April 27, 2020  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
The Sequoia Awards - Honoring Volunteerism in Redwood City

The Sequoia Awards banquet, among the annual traditions canceled this year, has always been one of my favorite community events.  The awards honor high school seniors in Redwood City for their contributions as volunteers in the community. The bulk of the honorees are Sequoia High School students.  The scholarships awarded are generous enough to make a real difference in bridging college dreams with reality. This brings me great joy.

This year, the Sequoia Awards granted 29 student scholarships of up to $25,000 each.  I don't envy the selection panel. I'm sure more nominees are worthy as so many of our students serve their communities.  Among the organizations served by this year's winners: Police Activities League, Sheriff's Activities League, Second Harvest Food Bank, UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity, Project Read, Redwood City Library, Healthy Cities Tutoring Key Club Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula, Outdoor Education, and the Sequoia High School Dream Club.  Our students used mind, heart and muscle to tutor, raise money, build homes, build schools, coach, stack, sort, and inspire.

The abundant spirit to serve evident in the young people of Redwood City and San Carlos shouldn't surprise anyone.  In many cases, it's homegrown: the energy and enthusiasm I see our parents put into lifting up our school community grows stronger every year.  Look at our Foundation , our Sports Boosters , our dedicated ELAC , and our extraordinary PTSA .

The energy of an inspired adolescent, however, is incomparable.  Never are kids as brave, focused, and dignified as when they're thinking beyond themselves.  Recounting the ways in which so many of our Sequoia kids serve their community, the promise of a better tomorrow is bright.  I am inspired by the ways in which I see so many young people embrace an uncertain future with resolve and moral clarity.  

Our Sequoia Award-winning 12th Graders (with their quote from the event program) are: 

Maria Chavez: "When I first started volunteering ... I was afraid that I wouldn't have time to hang out with friends and family, but the more I started doing volunteer service, the more I realize that is what I love and it was not something that took up time, but made me happy."

Jasmine Esquivel: "When I joined Key Club, I was really shy and I was not thinking I would be a leader. I felt a sense of community and I felt motivated to do more." 

Michelle Estrada: "To me, volunteering means participation in an act of kindness by helping someone else because you genuinely enjoy being a helping hand. For as long as I can remember, I have loved helping others because I feel the most wholesome when I know I have positively affected someone else's life." 

Daniel Sajuan : "To me volunteering meant, and still means, having the strength to tackle/be a part of something greater than yourself and your own personal needs, and in turn comes the most important part: influencing others to do the same, and setting off an unstoppable chain reaction across your community." 

Sandra Landa Sanchez : "I am a first-generation and low-income Latina student of a family of four. I am the first one in my family to be on track to graduate high school and attend a four-year institution. ... Having experienced the lack of academic resources inspired me to give back to my community and help out students in similar situations I was in." 

Nicole Cruz Mariche : "Feeling lost and confused about academics at an early age is something no child should struggle with. This is why I joined programs that focus on giving academic support to elementary aged children." 

Leslie Zaragoza: "Overall, what I learned was to appreciate even the small things in life. I don't need to do miracu- lous things. I just need to be myself and change the things I want to change about myself in order to change the attitude of those around me." 

America Nava: "Volunteering shouldn't be taken as an obligation, but rather as a way to give back to those who aren't lucky as yourself. It's something that helps make other people's days better." 
Maria Casique (Outstanding Student Award Winner): "Through community involvement, I have learned I am not alone. Volunteering has taught me to become a better advocate... My time is my community." 
Hats off to all the students and families out there who have continued to look for ways to serve those with needs greater than their own over the past two months.  We see you, too!

Have a safe and healthy week.


Class of 2020 Graduation Update 
We know that the Class of 2020 is missing out on so much this year and our hearts go out to each and every senior and their family. We hope that all of the seniors and their families received the email from Gary Gooch about the Virtual Graduation Ceremony that is being planned. If you did not receive the email, please see it here. The first step of the plan is to distribute graduation caps and gowns on Wednesday, May 6th. More details will be coming, as the administration makes plans for this. Please mark your calendars!

Also in the works: there is a group of parents working on adding fun items for our seniors with their cap & gown, another group working on plans for a possible future BBQ/Party, and finally, a group looking into a tribute to the Class of 2020 for the school. If you are interested in helping with the planning of any of these (mostly via evening Zoom meetings and emails), please contact either Linda Burt or Lisa Miller.

If you purchased a Grad Night ticket with a debit or credit card, your PayPal refund should automatically go back to your bank account or credit card. This could take a bit of time, so please be patient. If you have questions about the refund, please contact Gayle Hoch.
Virtual PTSA Reflections Ceremony for Participants 
Reflections Honor our art students from our Fall 2019 PTSA Reflections Contest on Tuesday, May 5, 6:30 p.m. (prior to the PTSA/ELAC meeting at 7:00 p.m.)

Please join the PTSA, administration, and teachers, as they celebrate the participants in this brief Zoom Ceremony. (Watch out for the Zoom link in next week's Sentinel.)
Seniors: Tell Your Pandemic Story

KQED, our local public news station, is looking for feedback from seniors affected by this year's pandemic. If you have a story to share on how your daily life has changed, how the corona virus has impacted your family/life, how it has changed your outlook regarding college, etc. please click here.

Scholarship for Senior Athletes:  Judy Carmona Memorial Scholarship

Judy Carmona was a true supporter of softball here at Sequoia. She had two daughters, Angie and Missy, who played all 4 years at SHS. Judy's husband Paul also coached the team when their girls were playing. Judy had great school spirit and was a wonderful supporter of Sequoia sports. Judy passed away at an early age from cancer, so the Boosters decided to have an annual scholarship in her name.

Eligible students are seniors who have participated in at least one season on a Varsity team (or equivalent, when sports do not have a V team), and whose family has been a Sequoia Sports Boosters member in the current school year.

See the full eligibility requirements
Sentinel Editor Position Available 2020-21

Would you like to stay connected with the Sequoia community from home? The Sentinel Editor position will be available for one or two volunteers willing to commit for a year or longer. Our current editor will be on hand for the year to answer questions and help with technical issues until the new editor is comfortable with the role. The editor is responsible for:
  • Producing a weekly electronic newsletter for the Sequoia community using Constant Contact. VP of Communications will help gather content and there will be regular communication with the principal and PTSA president.
  • Managing Constant Contact database and coordinating occasional e-blasts, as needed. About twice a month.
This job is perfect for someone who wants to volunteer from home rather than attend meetings. It requires a weekly (mainly weekend since the Sentinel goes out Monday mornings) commitment but is extremely gratifying for the right person!

If you are interested in learning more about the position, please email Sentinel Editor Jocelyn Kelemen.

Update on PTSA Mini Grants

We have a challenge for you:
We are living in an unprecedented time dealing with the complications caused by COVID-19.  Can you identify a current need within our Sequoia community and come up with a solution to that need?  If your solution requires funding, we have about $3500 left from the Sequoia High School Education Foundation.  Each request can be up to $750.  Students, teachers, clubs and staff may apply.  If you are a parent, please encourage your students to come up with an innovative idea, and submit it to our committee. 
Here are some that have been added more recently during the open application period:
1)  Ms. Kaprive - Winchester Mystery House Fieldtrip
2) Dylan Shelley - Supplemental Reading Materials, $198.33
3) Ms. Yeager - College Pennants, up to $600
The application deadline has been extended to Friday, May 15, or until funds run out. 

Click here for a direct link to the application form and grant requirements.
Click here to see a list of projects that have already been funded this year.

Please contact DeeDee Clarke and Karen Latina with any questions at

Juniors: PTSA Scholarship Application Deadline Extended to May 10, 2020
moneybag_graphic.jpg Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships have been extended to Sunday, May 10, 2020 at 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 information on applying for PTSA Junior Scholarships.

Sequoia Highlights
TRC to Host Student Panel for Sequoia Staff
On May 7th, the TRC (Teen Resource Center) will be hosting their 14th Student Panel in three years, and this time it will be "virtual". As we are aware, our diverse student population has been impacted by distance learning in a variety of ways. There have been challenges we could not have predicted as well as significant positive experiences as students, teachers, and staff have joined together to continue to bring quality instruction and provide equality and access.

The student panel, consisting of 9th-12th graders, will be sharing with the staff some of the positive things they are doing and the impact of social distancing in their lives and on their mental health. Thanks to the TRC for providing this opportunity to provide staff members with a pulse on how students are experiencing this time of distance learning.

Also, check out the new Atlas Mental Health App provided by SUHSD to students for FREE.

Atlas facilitates guided journaling around topics focused on life's central concerns while teaching concepts from Mindfulness, Social Emotional Learning, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Positive Psychology, and Self Compassion research. 
Download on Android or Apple phones. Students can sign up with their email address. To learn more, go to our  Atlas Mental Health website.

Missing Our Teachers?
We were too! Sequoia's PTSA executive board sent a little photo card wishing them well!

Thanks to Jenn DiGrande for putting our collage card together!

And, shhhhh...We'll be organizing a snail-mail letter writing activity to our amazing staff so if you're interested in helping, let me know at or my e-mail:

Lisa Hane, Sequoia PTSA president
Fall 2019 Mini-Grant Recipient Series
Hi-lo Books for Reading Intervention Class

I used the mini-grant funds to purchase a wide range of hi-lo books -- books written for high school students at reading levels between kindergarten and 3rd grade. Our reading intervention class has used these books for Sustained Silent Reading. Students were able to choose from a selection of books at their individual reading levels and students have been engaged in reading these books.

These are students who, in general, do not enjoy reading, but many of them have asked to do SSR with these books because they are engaging and accessible.

~ Alissa Talesnick 

Parent Resources
Links to Explore During Shelter-in-Place 
As all of us are getting used to the new routines and distance learning, here are a few curated resources to tap into:
  • NEWThe Raven Report is filled with new stories reported by our Sequoia writers -- from hobbies to fill the time to thoughts on grades, distance learning, etc .
  • Create At Home offers opportunities to explore all manners of creativity through art education.
  • The Media Center at Sequoia has the Distance Learning Center site up.  This site is updated periodically, so please bookmark the Distance Learning Page and visit it occasionally.
  • Audible has launched Audible Stories, a free service that offers educational and entertaining audiobook content for kids, teens, and families.
  • Without a doubt, many of us are feeling anxious as we navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19. We're feeling it too, and we wanted to share some of the tools we're using to take care of our minds and stay grounded. 
  • Because of coronavirus, teenagers are missing out on major rites of passage. Offering compassion paves their way toward feeling better. Read: Quaranteenagers: Strategies for Parenting in Close Quarters (NYT Subscription required to read)
  • These 12 famous museums offer Virtual Tours you can take on your couch.
In This Issue

Apr. 20 - Jun. 4  
Distance Learning in Effect
May 5, 2020  
6:30 p.m.
Reflections Ceremony Zoom Meeting

May 5, 2020  
7:00 p.m.
Sequoia PTSA Zoom Meeting
Quick Links

Breakfast and Lunch Meals

The SUHSD Food Services department will be offering FREE breakfast and lunch meals to all SUHSD students for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year.  Please see the attached flyer for times and location.
For the most up to date information, please visit our website.

Still Time to Order Yearbooks

2019-20 Yearbooks are still available to order through Josten's Yearbooks.

Reserve yours now, so you won't have to worry about it later.  Yearbooks will be arriving in June and distribution information is yet to be determined.  We will let you know when we know.
Questions can be sent to Eileen Bray.

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 
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. 
For those who wish to subscribe or resubscribe, we cannot add you back if you initiated the unsubscribe authorization at any point so use the link below to receive our weekly newsletter.  Please check all appropriate boxes for grade level or special interest communications.
Join Our Mailing List
En Español
¿Quieres traducir este boletín ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducción:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electrónico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la página, a continuación, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la página entera.
3. Abra una página nueva del navegador web y vaya a 4. Coloca el cursor en la caja y mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla V para pegar el boletín completo en el cuadro de traducción.
5. Asegúrese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la página. Haga clic en el botón Traducir. La traducción al español debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
 Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

Welcome to the NEW Parent Education Webinar Series !  In response to COVID-19, we are offering free virtual events to support "Safe and Healthy Teens."  Click here to view NEW "COVID-19 Parent Resources" on The Parent Education Series webpage. Take care and stay well, everyone!

Keep Calm: How to Manage Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19
Mark Reinecke, PhD, Clinical Director, Child Mind Institute - Bay Area  
Tuesday, April 28, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)  
(Zoom link provided upon registration) 
Join Mark Reinecke, PhD, Clinical Director and Senior Clinical Psychologist at the Child Mind Institute - Bay Area, for an online webinar to help you and your family navigate the stress and anxiety associated with COVID-19, school closures, and distance learning.  

page separator
#Vaporized: Navigating Teenage Trends in Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Social Media   
Erin Vogel, PhD, Stanford Prevention Research Center
Thursday, April 30, 2020, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00p.m.
Online Event (Webinar)
(Zoom link provided upon registration)
Join us for a virtual event with Erin Vogel, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow and social psychologist at the Stanford Prevention Research Center.  This online webinar will cover vaping, e-cigarettes, social media, and their effects on adolescent health and well-being.

page separator
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.
For videos of popular events, visit our YouTube and Vimeo channels, and connect with us on Instagram and Facebook for the latest parenting news.

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

Improve Your Spanish and Help Our Community Too! 
As a Sequoia parent and longtime volunteer with Upward Scholars, a local non-profit supporting adult immigrants so they can attend community college, I encourage you to take advantage of a recently launched Spanish Coaching program: HABLA MÁS.  Native Spanish speakers, who have completed training as Spanish coaches, are offering online Spanish lessons.  All levels are welcome and the first half-hour lesson is free.  Subsequent three lessons are discounted and additional lessons are $16/half-hour or $30/hour.

Middle school and high school tutoring is available.  All coaches are current or former Upward Scholars students who are facing significant economic challenges right now.  This is an opportunity to help truly deserving students while gaining genuine language skills.  For more information, please go to Upward Scholars or contact me, Jenni Leparmentier.  Thanks.