August 19, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Positivity is Thriving Within Sequoia's Community... and That's a Good Thing  

"I've made three new friends already," a student boasted to me at lunch on Thursday, the second day of school.  

A few minutes later, I asked a different group of students if they had introduced themselves to anyone new yet this year.  "We were about to," answered one girl, pointing to her right, "those two just sat down."  Names were shared and a 9th grade lunch bunch officially expanded from seven to nine.

I relish these interactions at Sequoia during the first week or so of school.  On the community level, we reaffirm our core values and dedication to a culture of unconditional positive regard.  On the individual level, students get a chance at a fresh start to establish their identity, deepen their relationships with peers, and be their best selves academically and socially.

With approximately a combined 75 years working in schools, our administrative team is able to discern minor variations to the pitch and frequency of campus harmony.  This year, based on all we've seen and heard, is noteworthy as being particularly positive.  Input from staff and students affirms our educated hunch. 

I'm encouraged to report this to the community because the eyes of the nation remain transfixed by mass violence and terror in public spaces over the past few weeks.  These events generate a sense of dread, underscoring the importance of prioritizing a positive school culture such as the one we have at Sequoia. 

There are also practical steps worth sharing with our community to help ease some of this anxiety, as well.  Sequoia has been partnered over the past several years with The Coalition for Safe Schools and Communities and the County Office of Education, which has just released the 2019-20 edition of The Big Five: Immediate Action Emergency Response for Schools.  Sequoia staff has already been briefed on updates to our safety and emergency response procedures and drills are on the calendar for earthquakes/evacuations, fires, and lockdowns.

Moreover, key members of Sequoia's staff participate in the county coalition's threat assessment protocol, which allows us to address threats before they escalate into violence.  We work closely with the SUHSD, San Mateo County, and Redwood City emergency response services to ensure that if the unspeakable were to occur, the deployment of resources and communication would be as smooth as possible.  This network is strong: providing resources and helping coordinate the work we do together.

A positive climate ensures schools are places where students thrive.  It is the shared responsibility of all community stakeholders to help such a climate thrive.  I appreciate the ways in which families have invested in this commitment during my time at Sequoia, whether that's been in the form of volunteering at the school, serving as an ambassador in the community (I generally stay away from Next Door, but every now and again someone shows me an upbeat public comment in one of the forums), or in small conversations in the car or over dinner with your students about the new friends they've made. 

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
Sequoia PTSA Welcomes You!
Let us help you clear your Back to School to-do list!
1.      Buy school supplies √
2.      Return textbooks from last year √
3.      Organize carpool √
4.      JOIN  the PTSA <- DO THIS!
Your annual membership of $20/person shows your commitment to a group whose purpose is to help make Sequoia a place where Parents, Teachers, and Students are welcome and can feel the UNALIYI spirit!
Our amazing PTSA parent volunteers...
  • work to allocate $18,000 in funds from the SHS Ed Foundation to provide mini-grants to student groups and teachers throughout the year.
  • coordinate the school wide Reflections Art Contest which encourages our students to submit original works in the areas of dance choreography, film production, literature, music composition, photography and visual arts.
  • give our Juniors college application experience through the Junior Scholarship Program
... and while you're at it, sign up your student and spouse as well!  We're looking forward to a great year and a PTSA that's stronger than ever!  
Having trouble buying your membership through the PTSA store?  Please let our Membership Chair Brett Gardner know .

Upcoming School Photo Sessions
If your child did not make it to Photo Day on August 13, 2019, he/she will have the chance to sit for their individual portraits during school on the following dates.
  • Tuesday, August 29
  • Wednesday, August 30
  • Friday, October 2 (re-takes)

Media Center Helpers
Help kick off the school year in the Media Center from August 19 - 23  Volunteers will  assist students checking out books from the Media Center and serve as "runners" as needed--this entails going directly to classrooms to scan books.  These shifts are scheduled in 2-hour blocks from  8:30 - 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., and 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

School Photo Helpers

Thank you to Dina Acreman, Bonnie Alesna, Jane MacFarlane Glasow, Karen Ha, Casey Inman, Meredith Park, and Rebecca Robbins for volunteering their time to assist with student photos on Tuesday, August 13.  Their help made the back-to-school process easier for both the students and the photographers!
Please sign up below if interested in helping during the upcoming Photo Sessions on: 
  • Tuesday & Wednesday, August 29 & 30: Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • Friday, October 2 (re-takes): Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  
Class of 2020: Can You Believe You Have a Senior?
Join the Class of 2020 Football Concession Team ... Support a Safe and Sober Grad Night*

Come join Senior parents and students sell concessions during home football games.  Be a barista for a night making iced or hot mochas, serving drinks, and selling freshly popped popcorn.  Sign up for a shift at one of the Sequoia home games and have a blast.

Friday, August 30 vs. Woodside
Friday, October 11 vs. San Mateo (Homecoming)
Friday, November 1 vs. Menlo

*All proceeds go toward a Safe & Sober Grad Week.  Grad Week activities in June 2020 include Senior Brunch and Senior BBQ, as well as Grad Night itself, when our graduates cruise around the SF Bay on board a Hornblower Yacht.  
Come join the fun on one (or more!) of the Friday night football games.  Contact Rebecca Taylor with questions. 



Teachers and staff enjoying the Hawaiian-themed welcome.
Last Monday, the PTSA welcomed back the Sequoia team as they kicked-off the new school year.  Teachers and staff enjoyed a delicious Hawaiian themed lunch, along with treats to help beat the heat.  Thank YOU for all of the help provided by so many of our community members to make this luau lunch a huge success!  
A lot of families contributed desserts, fruit, salads, rolls, candy, and drinks, and many others also donated their time to help set-up, serve, or clean-up, including:  
Volunteers serving lunch with some Aloha spirit.
Noreen Abad, Judy Adams, J.R. Bae, Valerie Bioc, Kate Blanchard, Gail Blomstrom, Linda Burt, Julia Chalios, Michelle Chang, Marianne Cheatham, DeeDee Clarke, Juliana Chu, Kate Corpus, Elaine De La Cruz, Jennifer DiGrande, Cheryl diTargiani, Pamela Ehrlich, Maya Goetz, Karen Ha, Lisa Hane, Adrienne Heist, Andrea Hernacki, Jocelyn Kelemen, Tanya Lazzaroni, Susan Lier, Holly Matsuo, Janette McAfee, Sarah McCaughey, Duoc McCutchan, Kathy McGrath, Paula Ebejer-Moffitt, Amy Obana, Betsy Parkhurst, Jen Pedrotti, Carlin J. Politzer, Susannah Sallin, Caitlin Schneider, Raquel Seifert, Jen Sharratt, Linda Solon, Jay Tipirneni, Elvie Tomacder, Karin Vattuone, Viki Young.
A special shout-out to Nancy Pudlo, owner of Kona Ice on the mid-Peninsula, who generously donated her services by bringing her shaved-ice truck to provide the teachers and staff an extra cool treat!
Hawaii comes to Sequoia's doorstep in the form of a Kona Ice truck.
Thank You, Freshman Orientation Volunteers

Freshman Orientation went smoother than ever thanks in part to our generous parent volunteers.  Bright and early, parents were met by a smiling and helpful Brett Gardner, PTSA Membership Chair and Lisa Miller, parent volunteer at the PTSA table in the front of the school.  Christina Strathdee assisted with student check-in, making sure kids found their orientation groups.

Later in the day, parents DeeDee Clark, Betsy Parkhurst, and Danielle Sunshine were on hand at the welcome help desk in the school lobby to answer questions and give guidance to parents both new and returning. A PTSA thank you to all our volunteers!
Freshman Ice Cream Social Appreciations

2019 freshmen
Parent volunteers Elli Kaplan and Jane MacFarlane Glasow showing off their ice cream treats.
A big shout-out to all the freshmen and their parents who turned out to enjoy an ice cream and the chance to meet each other at the Sequoia Freshman Ice Cream Social.  Also, to those lucky bingo players, Sara H., Josh P., and Emanuel P., who all took home a $20 Peet's voucher when their completed bingo sheets were drawn from the hat.

The weather was perfect, if a bit hot, but what a great excuse for the ice cream!  Hope the first week of school was as relaxed and enjoyable as this event - many thanks for attending.

Many thanks to parent facilitators Meredith Park, Elli Kaplan, and Jane MacFarlane Glasow, for organizing such a warm welcome for all our incoming freshmen families.

Sequoia Highlights
Alumni Picnic Full of Nostalgia

2019 alumni
Mr. Othello Jefferson introducing Sequoia's choir to alumni.
Sequoia alumni from as far back as the graduation class of 1944 gathered on the school's front lawn this past beautiful, breezy Saturday for the 13th Annual Alumni Picnic.  

Participants were treated to school tours guided by Principal Sean Priest, a vintage car show, and a delicious BBQ lunch.  In addition, members of Sequoia's Choir led by Mr. Othello Jefferson, and the Varsity and Junior Varsity cheer teams entertained attendees.

Parent volunteer Lisa Hane, volunteer Swim Coach Dave Knochenhauer, and volunteers Larry and Jim Rice, all received the Purple Patriot awards given to community members for outstanding volunteer service.  Current ASB students, Sequoia sports Boosters, SHSEF, and Sequoia's PTSA all had tables where past Sequoia students could catch up on what the 2019 Sequoia has become.

Thanks to PTSA members Shannon Chi, Gail Blomstrom, and Jane MacFarlane Glasow for giving up part of their Saturday to help with the PTSA table!

In This Issue
Saturday, August 24 
7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 25 
4:00 p.m.
Monday, August 26
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Fall Sportsmanship Night
Tuesday & Wednesday,
August 29 & 30
School Photos
Friday, August 30
3:30 - 9:00 p.m. 
1st Home Football Game vs. Woodside, Terremere Field 
Friday, August 30
10:00 - 11:30 p.m. 
Welcome Back Dance 
Monday, September 2 
No School, 
Labor Day  
Tuesday, September 3
Traditional Bell Schedule
Tuesday, September 3
7:00 p.m. 
Principal's Welcome followed by ELAC and PTSA Meetings,
Wednesday, September 4
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Senior IB Meeting, Carrington Hall (Spanish - Rm. 115) 
Thursday, September 5
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 
Back to School Night
Friday, September 6
Minimum Day Schedule

Friday, September 6
3:30 - 10:00 p.m. 
Home Football Game vs. Skyline, Terremere Field 

Want to Host a German Exchange Student? 
If you would like to become a host family ( for the week of September 30th to October 7th), please contact teacher Thorsten Weitzel, who has been organizing this international exchange project for the past ten years. 
Quick Links
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 Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

Terri Givens, PhD, CEO, The Center for Higher Education Leadership
Making the Transition to College: An Insider's Guide to the Higher Education Experience
Thursday, September 19, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton
What should you and your student know about making the transition to college?  How can high school prepare your child for a successful career in higher education?  Join author, educator, and higher education expert Terri Givens, PhD, for an insider's look at the college experience. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
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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LIKE: The Impact of Social Media On Our Lives - An IndieFlix Original Production
Documentary Film Screening & Panel Discussion
Thursday, September 26, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Performing Arts Center (PAC)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside
Join us for an exclusive showing of LIKE , the new 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 (subtitles) will be available.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Maria Furtado, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL)
The Good, The Bad, and The OMG of College Admission
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
Parents and students have been conditioned to fear the college admission process, and in so doing we often fail to see the good moments and the positive outcomes. Join Maria Furtado, ED, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), for an insightful discussion about the college admission process.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .


How to Start Your College Essays Workshop This Wednesday
Heartwood Editing Logo This practical and engaging workshop gets new seniors ready to tackle their college application essays.  Heather Woods 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.
August 21, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Woodside Plaza.
Cost: $35.  
Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It

Saturday, August 24, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, August 25, 4:00 p.m.

Sequoia High School Campus 
1201 Brewster Ave @ Broadway
FREE Admission

Celebrating its 37th year,  San Francisco Shakespeare Festival brings its performance of  As You Like It to Downtown Redwood City for 3 weekends in August!  Shakespeare in the Park will offer 3 evening shows on Saturdays and 3 late afternoon shows on Sundays while providing an opportunity to see high quality, professional theater in the relaxing outdoor setting of Sequoia Campus, free of charge.  Treat yourself to some Shakespeare this August, for a moment that is sure to please.  

Free Shakespeare in the Park began in 1983, with its debut production of The Tempest in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.  It is now one of the major free Shakespeare programs in the nation.  Read more here.