
    Photo by Dylan Roche
    Carrie Petersen received her Volunteer of the Month Award from Zach Sparks, Pasadena Voice assistant editor.

CHS PTSA Is “Ac-Counting” On New President Carrie Petersen

Zach Sparks
View Bio
September 20, 2017

When stepping into the role of president of the Chesapeake High School Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) this summer, Carrie Petersen had no misgivings about her first priority.

“They had 77 members last year and about 15 were teachers,” Petersen said of the PTSA. “So that’s my No. 1 thing. There are hundreds of kids in this school. Let’s get new people in.”

During freshman orientation in August, she and her fellow board members recruited 28 new members.

“That is almost unheard of at freshman orientation, but somehow she managed to pull it off,” said Mark Downing, the group’s past president. “I am confident this is not the only time she will wow us this school year.”

A mother of two girls – a 2016 high school graduate and a junior at Chesapeake – Petersen was humble in explaining her goals for the upcoming year. As president, Petersen runs the monthly board meetings, spreads awareness about the PTSA during back-to-school night, recruits new members and works with the treasurer.

The PTSA as a group has input on PSAT/SAT preparation, assembly topics and faculty recognition, but not to be overlooked is the after-prom party.

“I’ll be the first to admit, I was never a PTA member, because I thought it was the same thing as the sports boosters club, and it’s not,” Petersen confessed. “I volunteered for the after-prom party last year and saw what a great experience it was for them, and I wanted to make sure my younger daughter has the same experience as my older daughter.”


Some Chesapeake High parents have likely seen Petersen before as she supported her younger daughter, Lindsey, a cheerleader and track and field athlete. Others know her from the Panthers Athletic Club, in which she used her accounting background to great effect as the treasurer. When it came time to recruit PTSA members at Chesapeake, Petersen knew whom to ask.

“It’s a really good group we have,” she said of the PTSA, which is composed of mostly new members. “All of the parents, their kids have cheered or played for the Panthers.”

Although she has had plenty of support so far, especially from Downing, Petersen will face obstacles. One challenge she faces is getting more parents to see the importance of getting involved, especially with endeavors like raising money for scholarships that may benefit their children in the future.

“You might think, ‘My child is only a freshman. Why should I care about scholarships?’” Petersen said. “That time goes by quickly.”

Committed to a two-year term on the PTSA, Petersen knows how little time she has to accomplish her goals, but she is not intimidated just yet.

“Right now, it doesn’t seem overwhelming,” she said with a smile.

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