January 20, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Be Inspired... 
"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'" - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
A student approached Vice Principal Sophia Olliver and me recently with despair in her eyes.  Other students hustled to their classes at the end of lunch.  The sound of the minute bell, reminiscent of Thomas the Train and semi-effective in converting the students' trots to gallops, was imminent.  "Can you help me with the vending machine?" she asked.

"Maybe, but probably not," I replied, managing expectations. "Let's go check it out together."

As I suspected, she was a victim of the dreaded hanging snack.  The cookies she had selected had failed to drop.  She had been in a teacher's room at lunch getting help and was grabbing a quick bite to get her through the end of the day.  I reached into my empty pockets and looked at Ms. Olliver, considering how I might be able to get the student some food and off to class on time. "Ding-Ding-Ding-Ding" -- one minute left.  

Ms. Olliver turned to a young man walking up to the vending machine and asked him what he was going to purchase.  An item from the same column might knock the hanging cookies loose.  He told us he was planning on purchasing a bag of chips on the opposite side of the display, then looked at the girl, looked at the machine, and offered, "Why don't I just get the cookies, that way we can both eat."

He became our hero for the day.  His kindness was nonchalant and reflexive.  "Come on!  Do you believe we get to work here?!?" smiled Ms. Olliver as we walked away.  

I've been thinking about this moment, putting it into the context of the countless other acts of kindness, generosity, and selflessness I observe in my role.  The words above from Dr. King underscore the values of our community in so many ways, informing how our teachers orient themselves professionally, how our students treat one another, how families step up to the call for volunteers or our ambitious SHSEF annual goal .

We ask our students, "How was your day?" hoping to hear something exciting, inspiring, honest, and authentic.  Instead, we sometimes get a shrug or a monosyllable.  The layers implicit in the myriad ways of saying "fine" give our expert ears a sense of whether to dig deeper or move on.  A different question we might ask is this: "Tell me a story about how you made someone else's day better?" From what I've seen over the past nine years, we could fill quite a book together.

The choices students make when nobody is watching speak to their character, and give me confidence in the future choices they'll make when, as Dr. King says, "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right."

Have a great week!


Mark Your Calendars
Student Art Show
Sequoia student artists are kicking-off the semester with a new show in the Powell Art Gallery.  Work from Art 1, IB Art, Drawing and Painting, Digital Photography, and Ceramics will be on display January 21 - 31.  Stop by at lunch to see the many fine pieces of 2D and 3D artwork!

Note: The Powell Gallery is open during the school day lunch-periods.  All visitors to the campus during the school day (including the Powell Art Gallery) will first need to check-in with the AVP office for a visitor's pass.
Spring Sports - Is Your Student Ready? 
Badminton, Baseball, Boys Golf, Boys Tennis, Lacrosse, Softball, Swimming & Diving, and Track & Field 
All Spring sports will start on February 3, 2020.  If you have not already done so, please make sure his/her physical is signed-off by their doctor and cleared via SportsNet by Friday, January 24.   
You can print the physical form for the doctor off SportsNet and upload the completed copy back into your account.  Click here for registration instructions and here for information about tryouts.  

Get Ready for Winter Formal

This year's Winter Formal will be held at the Fox Theater on Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 8:00 - 11:00 p.m.  The theme will be " Winter Waltz".  Please click here to read more about Sequoia's policies for the dance.
Tickets for the Winter Formal will be available at school starting January 24, 2020 with a one-day sale at the following prices:

Purple Card - $25
PAL - $35
Standard - $40

Regular ticket sales will be from January 27-31 at the following prices:

Purple Card - $35
PAL - $45
Standard - $50

Tickets at the door on the night of the event will be $60.

Interested in the Middle College Program at Sequoia?

The SUHSD Middle College program at Cañada College is now accepting applications for Fall 2020.  Middle College is a collaboration between SUHSD and Cañada College, and students earn both high school and college credits, enabling them to complete their high school requirements and earn college credit simultaneously.  All classes are held at Cañada College.
Interested students should speak to their counselor and attend one of the Parent/Student information nights on:
Tuesday, January 28
Tuesday, February 11
Tuesday, February 25
Thursday, March 5 
All meetings will be held at the SUHSD Office at 480 James Ave, Redwood City in the Board Room from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
All applications must be submitted by March 20, 2020.
Please email Yesenia Haro, Cañada Middle College Staff Assistant or call her at 650-306-3155 with any questions.

Media Center's Newsletter

The Media Center's latest newsletter is hot off the press--make that Ms. Snow's computer!  Ms. Snow, Sequoia's Media Specialist, sends this Guide to teachers and staff monthly.  The newsletter has links to helpful resources that teachers can share with their students including information about the change in approach to summer reading in 2020.  Check it out!

Math Tutorials
Is your child having difficulty understanding certain concepts in math?  Sequoia offers a series of free after-school tutorial sessions and we urge parents to talk with their students about using this free resource.  Please click on this flyer to see the schedule.

Junior Families: Urgent Call for Donations and Volunteers for Upcoming Quad Game Basketball Concessions

concessions Attention Class of 2021 Families!  Our class fundraising season is kicking off and we need your help!  Donations and volunteers are still needed for the concessions stand at three upcoming Quad Basketball Games on January 24, January 31, and February 7.  Money raised will help fund graduation activities for the Class of 2021. 

Please sign up to donate items or volunteer to help staff concessions during these game nights.

Questions?  Contact Jen Pedrotti.

CAPTA Scholarships for Seniors
The California PTA provides two annual scholarships to seniors:
  • $750 Volunteer Service Scholarship:  This scholarship recognizes graduating seniors for their volunteer service in schools and communities, allowing them to register for courses at accredited colleges, universities, trade or technical schools. Applicants must be PTA members graduating from a California high school between January 1 and June 30 of the current academic year.
  • $500 Dr. Ralph E. White Graduating Senior Scholarship:  Honoring the volunteer and public-service legacy of Dr. Ralph E. White and his wife, Eleanor, this additional scholarship provides $500 each to two successful applicants of the Volunteer Service Scholarship who intend to pursue a career in a medical field.
The applications for these scholarships are due by February 1, 2020.  To learn more about the these scholarships, click here
Sequoia HIghlights
Thank You, Sequoia Community, for Supporting Sequoia's 2019 Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project!

Presents neatly organized for Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project recipients.

Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project Organizer Elisa Niño-Sears flanked by volunteers during a sorting session.
SHSEF and Sequoia's Family Center would like to thank the over 175 donors in our community -- parents, students, teachers, staff, grandparents, alumni, neighbors, religious organizations, businesses and more -- who all came together to fulfill the over 660 wishes in our 2019 Adopt-a-Family Holiday Project.  Thanks to you, a record-setting 110 students and their families felt Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit, enjoying a healthier, happier winter break.  We are deeply grateful for our generous community, super proud of our Sequoia students and families, and excited to continue supporting them to reach their goals in 2020.
Special thanks to:
  • volunteers Erika Pretell, Megan Miller, Paula Ebejer-Moffitt, Brett Gardner, Barba Kandarian, Eva Iglesias, Lisa Hane, Yolanda Mendez, Cynthia Wiggin, and Kate Blanchard for their months of help interviewing students and families to assess needs and develop our master gift wish list.
  • St. Peter's Episcopal Church and Church of the Epiphany Outreach for adopting 10 students.
  • Da Vinci Marble's employees for adopting 40 students.
  • Chain Reaction and Greystar for donating several bicycles and cycling gear for our students who requested bikes to commute to school.
  • John McAfee State Farm Insurance and Redwood City Rotary Club for donating bike helmets and bike locks.
  • volunteer Kelly Baird and her team at VISA who donated 40 gift bags filled with fun goodies for students to enjoy over the break, including a $20 VISA gift card, plus 20 handmade blankets. 
  • volunteers Margaret Brockman, Paula Ebejer-Moffitt, Saba Malik, Tammy Bene, Tami Gordon, Lauren Pachkowski, Kathy Ishibashi, Erika Pretell, Michelle Chang, Becky Morris, Lisa Keamy, Anne Scholes, Emilie Nolf, Lisa Miller, Carolyn Arbuckle, Jessica Rosenberg, Maria Martin, Kristine Webb, Shannon Schadler, Katherine Sherman, Heather Hansen, Linda Solon, Janette McAfee, Sylvia Erickson, Michelle Chang, Sarah Sorensen, Christy Fletcher, Heather Alexander, and Cynthia DeTata for their tireless work organizing, prepping, and distributing hundreds of gifts.
  • volunteers Adriana Agustin, Ana Jimenez, Alma Rojas, America Reyes, Ana Alvarado, Ana Morales, Ana Murillo, Ana Porix, Bendra Beltran, Catalina Jimenez, Celia Yanes, Claudia Flores, Delia Fuentes, Dora Merida, Eva Villegas, Gabriela Salgado, Gabriela Sepulveda, Gladis Lozano, Imelda Vargas, Irene Sandoval, Jeanette Medina, Josefina Gonzalez, Guadalupe Mancilla, Ana Morales, Juana Pirir, Laura Mendoza, Liduvina Cisneros, Lorena Sanchez, Loreto Vargas, Lucinda Lopez, Mailin Villeda, Maria Apolinar, Maria Carmen Sanchez, Maria Graciela Perez, Maria Mendoza, Marisela Gomez, Marisol Pineda, Marlene Chacon, Mireya Montano, Rosa Molina, Rosalba Rodriguez, Rubi Robles, Sandra Ramos, Sandra Salguero, Silvia Aguilar, Silvia Macias, Teresa Cruz, Valdemar Chavez, Wilmer Mejia, Yesenia Agosto, Zury Morataya, Thelma Bonilla, Alejandra Talavera for preparing the delicious dinner, and the Niño-Sears and DeTata Families for helping to host our ELAC Family Holiday Celebration on December 19, 2019.
  • The team at Project Glimmer for donating over 100 beauty product party favors for our girls and moms attending the celebration.
Many of you have asked how you can continue to support these hard working students and families-in-need throughout the school year.  Please consider making a donation to SHSEF so that we can continue to support students and families in critical need,  ensuring that every Sequoia student has the opportunity to reach his or her highest potential.   Every dollar helps.  Thank you again! 
Our best wishes for a wonderful 2020!  ¡Nuestros mejores deseos por un próspero 2020!
~ Elvira Macias, Bilingual Parent Liaison, Sequoia Family Center,
~ Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair,

Community Dialogue is a New Year Success!

Participants gathered in groups to discuss solutions to stressors within our students' lives.
Over sixty parents, students, teachers, and administrators gathered last Tuesday evening in Sequoia's MPR to eat, laugh, and exchange ideas on how to help ourselves and our students identify and deal with stress both in and out of school.

This event was the 10th Community Dialogue sponsored by Redwood City 2020 and Sequoia's ELAC and PTSA.  What was most inspiring about the event was that in spite of the diversity of attendees -- moms, dads, newly arrived, Sequoia alum, etc., etc., the commonality of our experiences and our desire to support our kids as they grow into strong, self-assured high school students, brought us together.

When the notification for our next community dialogue hits the Sentinel in January of 2021, we hope you will join us.  It is a great way to start each new year!
ESL Students Win RWC Mural Competition -- Join the Team for the Grand Opening This Sunday 
A mock-up of the mural for the Youth Mural Alley Project competition. 
Yasmin Hernandez Galicia working hard on an art piece for her after-school art class.
During the fall semester, sixteen students from Sequoia's English as a Second Language (ESL) classes participated in a pilot bilingual after-school art class with Fine Artist Laurus Myth (, with support from 
Stanford undergrad Analaura Amezquita Calam, ATLAS Director Elisa Niño-Sears, as well as the Redwood City Parks and Arts Commission, the CA Arts Council, and our very own Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF).  In addition to learning beginning art techniques, critique, and theory, a team of nine students led by Laurus Myth and Suzanne Gayle developed an art submission for the 2019 Youth Mural Alley Project competition.
The submitted mural titled "Pieces of Our Lives" portrays their unique visions within one world -- balance in nature, commentary on anti-smoking, perspectives on their immigrant journeys, and their loves and fears within old and new communities are some of the pieces in this puzzle mural.  Their mural proposal was selected as one of ten winners from a large pool of school and youth groups from across the county and will be on display for nine months in the alley behind the Sequoia Hotel.
Sequoia High School and the City of Redwood City, in collaboration with the Sequoia Hotel, are pleased to invite you to the grand opening of the Youth Mural Alley Project on  Sunday, January 26th at 4:00 p.m . in the Main St. parking lot behind the Sequoia Hotel.  Students and team leaders who created the selected mural masterpieces will be honored.  Please join us to celebrate the newest additions to public art in our community.  RSVP for the free event here.  Refreshments will be served.

In This Issue
Monday, Jan. 20
No School
MLK Day 
Tuesday, Jan. 21
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Booster's Meeting, Staff Rm.
Friday, Jan. 24
3:15 p.m.- JV Girls 
4:45 p.m. - JV Boys
6:15 p.m. - V Girls
7:45 p.m. - V Boys
BB Quad Game vs. Carlmont,
Gym 1  
Tuesday, Jan. 28
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting 
Board Rm,
SUHSD Office on James Ave.  
Thursday, Jan. 30
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Parent Ed: The Self Driven Child, MA-PAC, Atherton 
Friday, Jan. 31
3:15 p.m.- JV Girls 
4:45 p.m. - JV Boys
6:15 p.m. - V Girls
7:45 p.m. - V Boys
BB Quad Game vs. Woodside,
Gym 1   
Saturday, Feb. 1
8:00 - 11:00 p.m.
Winter Formal,
Fox Theater, RWC
Monday, Feb. 3  
First Day of Spring Sports
Tuesday, Feb. 4 
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 6  
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Senior Community College Fair, MPR  
Friday, Feb. 7 
3:15 p.m.- JV Girls 
4:45 p.m. - JV Boys
6:15 p.m. - V Girls
7:45 p.m. - V Boys
BB Quad Game vs. M-A,
Gym 1 
Monday, Feb. 10 
No School
Staff Development Day 
Tuesday, Feb. 11 
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting 
Board Rm,
SUHSD Office on James Ave.
Feb. 17 - 21 
No School
Mid-Winter Break 
Quick Links
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The Sentinel 
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 Parent Education

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The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives
Dr. William Stixrud & Ned Johnson, Co-Authors
Thursday, January 30, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School,
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
The Self-Driven Child offers a combination of cutting-edge brain science, the latest discoveries in behavioral therapy, and case studies of kids and teens co-authors Bill Stixrud, PhD, and Ned Johnson have helped over the years to teach you how to set your child on the real road to success.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Creating Gender Inclusive Environments for Children and Teens
Joel Baum, Senior Director for Professional Development, Gender Spectrum  
Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Woodside High School
Multi-Use Room (MUR)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside
As one of the most fundamental aspects of self, gender impacts everybody--particularly children and teens.  
Gender Spectrum's mission is to create a gender-inclusive world for all children and youth.  Today's young people have significantly different understandings of gender than previous generations, with consequences for children, families, organizations, and institutions. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
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Parenting Through the College Admission Process
Alice Kleeman, former M-A College Advisor &  Jim Rawlins, Director of Admissions, University of Oregon
Thursday, March 5, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton 
In a lively armchair conversation, Parenting Through the College Admission Process brings Alice Kleeman, former M-A College Advisor, and Jim Rawlins, Director of Admissions at the University of Oregon to the M-A stage.  Alice and Jim will share their views from the high school, college, and parent perspectives.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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LIKE: The Impact of Social Media On Our Lives
Documentary Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Tuesday, March 17, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Carlmont High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont
Join us for an exclusive showing of LIKE, the new IndieFlix Original documentary that explores the impact of social media on our lives. By understanding the impact of technology on the brain, we can learn how to navigate it more safely with our teens.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!   Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation (film subtitles) will be available.  Film showing to be followed by a panel discussion.
Carlmont Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot , M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series.

Community Events

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day at Volvo

Engineering companies and organizations are opening their doors to young girls and non-binary identifiers, grades 9-12.  The goal is to inspire the next generation of girls who want to become engineers.  This year, IGE day will be held on Friday, April 3, 2020 (during Spring Break) and we invite you to participate and join Volvo Cars at their Sunnyvale R&D office for a day of fun and learning.  Click here for flyer.
Isha Bhatt will chaperone and can drive up to six girls to and from the event.  Please contact her for to register and for further questions.