Second Virtual Family Night Greets New Bulldogs

Portola High held its second virtual Family Night for freshmen from Jeffrey Trail Middle, Cadence Park K-8 and Beacon Park K-8 on April 14. The event was held virtually to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures, as it had been last year according to assistant principal Amy Paulsen.

“Counseling would do a presentation for parents while the kids did their thing because the goal was split people up, cut the ties, let your babies grow a little bit, be independent, and we would give them a presentation,” Paulsen said.

Students received a directory of links to the weekly newsletter as well as documents that held information on clubs, VAPA, athletics, course requests, counseling and ASB that became available at 4 p.m. They were able to explore the resources in their own time.

“I find one of the biggest motivation factors for students is always winning, I think that’s there for almost every individual. So what me and the vice president have done in the past is we bring all of our medals… and we display them on the table,” Academic Decathlon club president and senior Aamina Thasneem Khaleel said, “so when the incoming freshmen walk up to our table, they see all these shining, glittering medals and they’re like ‘I want to win something like this’ and that’s what gets them really interested.”

Rather than clubs having interactive booths set up for prospective freshmen to browse, students looked at online resources regarding each club. The virtual Family Night also included an FAQ and an opportunity to sign up for a Q&A session for students to attend on April 26 at 4:30 p.m.

“I was a little bit scared about the class loads, and I didn’t know anything about how to pick clubs or how to try out for a sports team,” prospective freshman Evelyn Lai said. “Going to Family Night was like a big sigh of relief because I was able to get answers to all of my questions, and it made me feel a little bit more prepared for high school.”

Although many significant aspects of Family Night such as the interactive booths and the school tour had to be taken out, Paulsen said she hopes that the event was still a meaningful experience for students.

“I hope they feel like there is a place for them here at Portola no matter what they’re interested in or what their passion may be,” Paulsen said.