PTA Leaders, Members, Colleagues, and Supporters,

Welcome to the 2013-2014 school year! PTA is the oldest, largest, child advocacy association in the country, providing a history and accomplishments that support the connection between effective engagement and academic achievement for all children. Many issues and challenges face our students and families today, and this is our moment to make a difference in their lives. To ensure every child's potential is a reality, it is vital we collaborate with local school communities. This is the heart of PTA.

Being a member of PTA is so rewarding, but not always easy. You sacrifice time with your families, you're sleep deprived because you over-extend yourself, and sometimes you work really hard, only to have others not appreciate what you did. When I read "The Parable of a Pencil", it was exactly the message I wanted to share with all PTA constituents.

*The Parable of the Pencil

A pencil maker always took a pencil aside before passing him along to a student. "There are 5 important things you need to know before I send you out into the world," he told each pencil. "Remember these tips and you will become the best pencil you can be!"

1. You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be guided by someone else.
2. You will experience an uncomfortable sharpening from time to time, but it will help you to become a better pencil.
3. You have the ability, because of your eraser, to correct any mistakes you might make.
4. The most important part of you will always be what is on the inside.
5. You must leave your mark on every surface upon which you are used.

The pencil understood and went forward, excited to share his purpose with an eager student. We are all like pencils in many ways. At least one, if not all five of the simple truths found in this parable are needed in our daily life. Choose from the list today and enjoy moving forward with excitement and purpose in whatever you do!

Tip: Be a Pencil!

I am honored to serve as your President for the next two years. Your support is greatly appreciated; encourage others and invite them to Join Us!

Brenda L. Sheridan
Virginia PTA 2013-2015

*Reprinted with permission from the "Tip of the Week".