February 24, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Health and Wellness

Health and wellness aren't things we can do to adolescents.  I get asked a lot about this. Vaping, in particular, is a topic that frequently arises.  "How are you stopping the kids from vaping?" Sadly, we're not. There is strong evidence that students at Sequoia, along with their peers at most schools, find this unhealthy practice enticing and enjoyable.  We could hire 4-5 additional staff members to patrol bathrooms, enact random backpack and locker searches, and increase consequences for violations of   CA Education Codes 48900 C, H, or J (mandatory suspension? 4-hours of scraping gum from under desks?).  We could devote double, triple, or quadruple the amount of time and energy we already spend patrolling and resolving vaping incidents on our campus -- all in the name of promoting healthy choices.  We have a different strategy.

Having worked with teenagers for 20 years now, I'm confident the police-and-punish approach would be limited changing behavior.  Vaping is a health topic. Would you suspend someone for bulimia? Teenagers are developmentally geared to seek independence and choice.  Thus, the number one way to ensure they make an unhealthy choice is to try to make the healthy choice for them. Our only hope is through empowerment.  As a school, we empower through education.

This is the philosophy underlying our annual Health Conference.  For the past 14 years, Sequoia's Teen Resource Center has organized students groups and partnered with community agencies to put on a school-wide health fair.  Students gathered in one of the gyms, visited table displays, talked to experts, played games, and left with information on a variety of wellness topics. This year, we have re-imagined the event as a conference, providing more in-depth learning and choice for students.  Building on the schoolwide campaign begun last year by Sequoia Black Student Union (BSU) to educate students about the dangers of vaping, a big theme of this year's event is education about tobacco and e-cigarettes.  

Most adults now know that vaping is dangerous.  Studies show, however, that adolescents still largely perceive vaing to be less harmful than other tobacco delivery methods.  From what they tell us in studies such as the   National Youth Tobacco Survey , they're also unaware of how susceptible their developing brains are to the streamlined delivery of e-cigarettes.  Adolescents talk about a trusted adult in their lives using e-cigarettes and enjoying the flavors marketed by the tobacco industry.  They are under siege. Suspensions and security guards are not going to help them. Accountability is important, yes, but only hand-in-hand with education to provide them with both power and autonomy: what teens crave most.

The Sequoia Health Conference will take place on March 2.  Other breakout session topics include: emergency preparedness, talking to your parents about mental health, digital wellbeing, consent and boundaries, body positivity, nutrition, mindfulness and yoga practices, and confronting stereotypes of LGBTQ+ students.  In addition to the BSU, student groups such as the Youth Advisory Board, The Gender/Sexuality Alliance, and the Health Careers Academy will lead sessions. Community partners such as Common Sense Media, Health Connected, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and Safe Space will also be on hand.

In addition to vaping, eating disorders, unhealthy relationships, poor eating habits, lack of sleep, excessive screen time, and low self-esteem are very real dangers to our students.  We can't make them go away easily, but it is our hope that with consistent messaging and a preponderance of information, we can empower more students to be our allies in looking out for the best interests of our community members.

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
Don't Miss Out! Sequoia Booster's Annual Crab Feed at Hiller Aviation is on Saturday, March 21, 2020
You don't want to miss out on getting your tickets to the 11th Annual Sequoia Boosters Crab Feed!  This event sells out every year so make sure to purchase your tickets early.

Click here to purchase tickets to the Crab Feed hosted on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos.

The Sequoia Crab Feed is one of the main fundraisers of the year for Sequoia Boosters, which helps fund equipment and uniforms for Sequoia Athletics.

We know that not everyone can attend, but if you still want to help us in our biggest fundraiser of the year, consider volunteering with the team, or donating something.

In order to make our silent and live auctions successful, we are seeking donations (it's tax deductible!).   Click on this link to donateWe are especially looking for restaurant gift certificates and bottles of wine valued at $20 or more for the "Wine Pull" game.  Here are some other donation ideas:

* Gift cards (restaurants, services, or Costco/Smart & Final to offset our food costs)
* Memorabilia, sporting event tickets
* Hosted parties (dinners, Moms & Margaritas night, bowling night)
* Getaway vacation homes.
* Have airline miles to spare?  Let's bundle them with some of our live items!

We are still looking for volunteers, including check-in/check-out helpers, item fulfillment, clean-up supervision, someone to make pasta sauce, someone to help with dessert, and a roving drink ticket seller.   Click on this link to volunteer and let your friends know about it.

Senior Families: Grad Night Ticket Price Increases Tomorrow!

Just a friendly reminder to buy your ticket for Grad Night. Join us as we Rock the Boat during this fun-filled, memory-making evening. The ticket price increases tomorrow, February 25th. Tickets are selling fast, so get yours today!  Buy your ticket online today

Come out and ROCK THE BOAT!
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, 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.

SUHSD Career Fair at Skyline College Seeks Volunteer Interviewers
If you have ever been on an interview or a hiring committee, this is the perfect volunteer opportunity for you!  Sign Up Here!

What: Mock Interviewers Needed

When: Tuesday, April 7 and Wednesday, April 8 (Sequoia students will attend on Wednesday)

Where: Skyline College, 3300 College Drive, San Bruno, CA.

Times: 10:40 - 11:25 a.m., 11:35 a.m. - 12:20 p.m., and 12:30 - 1:15 p.m.

The primary purpose of the Career Fair is to act as a capstone learning experience for students who have prepared for the event by writing a personal resume, practicing job interview skills, learning about proper business etiquette, and to continue exploring career education pathways.

Please join us for 1, 2 or 3 hours on either day of the event.  We will have approximately 130 students each day in 3 rotations.  This is an amazing opportunity for students to practice their interviewing skills in a safe and relaxed environment and many then go on to land important first jobs for the summer after their junior year.

grantRolling Applications for PTSA Mini-Grants are Open!
Through the support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF), the PTSA is able to offer financial  grants to enhance the excellent education offered at Sequoia High School. 

These  grants are valued up to $750 and are designed to encourage creative approaches to learning.  Students, teachers, and staff may apply.  Currently, there is $7,000 remaining to be awarded!
Applications will be accepted online until Friday, April 10, 2020.

To apply for a grant through the school website:
Click on PTSA under the "Parents and Community" tab 
Under the "Quicklinks" title, click on "Sequoia PTSA website"
Click "Programs"
Click " Mini- Grants"
Click "Application and Requirements"

Or click here for a direct link to the program.

Please contact our Mini-Grant Committee Chairs DeeDee Clarke and Karen Latina with any questions.
Princess Project and Prom Gallery...Coming Soon!

Excited about Prom on Friday, April 25th? We are too! SHSEF and the Family Center want to make sure that all Sequoia students can participate without worrying about the cost or stress of buying or renting formal clothing.
Parents, here are four ways you can help:
The Princess Project of Silicon Valley  has thousands of beautiful, free dresses in all sizes at their Cupertino "store". Their dress giveaways are on March 7, 8, 11, 14, 15 and 20th. Please visit their website  to schedule an appointment. All teens are welcome. Please note that you will need to provide your student ID, an address (can be home or school address), and a signed waiver (with a parent signature if you are under 18). For more info, please email Sarah Sorensen: .

Sequoia's Prom Gallery will be open on campus the week before spring break, on March 24th and 25th. Please mark your calendar! We'll have free dresses, free and reduced-price Men's Wearhouse tux rentals, and loads of accessories for students to choose from. Dresses, accessories, make up and more will be in Room 128. Tux rentals will be set up in the Family Center (Room 129). Details (gallery hours and optional appointment times) coming soon. Please stay tuned!
The Prom Gallery depends on generous donations from our local community. Clearing out your closet, or know someone who is? Please donate your formal wear to help our young men and women! We need dresses, jewelry, shawls, wraps, dress shoes, clutches, etc. All items must be stylish and formal enough for prom, in great condition , and completely clean. (Torn or stained items will not be accepted.) We welcome all sizes and styles! Please deliver your donation by March 20th to one of our three convenient locations :
  • The Family Center (Sequoia Room 129), weekdays only, 7am-3:30pm.
  • Redwood City Home (355 King St., RWC), weekdays or weekends, 8am-9pm. Questions about this drop off site? Please email:
  • San Carlos Home (144 Belvedere Ave, SC): weekdays or weekends, 8am-9pm. Questions about this drop off site? Please email:

As hard as we try to stock all sizes, some of our students-in-need won't be able to find an outfit at the Prom Gallery. You can help by donating a gift card to Ross or Men's Wearhouse* ! (While many of our students have found nice dresses at Ross for around $50, tux rentals can cost students over $100!) Please visit this online signup  to donate any size gift card, delivering it to the Family Center by March 20th. Every dollar helps!
* A big shout out to Men’s Wearhouse in Redwood City  for donating free and reduced-cost tux rentals to our Prom Gallery this year.
Please visit this online signup  to volunteer to help with our Prom Gallery preparations!
For more info about donating or volunteering , please contact Sarah Sorensen: .

For more info about free or reduced-price prom tickets , please visit the Family Center (Room 129), email Elvira Macias , or call (650) 367-9780 ext. 63110 between 7am-3:30pm.
Sequoia is committed to making sure all our kids can enjoy a fun and safe prom! Your generous, thoughtful support will light up a grateful student's face this spring! Thank you! ¡Gracias!

Sequoia HIghlights
A "Balmy" Valentine's Day for our Teachers & Staff

Sequoia's teachers and staff found a little Valentine's Day treat in their mailboxes last Friday.  Jenn DiGrande, PTSA Teacher Appreciation Coordinator and her team made sure everyone felt a little love with a note and a stick of bee friendly lip balm. 
Teachers enjoyed greeting each other all day with Jenn's " balmy" pun.  Principal Sean Priest offered a special thanks declaring, "Jenn, you're the BOMB, for making us feel so appreciated!"  Thanks Jenn!

Congratulations, Sequoia JV Parli and Varsity LD Debaters!

Sequoia's JV Parliamentary Debate teams competed at the Stanford Invitational in early February. Helena Landels + Jackson Bae and Daniel Csuti  +  Alex Cottrell went 4-1, with both teams advancing to elimination rounds. Helena+Jackson advanced all the way to the quarterfinals, marking the second time this season where a Sequoia freshman team has reached the quarterfinals at one of the nation's premier tournaments. Other outstanding JV Parli performances included Alex Chang + Ethan Bae and Skylar Wiggin + Keenan Liou who both finished 3-2. Sequoia students received outstanding speaker scores at this highly competitive tournament that included hundreds of students from across the US: Nicholas Lawrence landed in 19th place, Helena Landels 21st, and Nicholas Kwok 50th. On the Lincoln Douglas side, varsity debater Alyssa Sawyer went 4-2, advancing to elimination rounds and finishing 22nd in speaking scores.

Support Sequoia Women's Lacrosse Team!

First full week of school in awhile! Weeks can get long, why not go out to dinner Thursday night & double whammy support  Sequoia Girls Lacrosse team while you're eating a Beermeister burger, SuperVegan salad or a Dreamsicle float with Parmesan Garlic Fries!

The Sequoia Girls Lacrosse team is fundraising to help cover the costs of their upcoming season and specifically a trip to Pasadena, Rose Bowl Jamboree tournament. First Sequoia Girls sports team to travel!  Please support us if you're interested in helping this incredible program which builds character, teaches teamwork and helping each student to be their best.

Please join us to dine or take out but don't forget to say "Sequoia Women's Lacrosse" before you pay.

Thank YOU! Go Sequoia!

In This Issue

Tuesday, Feb. 25  
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Boosters Meeting, Staff Lounge Rm. 233
Tuesday, Feb. 25  
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting, SUHSD Office on James Ave. - Board Rm.
Saturday, Feb. 29   
8:45 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Conference for Immigrants and Allies, Sequoia High School 

Monday, Mar. 2
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Spring Sportsmanship Night, Location TBD
Tuesday, Mar. 3
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Thursday, Mar. 5  
6:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting, SUHSD Office on James Ave. - Board Rm.
Friday & Saturday,  
Mar. 6  & 7 
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Sunday, Mar. 8 
3:00 - 6:00 p.m.
Winter Play " The Mousetrap,"
Carrington Hall 
Quick Links
Support Sequoia All Year

Copy and paste SHSEF's AmazonSmile link below onto your browser bar for quick access to future contributions while shopping!

It's Always the Right Time... be a part of the Sequoia community!

The Sentinel 
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 Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

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.

Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.

Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series,

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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.
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Your Permanent Record:
Defining Healthy Boundaries in the Digital Age
Devorah Heitner, PhD
Founder of Raising Digital Natives
Wednesday March 11, 2020, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
JUST ADDED!  Your Permanent Record: Defining Healthy Boundaries in the Digital Age  is about the ways we as parents are teaching kids about reputation and privacy. Today's parents are charged with a new role as the guardians of their children's and teen's online privacy, but many are unprepared for the job.

Dr. Devorah Heitner, an expert of kids' media and technology, is the author of  Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive!) in their Digital World 

Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.


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.