November 6, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
This past weekend, as I wandered SHS in the early morning, I had the opportunity to really notice the quiet beauty of the Sequoia campus.  While I am not sure that all our students necessarily appreciate its warmth, history and beauty, I do think it creates (and perhaps even fosters) a wonderful backdrop for many of the heartwarming things that happen each and every day at our school.  As I sat to write this monthly message, I started thinking about the long list of 'other' things that make Sequoia such a beautiful place...perhaps the things we do not always notice as we think about the community that supports our children. 

Given that Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, it seems an appropriate time to acknowledge some of what I'm grateful for at Sequoia.  Some are obvious, others not.

With gratitude for...
  • Our students, their connections and their clubs -- For me, it always starts with the students since that is why we are here!  Whether I am working with them to lead tours on campus or just noticing them interact with their friends at lunch, in my experience, they are a great group of kids.  It's also hard not to notice all the flyers dangling from the walls around campus.  From Dream club to Anime; from Key Club to the newly formed Ski/Snow Board Club, the list is long and varied.  In taking a minute to read them, it was neat to see how much our students work to create places where they feel connections and where they can support each other. 
  • Our administration, teachers and staff -- Whether I am walking onto campus or sending an e-mail to ask for help as a parent or as a volunteer, there has never been a time when I have not ultimately felt supported by this group of dedicated people.  They do amazing work every day to engage, educate and support our children!
  • Our counseling office, Family Center, Teen Resource Center, College/Career Center, Atlas program, SAFE program, AVID program, Special Education, Media Center and more -- I'm sure I missed a bunch of others, but these people/groups really do bring an amazing amount of additional support to our students and often their families.  I have always believed that if we support all parts of a student's life, we will have more engaged and happier students who are more likely to thrive.  That may look different for every child, but these groups offer support to ensure that it happens at all levels! 
  • Our PTSA board, chair people and all our parent volunteers -- I have mentioned them before, but my gratitude list would not be complete without acknowledging them.  Their willingness to give of themselves...their time, energy and unending talent adds another layer to the beauty of this school.  Whether they are helping with PTSA, SHSEF, Boosters or supporting the many activities and events on campus, they are noted and appreciated!  
  • Our SHS Alumni Association -- In addition to continually offering annual grants to staff and scholarships to students, over the years our Alumni Association has continued to support this school.  The restoration of the El Camino Gate, creation of our Veteran's Memorial, improvements to sports fields, the tea garden, creation of the SHS Sports Hall of Fame, and most recently, the beautiful Sequoyah statue which now graces our front entrance are just some of the areas where the SHSAA has brought beauty to their alma mater.  If you wander this campus and look closely, you will see their special touches, all of which add to the school's charm and remind us of those that came before us and yet still return with regularity to support this special place. 
  • Our State and National PTA -- They support all children on a broader basis, and that support is invaluable to many of our students.  They pay attention to 'the big stuff' so we can work at the local level...and our membership helps support their efforts.  Take a peek at our article ("What is the PTSA?") in this week's Sentinel about a couple of the recent initiatives that our State PTA supported.   
This is the community that we all work to build and support.  While I couldn't possibly have listed everyone by name, I truly am thankful and grateful for everyone who shares their time and talents as we work to make this an even more beautiful place for our children to learn and grow!

Lauren Pachkowski
Sequoia PTSA President
Learn About Our New Media Center
Join us at our next PTSA meeting of the school year tomorrow - Tuesday, November 7 at 7 PM!  

The evening will begin in the Multi-Purpose Room with Principal Sean Priest speaking to both our PTSA and ELAC parents and families.    At about 7:30, we will move to the Library/Media Center to hear from our Media Specialist Elizabeth Snow.  Ms. Snow will share some of the new changes in the Library and share her plans (and hopes) for future updates.    Following Ms. Snow's presentation we will share some PTSA activity updates.  View the full agenda here We hope to see you there, all are welcome!
Last Day to Submit Artwork for Reflections Contest - Today!
reflections art program There is still time for the artist in your home to submit a piece of art, photograph, short story or music...  we would love to recognize his/her efforts!

Entries are due TODAY - November 6, at 3 PM in the Attendance Office.

Entry forms are available on the Sequoia PTSA website under the Programs / Reflections tab, and full instructions are also available in the College and Career Center.  Questions - email

Football's Final Stand! (for the season)
Don't forget to support our football players this Thursday, November 9th!  Our last game of the season against Menlo was rescheduled to this Thursday due to the North Bay fires.  Come cheer on our junior varsity team at 4:00 PM and varsity team at 7:00 PM.

And for all you parents of graduating seniors... 

Join the Class of 2018 Football Concessions, and support our Safe & Sober Grad Night!  
Senior parents, just a few food and drink donations are needed to support the cause.  Or, can you help sell our famous deluxe hot cocoas, cold and hot mochas and fresh popcorn?   Just a couple more helpers are needed. Thanks to those who have ALREADY contributed this year!

Click here to sign up for a shift or to donate today!  Contact Adrienne Heist with questions.

Help for Families in Need
As you prepare for the holidays, please consider taking a little time to reach out and support Sequoia families in need! 

This year we have two ways you can help before the Thanksgiving Holiday Break: 

We need volunteers to help purchase items for our food baskets this year.  These items need to be brought to the Parent Center (Room 129)  by Tuesday, November 14thSee the sign-up list here! 

The Parent Center could use some GENTLY used clothes and shoes (no undergarments or socks)...for men, women and children of all ages and sizes.  Additionally, there is a need for some GENTLY used blankets in twin, full or queen sizes.  So, if you have time to pull together some items that are no longer being used in your homes, please consider sharing them with our Sequoia community.  

Please be sure that all items are truly GENTLY used and CLEAN when considering them for donation.  We do not want to create an overwhelming situation for our volunteer with sorting, purging and cleaning so please be thoughtful in what you donate.   These donations should be dropped off in the Parent Center by Tuesday, November 14th.  

If you have any questions about either of these programs, please contact Lauren Pachkowski - PTSA President.  

And, please note, our ADOPT-A-FAMILY program will be happening again this year, and will roll out after the November break.

Campus Tours A Success - Rain and Shine!
This past Saturday over 70 guests donned umbrellas to attend Sequoia's Fall Campus Tours, and even in the rain, our campus shines!

Twelve leadership student tour guides and six PTSA parent volunteers gathered in Sequoia's main hall to greet the visitors. Mr. Uhalde gave a brief talk about the tour agenda, and Principal Sean Priest was on hand to answer questions.  As always, the visitors were impressed with our capable student tour guides, and marveled at the beautiful campus. 

Our next tour date will be Saturday, January 27th, so stay tuned for more details, and if you'd like to volunteer, contact us at

Prospective families tour Sequoia's campus with SHS leadership students and parents this past Saturday.
Athletic Director's Reminder
Sportsmanship Night for winter AND spring athletes will be on Monday, November 13th at 6:30 PM in Gym 1.  Everyone who plans to participate in a winter or spring sport MUST attend with a parent.  There will be a presentation by Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt, followed by a workshop put on by the Positive Coaching Alliance.
Sequoia's Fall Musical: Chicago
Tickets Available Now!
Come see Sequoia's fabulous student theatrical performers and musicians in this Tony Award-winning AND Academy Award-winning musical, Chicago!

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband Amos to take the rap...until he finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie. Sent to the Cook County Jail to await trial, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess" Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the "American Dream": fame, fortune and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse.

Performances are Nov. 17-19: Friday and Saturday at 7 PM, and Sunday at 3 PM.  Tickets are available at  This is a show you don't want to miss, so get your tickets before they sell out!
Help Fill the Gym and Your Heart - Dream Club Dinner Tickets Are Available  Now!
Please join Sequoia students, families and faculty for the 8th Annual Dream Club Dinner on November 17th from 6:00-8:30 PM in the Big Gym.  Clear your calendar, open your heart, and get ready to be amazed - this special night is not to be missed!

On-site childcare will be available for kids under 10.  Adults $10, students $5, or purchase a table for $80. See this flyer for details. Questions? Contact Jane Slater at

Have You Bought Yours Yet?
Love Bags are still available for purchase!  These bags are well-made, attractive and make great hostess or birthday gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2018 Safe & Sober Grad Week activities.  

See this flyer for details.  Bags can be ordered at, enter code SEQUOIA.
Class of 2018 - Safe & Sober Grad Night Hornblower Cruise 
As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, we can sit back and reflect on what we are thankful for.   Is one of them your senior? Show them how much they are appreciated -- p urchase tickets for the June 8th grad night!

Tickets are available here for $70.  Questions please contact  Jayne Sungail .
What Is the PTSA?
Think the PTSA is just about fundraising and grad night? Well think again, and consider the impact your membership has on students and families from all around California!


SACRAMENTO - This year, California State PTA took positions on more than 120 bills in the California Legislature, of which 34 were signed and approved - a huge win for all children and families. Each year, California State PTA takes positions on legislation that relates to education, health and welfare of children's lives, as well as legislation that pertains to the running of the association.

"PTA membership supports our advocacy efforts and empowers us to speak up on behalf of all children and families. Our organization has a long history of protecting and supporting our state's most valued assets, our children," said California State PTA Director of Legislation, Lea Darrah.

During the 2017 Legislative Session, two monumental bills supported by California State PTA were signed and approved by Governor Brown:
  • AB 10 (Cristina Garcia): This bill requires any public school, serving grades 6-12 with at least 40 percent of student body of free/reduced lunch, to provide feminine hygiene products free of charge. California State PTA supported this bill as an equity issue to eliminate any barriers for students from fully participating in their studies or sports activities.
  • AB 480 (Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher): This bill adds diapers to the lists of supportive services that would be covered by CalWORKS. California State PTA supported this bill because of the necessity and expense of diapers, and because of our primary goal to advocate and protect the most vulnerable children.
One of the most important roles of California State PTA is to create and support laws that improve the lives of all California children. All of our advocacy efforts center around our core values and resolutions, which are submitted by units, councils, districts or California State PTA's Board of Managers. Learn more at

Have you joined Sequoia's PTSA yet?  Join here!   And check out the PTA perks ( English / Spanish ) that go along with your membership!
In This Issue

Monday, Nov. 6
B day schedule
3 PM - Reflections entries due at the Attendance Office

Tuesday, Nov. 7
7 PM - PTSA meeting, MPR ( agenda here)

Friday, Nov. 10
School holiday - No classes

Monday, Nov. 13
6:30 PM - Winter and Spring Sportsmanship Night, Gym 1

Tuesday, Nov. 14
Thanksgiving donations due in the Parent Center, Room 129

Nov. 17 - Nov. 19
Fri & Sat 7 PM, Sun 3 PM
Fall musical, Chicago! ( tickets here)

Friday, Nov. 17
6 PM - Dream Club Dinner, Gym 1

Wednesday, Nov. 22 thru Friday, Nov. 24
Thanksgiving Holiday - No classes

Wednesday, Dec. 6
7 PM - Choir and Orchestra Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Dec. 7
7 PM - Bands Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Friday, Dec. 22 
Winter break begins

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Parent Education - Events Open to Everyone
ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety - Documentary Film + Panel Discussion 
Thursday, November 9, 2017, 7:00 pm
Carlmont High School - Performing Arts Center (CPAC)
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont 
Join us for a special screening of the new IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a panel discussion with ANGST co-producer Karin Gornik. This powerful film  includes discussions with mental health professionals about the causes of anxiety, as well as help, resources, and tools for students and parents.
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments.

Eduardo Briceño, Co-Founder & CEO, Mindset Works Growth Mindset Parenting: The Myths, the Meanings, the Approaches
Thursday, November 16, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 pm
Menlo-Atherton High School - M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

What is Growth Mindset Parenting? Parents often wonder what they can do to change their child's mindset from fixed to growth. The good news is that mindsets can change, and there are strategies you can use to see a big difference in your student's challenge-seeking behavior. Join us to learn about the latest research in growth mindset - the myths, the meanings, the approaches.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments. 
The Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, M-A PTA, SHSEF, Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series,