March 18, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Sequoia Celebrates Latinx Community
Latin rhythms transformed the MPR last Friday. 
The senior section of this year's yearbook will contain, per usual, quotes or witticisms beneath each student's portrait.  References to The Office , existentialism, and the Harry Potter universe abound.  As do the themes of triumph and "We out!" that you might expect.  Sequoia being the alma mater of Kenny Ortega, there are always two or three remarks about how this place is (lamentably?) nothing like High School Musical.


I'm here to report that last Friday's 4th annual Ritmo Latino Dance came pretty close to capturing the spirit of High School Musical or other wholesome teen movies.  All smiles, dance moves, and songs -- a break from the dramatic tension so prevalent in the lives of our students.  

If there had to be a plot line, it would be that the event was canceled at the last minute in September 2018 when smoke from nearby fires rendered the air quality too unhealthy for all school events (one of saddest decisions I've had to make).  The students from the Latino Student Union, having prepared food, secured a DJ, bought decorations, and advertised aggressively, were justifiably despondent.

The Ritmo Latino Dance is an event with a mission.  As in any adolescent environment, divisions exist among students at Sequoia.  Maybe not as hackneyed and over-the-top as the jocks versus nerds dynamic we're familiar with from 80s movies, but social status is real.  Within Sequoia's Latinx community, there are a dearth of opportunities for "newcomer" students (i.e., those who have arrived within the last one to four years) and second-, third-, or fourth-generation Latinx students.  With limited opportunities to interact in an academic environment because of the high number of "sheltered" English Language Development classes (which take up most of newcomers' schedules), it can be a challenge for these two social circles to overlap.

Payaso de Rodeo , La Chona , and Chico del Apartamento 512 (Selena!!!) provide a common ground on which these two worlds meet.  Some years ago, a few very perceptive students and teachers realized that if we played the right music and put out the right food, we could build a bridge within our school and promote community.  It's been one of my favorite Sequoia events ever since.

Teen Musical checklist:
  • Upbeat soundtrack
  • Group choreography
  • Fashionable dress
  • The quiet guy who inexplicably busts-out mind-blowing dance moves when the right song kicks in.
  • The surprise invitation to dance from a student in one social circle to a student from the other (the chaperones all saw this one and approved enthusiastically)
  • A VERY happy ending which included almost all attendees staying after the lights went up to clean up the MPR (ok, that one doesn't really happen in teen movies).
Ritmo Latino 2019 was indeed a worthy celebration of Sequoia's culture and a tribute to the kind of wholesome old-fashioned fun I hear so many alumni describe nostalgically when they talk about their time here.  Hats off to the students who worked hard (and persisted) to bring the event together.  Props to the teacher advisors who provided guidance along the way, with special shout-outs to Tessa Yeager, Carlos Garcia, Jane Slater, Carol Lopez (and her husband Mark from the SUHSD Maintenance Department), Susie Bass, Stephanie Weden, and Sophia Olliver for the chaperoning efforts on Friday night.  It was a blast!

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
Reminder: Sequoia Crab Feed is This Saturday, March 23rd at the Hiller Aviation Museum
For those lucky ticket holders, here is your reminder to attend the 10th annual Sequoia Crab Feed at Hiller Aviation Museum, San Carlos starting at 6:00 p.m.  But don't worry if you don't have a ticket.  You can still help out because we are looking for volunteers for the following areas:
  • Roving people to help sell raffle and drink tickets
  • Clean-up after the event ends at 10:00 p.m.
  • Check-out cashiers to help by looking up accounts, verifying purchases, and registering or confirming payment
If you have a service like hosting a taco party or baking cupcakes for a party, we are also looking for last minute donations.  Use this link to donate items - Donations!
Spring Music Concerts!
music notes
Sequoia's Spring Music Concerts are coming up! Jazz Ensemble and both concert bands will take the stage on Tuesday, March 26 with metal and Motown hits, music from Superman and Game of Thrones, and classics like "Hard to Handle" and "How High the Moon." 
Wednesday, March 27 features Sequoia's Orchestra and Choir.  Orchestra will be playing some exciting selections while choir  will perform songs and arrangements by Joseph Hadyn and Pentatonix, including selections by the Sequoia Treble Clefs.  Both concerts start at 7:00 p.m. in Carrington Hall, and tickets are $5 at the door.   
Sequoia High School Welcomes All 
Sequoia's annual Open House will take place on Thursday, March 28 starting a t 6:30 p.m.  Come tour the school, take a peek at our beautiful new Media Center, say hello to our fantastic teachers and administrators, and find out what is happening in the classrooms.  There will be music from the band and IB art on display.
Specific schedule and details to follow soon! 
Please Join Us in Celebrating this Year's Reflections Participants!
Reception: Tuesday, April 9, 6:30 p.m. 
Location: Multi-Purpose Room
Come view participants' artwork, meet the artists, and enjoy light refreshments.  At 7:00 p.m., we will honor all Reflections participants and announce the winners who advanced to the district and state competitions at the PTSA meeting immediately following the reception.
Please see the entries that advanced to the district level here.

IB Test Schedule
IB exams are quickly approaching.  They will run from May 3 - May 24, 2019.  For information on testing, please visit the Sequoia IB page on our school website.
You will find information on the following topics:
  • 2019 IB Exam Schedule
  • IB Exam Tips & Rules
  • Sending IB Scores to Colleges
  • Getting IB Results
  • AP Exam Info

Please review the information with your student to help prepare them.  Also, please know that May is a very stressful time for students in the IB Program so give your students as much encouragement and support as possible. Thank you.


~ Lisa McCahon, IB Coordinator

Opportunities: Volunteer, Donate, Scholarships, Jobs
Donate or Help at Staff Appreciation Coffee Cart

We need your help to support the PTSA coffee cart!  Every year, on the morning following the Spring Open House, we provide tasty breakfast treats to show our appreciation for our Sequoia staff & teachers.
Open House means late nights for our teachers and staff, so our they really appreciate being perked up.  Please consider  signing-up  to help make this event special for our hard-working Sequoia team on Friday morning, March 29, by either contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages. 
Help Proctor IB and AP Exams
Are you looking for a way to get involved at Sequoia that will only take a few hours of  your time?  Here's your chance: Help proctor IB or AP exams.  It's an easy and really  important role.  There are three weeks of exam sessions scheduled between May 3rd and May 24th If your student will be participating in the IB program at some point and you can be available during the day, the expectation is to proctor at least once each year.
Please help us fill the 107 proctoring spots. The school relies on parents and guardians in order to administer these exams which have great benefit for students. It is also a great way for you to check out what an IB exam is like for your student!

Parents may proctor an IB exam their student is taking, but please check with your
student first to be sure he or she would be comfortable with this. IB proctors must be standing and circulating the room the entire exam.

Sequoia is an IB school that offers AP exams for some students. According to the AP rules, you
may not proctor an AP exam that your student is taking. Also, the AP rules allow a
proctor to sit during part of the exam.

We're using to organize our upcoming IB/AP volunteer proctor sign-ups. Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1) Click this link to see our SignUp.
2) Review the options listed and choose the spot(s) you like.
3) Sign up! It's Easy - you will NOT need to register an account or keep a password on

After signing up, you will be contacted via email by Elisa Nino-Sears, Sequoia's Volunteer Coordinator. There is a quick and simple clearance process for all volunteers placed in academic settings with students.

IB FUN FACT: There are 2997 IB Diploma Schools in 153 countries around the world.

AP Contact: IVP Office: Kristin Stout 
IB Contact: IB Coordinator: Lisa McCahon
Friday, March 22 is Last Day to Nominate a Purple Patriot!

The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is soliciting nominations for its annual Purple Patriot Award.  Recipients will receive a framed certificate as well as have their name inscribed on a perpetual trophy on permanent display at the high school.
The Purple Patriot Award is an annual award instituted to honor both individuals and organizations who have demonstrated outstanding service or provided a significant benefit directly to Sequoia High School.  Nominees may be from Sequoia High School or the community at large.
Please indicate the nominee's individual name or organization name, and why the nominee should receive this award.  Be specific about the nominee's role in directly providing the service or benefit to Sequoia High School and explain in detail what the service or benefit was.
Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Sequoia High School Alumni Association, P. O. Box 2534, Redwood City, CA 94064, e-mailed, or placed in the Sequoia High School Alumni Association mailbox near the Principal's office no later than Friday, March 22.  If you have any questions, please contact Ken Rolandelli
Prom is Around the Corner - April 12, 2019 - Make it Possible for Every Sequoia Student! 
Here are four ways you can help:
Sequoia's Prom Gallery will be open the week before spring break, on March 26, 27, and 28 during lunch, 7th period and after school.  All students (all genders) can visit the Family Center in Room 129 to sign up for an appointment at the Gallery.  We'll have over a hundred free dresses, many suits and tuxes, and loads of accessories for students to choose from.  For more info, contact Elvira Macias  or call (650) 367-9780 ext. 63110 between 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Time to clean out your closets!  We need dresses, suits, tuxedos, ties, jewelry, shawls, wraps, dress shoes, clutches, cuff-links, etc.  All items must be formal enough for prom, in great condition , and completely clean.   (We do not have the funds to mend or dry clean.)  All sizes and styles accepted! Donations accepted March 4 - 20 to one of our three convenient locations :
  • The Family Center (Sequoia Room 129), weekdays only, 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Redwood City Home (81 Iris St, RWC): weekdays or weekends, 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.  Questions about this drop-off site? Please email Erika Pretell.
  • San Carlos Home (144 Belvedere Ave, SC): weekdays or weekends, 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Questions about this drop-off site?  Please email Sarah Sorensen.
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 sign-up to donate any size gift card.  Every dollar helps!
* Kudos to Men's Wearhouse in Redwood City  for donating free and reduced-cost tux rentals to our Prom Gallery this year.
Visit this online signup  to volunteer to help with our Prom Gallery preparations!
For more info about donating or volunteering , e-mail Elisa Nino-Sears or call her at (650) 387-8390.
For more info about free or reduced-price prom tickets , visit the Family Center (Room 129), email Elvira Macias , or call (650) 367-9780 ext. 63110 between 7:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
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!
IB Ceremony Needs Your Help!

Did you know that last year over 400 Sequoia students took one or more IB Classes?  This year we are on track for even more and we want to celebrate their achievements.
The annual Sequoia IB Ceremony is May 30 at 5:30 p.m. in Carrington Hall.  All seniors who took one or more IB classes are asked to attend, along with their family and friends, to celebrate all they've accomplished.
Parent volunteers, of non-senior students, are needed that evening to help make it all sparkle.  If you can help, please contact Glenn Bugos.  More information about the ceremony will be sent closer to the date. 
Junior Scholarships - Applications Still Being Accepted

Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are still being accepted and are  due Tuesday, April 16 by 10:00 p.m .  There are three categories of scholarships to recognize students: academic success, community service, or achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.  We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250.

This is a great way for juniors to get a head start on college applications, to be recognized for all they've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to earn some extra money to continue their education!   Click here for more info on applying.
PARENTS : We are looking for freshman, sophomore, and senior parent volunteers to join the Junior Scholarship Committee.  The commitment would be 2-3 hours reviewing applications, a 2 hour meeting in mid-April to assess the applications, and some follow-up emails.  Email Anne Scholes if you are interested in joining our group.
SHESF - On Our Way to $500,000!
  SHSEF is grateful to our business partners.  Thanks to their generosity, we've raised over $30,000.
Do you need a dog walker or pet sitter?  Do you need a plumber?
In This Issue


Thursday, March 21
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 23 
6:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Crab Feed,
Hiller Aviation

Tuesday, March 26 
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Spring Concert:
Concert Bands & Jazz Band
Carrington Hall

Wednesday, March 27 
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Spring Concert:
Orchestra & Choir,
Carrington Hall

Thursday, March 28 
6:30 p.m.
Open House,
Sequoia HS

Friday, March 29
7:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Staff Appreciation Coffee Cart, Staff Room

Friday, March 29 
Early Dismissal

Monday, April 1 - Friday, April 5 
No School - Spring Break

Tuesday, April 9
6:30 p.m.
Reflections' Reception,

Tuesday, April 9
7:00 p.m.

Quick Links
Buy Your Grad Tickets Now 
Visit the PTSA store
  to purchase your Grad Night Cruise tickets today!   
Find out all about grad activities here
Help From Stanford Tutors and Assistants  on Campus  
Does your student need support in math or college related applications?  Help is available for FREE! 



3:50 - 5:10 p.m.

Room 222. (Pre-Algebra through Algebra 2)  



3:45 - 5:45 p.m.

Room 216 (Pre-Algebra through PreCalc)

3:45 - 5:00 p.m.
Room 115 (C&C Center)
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to purchase your 2018-19 PTSA membership today, and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit and programs!
Sequoia Sentinel 
Our readers enjoy hearing about activities, events, and accomplishments of our Sequoia students, staff and community.  If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel (including photos and links), please email the article/blurb by the Thursday before publication.  See the following Guidelines for news submissions.  
Find past issues of the Sentinel at   
En Español
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 Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

Jacob Gonzalez, Impact Teen Drivers & CA Highway Patrol
Parent-Teen Distracted Driving Workshop
Thursday, March 21, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
Automobile collisions are a leading cause of death for our nation's teens.  The overwhelming majority of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not thrill-seeking or deliberate risk-taking.  Impact Teen Drivers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the trend of distracted driving.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District. 
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Kelly McGonigal, PhD, Stanford University
Born to Move: The Scientific Link Between Movement, Joy & Belonging
Monday, March 25, 2019, 7:00  -  8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Kelly McGonigal , PhD, Stanford University, author of  The Upside of Stress, will discuss her latest research and new book,  Born to Move: The Scientific Link Between Movement, Joy & Belonging, on how physical activity can lead to joy and belonging - if we open our minds and bodies to it.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District. 

Safe and Healthy Teens
The One Love Foundation
Escalation - Film Screening & Discussion
Thursday, April 18, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City
Join One Love for this special community screening of their award-winning film,  Escalation. Learn how to talk about healthy and unhealthy relationships with the young people in your life.
**Seating is limited
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Denise Pope, PhD, Challenge Success, Stanford Graduate School of Education  
A Well-Balanced Perspective on Co llege "Fit"
Thursday, April 25, 2019, 7:00pm - 8:30pm 
Menlo-Atherton High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
The college admissions process can be a source of stress and anxiety  for students and parents alike. In this interactive presentation, Dr. Denise Pope will explore strategies to help reduce unnecessary pressure around the college admission process.

Dr. Denise Pope  is a senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education and the co-founder of  ChallengeSuccess 
, a non-profit organization affiliated with the Stanford GSE.  
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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Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .

March is Arts Education Month in California

California State PTA and the California Department of Education recognize March as Arts Education Month in California!  It's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all five domains of artistic expression - dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts.  There are three ways you and your PTA can show your support for arts education during Arts Education Month.
First, join CreateCA! Learn more about California's movement for arts education here.  Even more resources are available on our arts education page here.   Remember, creativity is not optional!
Second, we'd love to hear how arts education has touched your child, your family and your PTA.  Have an arts story to share?  We'd love to connect and hear your story.  Fill out the submission form  here.
And lastly, be sure to check out your local community theaters, county arts commissions, and museums for more events near you.
Art events throughout the state include:
Look for additional ideas and activities from California State PTA all month to celebrate Arts Education Month in California.

 Community News

Support for Teens by Teens!

The SafeSpace Youth Action Board in coordination with local mental health professionals is presenting "This Affects Us All: Helping a Friend in Crisis,"  a 90 minute workshop on how to help a friend struggling with their mental health, handle and defuse crisis situations, encourage help-seeking behaviors, and discuss difficult topics. This free presentation offered twice is for young people ages 11-20.
When: March 28 and April 18,   6:30 - 8:00 p.m.
Where: SafeSpace Community Engagement Center, 708 Oak Grove Ave. Menlo Park, CA  
Please register through Eventbrite
In partnership with 7 Cups of Tea, SafeSpace now offers young people a new 24/7 compassionate listening app, SafeSpace Support Line. Teens can anonymously chat one-on-one about their problems with a non-judgemental trained active listener in multiple languages in a secure environment at any time, on their own device, at no cost.  The smartphone app is basically a supportive friend in one's pocket. This online emotional support service is not meant to replace therapy. Users can choose a random listener, or select one based on the life experiences, ethnicity, and expertise as provided on their profile.  The app provides an extensive selection of exercises, or personal growth paths, that help users gain skills and knowledge on specific issues that concern them, like social anxiety, stress, or loneliness.
SafeSpace is a local student-led organization that empowers young people to engage with their local schools and communities by creating and implementing initiatives to change the conversation around mental health by empowering peers to speak out, share with others and seek help when needed.
Lesley M. Martin, Ed.D.
Managing Director
SafeSpace Center 
708 Oak Grove Ave.
Menlo Park, CA 94025
New generation, new conversation