May 13, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
SHSEF's Annual Investment in Sequoia Pays Off
Last week, the sidewalk squares that run from the front breezeway to the multi-purpose room were brightened by colorful chalk drawings of college and university logos.  Arizona State, Brigham Young, Colorado, and Stanford were just a few of the schools drawn with pride and signed with the names of Sequoia students from the class of 2019 who will be attending them next year.  

12th graders from Sequoia's AVID program, most of whom are the first in their families to attend 4-year colleges, celebrated their annual "Signing Day" later in the week in Carrington Hall.  All round campus, the proliferation of new college t-shirts and sweatshirts is impossible to miss.  When it comes to college matchmaking, May and June are when big dream dividends are paid out on our community's investment in our Sequoia kids.

AVID students showing off the colleges they will be attending. 

Of course, much of this is possible only through the work of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation .  The SHSEF funds major components which make Sequoia's college-going culture possible: 9th Grade College visits, PSAT for all, AVID college trips, and staffing support for the College Center are just a few of the direct services made possible by the Foundation.  Other materials, initiatives, and activities either directly subsidized by the SHSEF or through semesterly PTSA mini-grants (underwritten by the SHSEF) enhance the kind of innovative teaching and learning that helps Sequoia students stand out in college admissions.

For 2018-19, thanks to the strong ongoing support from our donors, we were able to fund multiple class sets of Chromebooks as well as additional certificated staffing to reduce class sizes.  Visual and Performing Arts at Sequoia also receive a large boost each year.  Our burgeoning Business Sponsorship Program has only increased our ability to assure equity in access and outcomes for Sequoia's amazing students.

As we round the corner into the homestretch of this year's annual campaign to fund 2019-20 activities and programs, we are on track to reach our goal of $525,000, thanks to the generosity and dedication of our community.  A big thanks to those of you who have already contributed to the annual campaign, in particular those who rose to meet last week's Stand Up For Public Schools Challenge.  As we are now deep into planning for next year, I encourage those of you who have yet to contribute to do so before May 31, including incoming families who are reading their first Sentinel -- welcome!
Thanks and have a great week!


Opportunities: Volunteer Positions
Grad Week Activities - Help Our Seniors Celebrate!

Senior parents:
The 2019 Grad Week Committee is planning end-of-year events:
  • BBQ lunch on Wednesday, June 5
  • Brunch on Thursday, June 6
  • Grad Night cruise on Friday, June 7

Please view this SignUp to help donate items and/or volunteer your time at these fun celebrations for our students!  Sign-up needs include food items, volunteering during the BBQ and Brunch, and helping with check-in for Grad Night. 

Non-Senior parents:
We already have a few chaperones for the Grad Night cruise but need a few more.  Enjoy a night out on the SF Bay (including a free midnight dinner!) from late Friday evening, June 7 through early Saturday morning, and get an inside view of what your student will be doing on their own Grad Night.  Click on the June 7 tab for this opportunity.

Help Make Graduation Day Ceremony Run Smoothly

If you don't have a student graduating this year and would be willing to lend a hand to help make the ceremony on Friday, June 7, 2019 go smoothly, please sign up to hand out graduation programs or hand out diplomas.  Sequoia's graduation ceremony is always a joyful and moving experience, so here's your chance for a sneak peak at what's in store for your future grad.  Thank you from Mr. Uhalde and Ms. Ignaitis!

Hand out Graduation Programs
2 volunteers needed
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Hand out Diplomas 
15 volunteers needed
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Junior Families: Volunteer or Donate to Fund Your Child's Graduation Activities in 2020! 
Attention Class of 2020 families! Plans are underway for the 2020 Grad Night. Our fundraisers for this spring are concession sales at Sequoia's 2019 Graduation Ceremony and candy lei sales to students graduating from 8th grade.  
Both events will go toward funding the Class of 2020's graduation activities, and we need your help to make both as successful as possible! Please sign up to donate items to these events or to help sell.
Mark Your Calendars
Rising Juniors Interested in IB Diploma
If your 10th grade child is interested in doing the full IB Diploma next year, he/she must attend the mandatory 10th Grade IB Diploma meeting during lunch on Wednesday, May 15 in Carrington Hall.  The meeting will begin promptly at 12:15 p.m.   
In order to do the IB Diploma, students MUST attend this meeting.  This meeting is for students only.  Please email Lisa McCahon with any questions.  

Senior Families: Celebrate Your Student's Successes at the IB Ceremony on May 30, 2019

ib2019 All seniors who have taken one or more IB classes during their time at Sequoia are invited, along with all  their families and friends, to the 2019 IB Ceremony on Thursday, May 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Carrington HallView the invitation here.  This is a wonderful evening to celebrate all the students who challenged themselves with IB classes.  Students will take the stage to announce their plans for college and give shout-outs to all the Sequoia teachers who inspired them along the way.  Light refreshments will be served.

Student speakers will also share why "We Are IB!" and some students will earn awards.  IB stoles to be worn at their graduation ceremony will be distributed.    

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Todos los seniors que han tomado una clase de IB durante su tiempo en Sequoia están cordialmente invitados junto con su familia a la ceremonia de IB 2019: jueves, 30 de mayo, 5.30 a 7.30 p.m. en el Auditorio Carrington HallInvitación aquí­.
Sequoia Highlights
And The Award Goes to.... 

At the last PTSA meeting of the school year on May 7th, members gathered to acknowledge and celebrate parents who will be saying goodbye to Sequoia following their last child's graduation in June.  These parents have spent hundreds of hours at Sequoia volunteering with the PTSA, Sports Boosters, VPA Boosters, and SHSEF events.  Thanks to the creative efforts of Alice Henderson, each of these volunteers was awarded a unique "Golden Barbie" (or Ken) statue.

The following parents have worked publicly on boards and committees, as well as quietly behind the scenes.  In each case, Sequoia owes a debt of gratitude to these individuals for their efforts to make Sequoia a great school: Susan Alley, Glen Bugos, Susie Gilbert, Marlena Griffin, Diane Holman, Erika Pretell, and Grace Schulz.

If you know any of them, take some time to say thank you.  They will be missed! 

At the meeting, PTSA President Erika Pretell also thanked this year's Exec Board members for their service to our Sequoia community: Susie Gilbert, Adrienne Heist, Lisa Hane, Marlena Griffin and co-chair DeeDee Clarke, Karen Ha, Gail Blomstrom, Linda Burt, Meredith Park, Sian Davies, and Jane MacFarlane Glasow.  We met incoming Exec Board members JR Bae, Shannon Chi, Natalie Henderson, and Karen Latina.  Welcome aboard!

Biz Management Students Gain Entrepreneurial Insights, Up-Close and Personal
Kavina Mehta videoconferenced with Sequoia's IB Business Management class using the app, Zoom.
Stretching halfway across the globe to Mumbai, India last Wednesday, students sitting in David Weyant's IB Business Management class connected electronically with entrepreneur, Kavita Mehta, co-founder of Caymus Technology Ventures.

Ms. Mehta, an American expat of Indian origin, conversed with juniors and seniors about the skills and characteristics often required of an entrepreneur, as well as the challenges and rewards.  They also discussed variances in conducting business within India versus the US, and cultural differences.  Ms. Mehta also shared her personal experiences in launching The Red Pen, an education consultancy for Indian students wishing to study abroad, and more recently founding Caymus, which provides online educational opportunities for individuals to further their professional development.

Through a Q and A format, Ms. Mehta shared her entrepreneurial journey in India, and also her educational and professional background, both of which she received here in the US.  "It was interesting to hear that while [Kavita] is proficient enough with skills needed to launch a start-up, she then knows to hire the right team to keep it going.  She was so humble, and she has great education and experience," said Erica Heist, a junior in the class.

In response to a question about challenges she faced being both a woman and person of color, Ms. Mehta said that those qualities may actually have worked in her favor getting hired on Wall Street to work in municipal securities.  She said it was almost more difficult having to deal with the expectations
of the locals after her move to India. 

In This Issue

Thursday, May 16
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
Choir Vocal Showcase,
Student Activities Room

Saturday, May 18
8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
French Club Carwash,
Pool Parking Lot

Tuesday, May 21
4:00 - 8:00 p.m.
ELD Graduation,

Tuesday, May 21
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Pop Concert,
Baseball Diamond or Gym 2

Monday, May 27
No School
Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
IB Ceremony,
Carrington Hall
June 4 - 6  
Final Exams 
Wednesday, June 5 
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Senior Awards Night, 
Carrington Hall  
Thursday, June 6  
Last Day of School 
Friday, June 7
10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Graduation Ceremony 

Friday, June 7
8:00 p.m. - past midnight 
Grad Night,
Hornblower Cruises, SF 

Quick Links
Read the Latest Raven Report
Buy Your Grad Tickets Now 
Visit the PTSA store
  to purchase your Grad Night Cruise tickets today!   
Find out all about grad activities here
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

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Lily's Wings: An Anti-Trafficking Community Project and Play
Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Lily's Wings is an original project and play produced by Fuse Theatre to raise awareness about human trafficking.  The program will include the play, a short introductory piece on human trafficking, and a panel discussion about HT awareness, advocacy, and finding support.
Open to parents, youth 13+,educators, and community members!  Free admission and light refreshments . Lily's Wings is a bilingual play in Spanish and English.
Special thanks to Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital, Fuse Theatre, and The Parent Education Series for their support of this premier event. 
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the 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 .
 Community News

How to Start Your College Essays

Heartwood Editing Logo
This practical and engaging workshop gets upcoming seniors (hello class of 2020!) ready to tackle their college application essays.  Heather of Heartwood Editing creates a comfortable environment for up to 12 students to learn, reflect, write and ask questions.

"Helped calm me down :)," wrote one participant.  
Cost: $35
Location: Woodside Plaza  
Select from multiple dates this summer: May 29, June 12, June 26, August 7 or August 21. Learn more and register .

Executive Function Bootcamp: Complimentary Assessment for SHS Families (All Ages) 

Worried about your kiddo going off into the deep ABYSS called college?
Summer workshops to help them navigate the process at THE TALKING PLAYHOUSE:
  • 100 DAYS TILL COLLEGE: EF Preparedness for Planning, Studying, Staying Schedule Connected & More.
  • SKYPE EF COACH: Learn how to help your kiddo stay on track while at College. (by Certified EF Therapist)
  • TRAINING THE BRAIN: Organize the brain for life! 
Exclusively for Sequoia Families: Please email for a COMPLIMENTARY assessment and game plan for your kiddo!  Jenn Bulka, Memory Specialist, SLP, CCC-Sp (Cal State Lic#14600), 155 Birch St. (Across from SHS)