May 27, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Sequoia Aims to Keep All Doors Open for All Students 
Social media platforms (mine included) are rich with anti-college sentiment.  In one head-scratcher of a meme , two young white men of similar age and facial scruff are juxtaposed.  Young man #1 wears a beanie and a flannel shirt.  His caption reads, "I spent $50,000 on a worthless degree and now no one will hire me."  Such a dour message makes his smiling face take on an almost-lobotomized tinge.  Young man #2, decked out in safety goggles and industrial ear muffs, also smiles: "I spent $6,000 at a trade school and now make over $85,000 a year."  His is the smile of a winner.

Preface: I have nothing but respect for  Sequoia graduates whose pathway to a safe, productive, and self-fulfilling life veers away from four-year college.  As we ready for commencement on June 7, I feel as proud of our vocation-bound, military-bound, or float-along-for-a-few-years-until-they-figure-things-out-bound students as I am of anyone headed to a prestigious 4-year college in 2019-20.  What matters to me is that our kids don't feel those decisions were made for them.

Yet confrontational messages like the one in the meme have unintended consequences.  They don't just celebrate different pathways to success.   The meme has a target.  Flannel/beanie guy's ostensible hopelessness is an indictment of college-going cultures like the one at Sequoia.  But if one feels so strongly that college is not for everyone, who EXACTLY is it not for?  Why would someone turn their fire on the idea that 18-year-olds should be empowered with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to choose for themselves whether or not college is for them (now or later)?   Is the author's issue with college per se, or with too many (or the wrong) people trying to reap the benefits of college?  

Make no mistake (beanie/flannel guy's dilemma notwithstanding), a 4-year college degree remains a thing of significant value.  Witness the desperation underlying recent fraudulent attempts by wealthy families to buy their kids' way in the door if you believe otherwise -- a whole lot of trouble for something "worthless."

Colin Seale, in a recent Forbes article , lays out a critique of whatever our aforementioned meme and the college-is-not-for-everyone movement seems to want to accomplish.  Importantly, the data still indicates that a college degree leads to higher income: 57% higher for all adults 25-34, 65% for African-Americans, 61% for women.  Chin up, beanie/flannel guy, educational attainment still correlates statistically with economic success -- even more so for historically underrepresented subgroups.  

Seale goes on to explain which jobs are most likely the first to disappear from a dynamic economy moving towards an increased reliance on automation and artificial intelligence.  Short answer: the future will favor those who have learned how-to-learn flexibly rather than how-to-do statically.  "A two-tier system," he argues, "where some young people learn specific skills to keep them employed for a little while and others learn agile skills to last a lifetime is inherently inequitable."  

The messages we send to students matter if we want to avoid a two-tiered system for as long as possible.  Next October, as we have for the past eight years at Sequoia, we will send all 9th graders on a college visit.  We will provide free PSAT to all 10th and 11th graders, setting aside instructional time to administer the test.  It is our goal that students graduate from Sequoia with a sense that doors to opportunity were opened, not closed by the institution entrusted with their education.    

Feeling good about the choices you've made should never hinge on making others feel bad about the choices they've made.   

Have a great week!


Sign Up To Help Thank Sequoia Teachers and Staff! 

It is time to recognize our teachers and staff before summer at the Staff Appreciation Luncheon on Wednesday, June 5, 2019Sign Up to donate food or drinks, or help set up or serve lunch to our dedicated team at Sequoia.  We would like to show our full appreciation for a fantastic school year!
Thank you for helping the PTSA deliver a much deserved luncheon, we cannot do this without your help.  Please contact Jenn DiGrande with any questions or call 650-291-0884.
Grad Week Activities - Fill the Last 30 Volunteer Spots!

Thank you to all who have donated and signed up for the many roles that need to be filled.  We are almost there!  We only need a couple more items to be donated or loaned, but we need many more BBQ volunteers, game organizers, and grad night helpers.  Please check out the sign-up sheet to see if you can help fill one of the remaining time slots.
Senior parents:

The 2019 Grad Week activities include:
  • BBQ lunch on Wednesday, June 5
  • Brunch on Thursday, June 6
  • Grad Night cruise on Friday, June 7

hornblower Non-Senior parents:

We have two thirds of our required chaperones for the Grad Night cruise but need four more.  Gather  your group of friends and enjoy a night out on the SF Bay (including a free midnight dinner!) from late Friday evening, June 7 through early Saturday morning.  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.

Junior Families: Donate Drinks and/or Help at 2019 Graduation Concession Booth
Thank you to all who contributed toward the lei-making endeavor - we successfully filled all those spots.  Unfortunately, we still need lots of donations for our concession sales at Sequoia's 2019 Graduation Ceremony, especially drinks.  We are caseloads of water short of our goal and as of Saturday, coffee-free
All concession profits will go toward funding the Class of 2020's graduation activities, and we need your help for it to be as successful as possible!  Please sign up to donate items to this event or to help sell.
A Few More Hands Needed to Hand Out Diplomas

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 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 - FULL
9:00 - 10:30 a.m.

Hand Out Diplomas 
15 volunteers needed - 9 more spots available
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

End-of-Year Textbook Check-ins 

We need your help with scanning-in the tidal wave of textbooks during the last two weeks of school.  Depending on teachers' schedules, we may also need "runners" who can go to classrooms to help scan books.  Additional tasks may include sorting, boxing and/or shelving books along with whatever other Media Center tasks arise in real-time.  Thanks in advance for "going with the flow"!

Shifts will be from 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. every school day starting on May 28, 2019 through June 7, 2019

Refreshments will be provided to thank volunteers for supporting our successful new Media Center during the school year!

Mark Your Calendars
Senior Families: IB Ceremony is This Thursday, May 30.

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's 13th Annual Alumni Picnic is on August 17, 2019

Be sure to save the date for the 13th Annual Sequoia High School Alumni Association's "Celebrate Sequoia" picnic, catered by Emergency BBQ. The event will be held on Saturday, August 17, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the beautiful Sequoia campus.

Activities include: campus tours, Sequoia Choir, and cheer performances; a Purple Patriot award recognition for Sequoia parent volunteer Lisa Hane and aquatic program volunteers Dave Knochenhauer, Larry and Jeff Rice, all individuals who have significantly benefited Sequoia High School; a vintage car display.

All Sequoians are welcome (alumni, students, parents, staff, PTSA, Boosters, Education Foundation, and community members).  Tickets are $35 per person.  A limited number of
tickets will be available at the door at $40 per person.  Reservations are due by August 14
and may be made online, by calling (650) 592-5822, or by e-mail.
Sequoia Highlights
SHSEF Celebrates the 2019 PTSA Junior Scholarship Winners

2019 PTSA Junior Scholarship winners with Principal Sean Priest.
Seventeen Sequoia juniors were awarded PTSA Junior Scholarships (funded by SHSEF), recognizing their academic success, community service, and their role in making Sequoia a better place, a place of friends: Amy Abad, Victoria Aguilar, Eimon Amjadi, Sarah Bobich, Lauren Burt, Thomas Burt, Maria Casique, Sophia Cattalini, Kelly Clarke, Nicole Cruz, Jasmine Esquivel, Sarah Fazio, Maya Hirano, Anika Huisman, Alexandra Lanham, Miles Webb, and Joshua Won. 
And huge thanks to Anne Scholes and Paula Ebejer-Moffitt for their time and effort continuing this valuable tradition of recognizing our Sequoia students! 
HCA Go-Bag Project Results in 40 Students Trained in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Medicine

The Health Career Academy (HCA) would like to say thanks to all of our donors who made this year's Go-Bag Project a success!  With the help of our community partners, we were able to provide emergency equipment to our 40 HCA juniors who have been trained in disaster preparedness and emergency medicine.  That's forty more households and neighborhoods that are safer in the event of a disaster or emergency.

An HCA student packing up a Go-Bag for use in a disaster or emergency.
This years contributing community partners include:

Redwood City CERT
Sequoia Union High School District (SUHSD)
Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF)
Sequoia Healthcare District (SEQHD)
Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital
Sims Metal Management
San Mateo Credit Union (SMCU)
Redwood City 2020
The Home Depot

We'd also like to thank our very generous private individual donors!

To learn more about the project, or how to donate, please click here.

Learn more about the HCA here.

Rain or Shine, the Music Continues!
Mr. Broome leading the choir.
The cloudy skies and damp ground couldn't deter Sequoia musicians at last Tuesday's Pops Concert - which relocated from the baseball field to Gym 2 because of the rain.  Both bands, the orchestra, and the choir led by Mr. Broome, Ms. Woodman, and Mr. Jefferson captivated their audience with selections ranging from the Theme from Gunsmoke, to a Phantom of the Opera medley, to a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin.  All musicians joined together in performing Shallow from A Star is Born

Family and friends cheered as the graduating seniors were recognized at the end of the performance.
If you've never gone to a Pops Concert, make it a point to attend next year's.  Be delighted and inspired by our amazing student musicians!

Band and orchestra students performed a wide-ranging selection of classics, opera, pop, and soul.
Shout-Out from the PTSA Board to the Past and Future Communications Team
(L-R) Jocelyn Kelemen - current and next year's Sentinel editor, Jane Glasow MacFarlane - incoming PTSA VP of Communications, and Jill Kadlec - incoming website coordinator.  Not pictured is Karen Gebhardt - incoming assistant Sentinel editor.

Sentinel readers may not be aware, but this newsletter is produced each week entirely by volunteer efforts.  All the information on the PTSA website also requires regular updates.  Recently, the PTSA communications team met with Principal Sean Priest to catch up and discuss organizational plans for next year.  Because so much of the work is done behind-the-scenes, we'd like for you to meet the 2019-20 team!  If you see them around campus, thank them for all their hard work and dedication to spreading the news at Sequoia!

Much thanks to Grace Schulz for her many years as both the Sentinel editor and website coordinator.  She is "graduating" from Sequoia, but we hope to see her and her family back for Sequoia events.  And to Lisa Hane for her role as the out-going VP of Communications.  She will be stepping into the role of PTSA President for 2019-20.

In This Issue

Monday, May 27
No School
Memorial Day

Thursday, May 30
5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
IB Ceremony,
Carrington Hall
June 3 - 6  
Final Exams 
Wednesday, June 5 
4:00 - 9:00 p.m.
HCA Senior Awards Night, 
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  
Monday & Tuesday,  
June 10 & 11 
12:00 - 1:00 p.m. 
College Boot Camp, Rm. 128 

Quick Links
Still Time to Buy Your Grad Cruise Tickets 
Visit the PTSA store
  to purchase your Grad Night Cruise tickets today!   
Find out all about grad activities here
Sequoia Sentinel
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Find past issues of the Sentinel at   
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 Parent Education

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Happy Summer!  SUHSD Parent Education Series will resume in Fall 2019.