September 2, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Message from the PTSA President
You Gotta Love It!

I was on campus this past Friday and I had one of those moments that make the job of PTSA President great. After checking for mail PTSA in the school mailroom I popped into Ms. Susie Bass's office. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting her, she is the omnipresent force in Principal Sean Priest's office. Consider swinging in to her office and the next time you are in school and you'll see what I am talking about. She greets me with the BIGGEST smile and friendliest laugh and is ready to answer any questions I have. She listens patiently and then points me in the right direction so I go on my way. I head to the office of our wonderful IVP Kristen Stout. Her gatekeeper and right hand man (woman) is Anilisa Manolache who lights up the room with another amazing smile (is it something in the water?) and is ready to solve my problem. Ms. Manolache used to work in the ever-busy guidance office and although she tells me she loves her job in the Instructional Vice Principal's office she sometimes misses all the contact she used to have with kids and parents. If you see her around campus - give her a "hello"! My next stop is to school Treasurer Linda Gordon's office, just for a chat and a piece of chocolate (enough said). Her office walls are plastered with photos of students past and present - a testament to her connection to the whole school community and her dedication to Sequoia.

My last stop was to the Administrative Vice Principal's office and to Ms. Grace Horton. A friendlier person would be hard to find. She is always ready to solve a problem, "If I don't know the answer, I will find someone who does".

I was finished with my business and ready to head home. I walked out of the building and I passed one group of kids hanging out during brunch, and I heard, "good morning" from a student I didn't know. I walked further and heard another "good morning", then another, and another. Wait, were these high school students?

Indeed they were. They are Sequoia students who are consciously or not displaying the UNALIYI spirit, whoohoo! I am proud to be a part of this community and happy to be a part of the PTSA. I hope when you next visit school - at the Principal's Welcome this Tuesday or at Back-to-School Night on Thursday you can experience what makes Sequoia special!
See you around school!
Lisa Hane
PTSA president
Mark Your Calendars
Principal's Welcome this Tuesday September 3, at 7pm.  Everyone is Invited!

Join Principal Sean Priest and you fellow parents and guardians for an informative evening of back-to-school updates, plans and goals for the school year, and answers to YOUR questions!  We will meet at 7pm in the MPR.

Learn about the PTSA, Visual and Performing Arts Patrons, Sports Boosters, and SHSEF, and find out how to get involved!

Senior Portraits

Seniors should make an appointment with Prestige Portraits in San Carlos to get their senior portraits ASAP. Make the appointment now to get a sitting before Halloween. The time will fly by before you know it, so now is the time.
If you have questions, contact Ms. Bray,

Prestige Portraits
990 Industrial Road, Suite 102
San Carlos, CA  94070
(877) 825-7922

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 in October on the following date:
  • Wednesday, October 2 (re-takes)

Attention 4-Year College and IB Families!

How can you get information about the ICAP and IB Programs?  What are you and your student suppose to be doing each year to prepare for the college application process?  Get these questions answered and many more at the IB College Grade Level Meetings presented by the College Advisor, Teresa Ignaitis, and the IB Coordinator, Lisa McCahon.  All students wanting to attend a four year university and/or interested in or taking an IB course should attend with their parents/guardians.  All grade-level meetings are held at 6 pm in Carrington Hall.  
A separate meeting in Spanish will be held for parents at the same time in the College Career Center. All students should attend the English meeting in Carrington Hall.

  • 9/4 - Senior 4 year college and IB info meeting
  • 9/11 - Junior 4 year college and IB info meeting
  • 9/18 - Sophomore 4 year college and IB info meeting
  • 10/2 - Freshman 4 year college and IB info meeting
  • Senior Financial Aid Night 9/19 in MPR 7-830pm

Welcome to our new Teacher / Staff Members!

At our upcoming Back to School night, you may notice some new faces as you cruise the halls looking for your student's classes.  Feel free to give them an UNALIYI welcome and if you'd like to learn a little more about each new staff member, please click here:

First year teachers or new to position in Sequoia:
Laura Crownover: Social Studies and Journalism Teacher
Melissa Diaz: Social Studies
Jacob Marotta: Culinary Arts Teacher
Carlos Navarette : SPED Teacher (English)
Martin Avalos: SPED Teacher (science)
Teachers form other Sequoia Union High School District schools:
Carlo De Jesus: SPED Teacher
Teachers/Staff that arrived from different states:
Dr. Ray Lapuz: Math Professor
Julie Lance: Digital Photography Teacher
Jocelyn Tang : Math Teacher
Other Staff:
Miki Cristerna: New Intervention Counselor (new position at Sequoia)
Emilia Flores: Guidance Counselor
Roderick de Leon: Speech and Language Pathologist
Hoxira Castaneda: Guidance Counselor

Back to School is this Thursday, September 5th and You're Invited! Here is the schedule:

Come at  6:30 p.m. to hear the band and orchestra, and to visit Sequoia's clubs and organizations in the main hall.  Don't forget to swing by the PTSA table to find out about membership and the PTSA in general.

Beginning at  7:00 p.m., you will follow your child's schedule of classes.  Be sure to bring a copy of your student's schedule.
For more information on Back to School Night, see the flyer below:

Schedule Reminders:
After the Labor Day Holiday on Monday, students will return to a Traditional/Regular Day Schedule on Tuesday, September 3 followed by a B-Block Day on Wednesday, an A-Block Day on Thursday, and a Minimum Day on Friday.  

What is the PTSA?
The Sequoia PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) is part of a nationwide network of 4 million families, students, educators and community leaders working to improve education, health and safety conditions for our children.  There is safety in numbers!  Here are some the benefits our PTSA receives:
Guidance to Run Our PTSA - our volunteers are provided with resources, training and support so that we maximize the impact of the time we donate to Sequoia High School.
Established Financial Safeguards - our volunteers, events and finances are protected by low-cost group insurance.
Our Voices are Heard - our families have a mechanism to influence issues that affect our children that extend beyond the boundaries of Sequoia Union High School District.
Our membership is our strength and our voice, and without our members, we wouldn't be able to do all the good things we do for children and families. Please  JOIN the Sequoia PTSA today.
Having trouble buying your membership through the PTSA store?  Please let our Membership Chair know:

Inaugural Fall Harvest Fundraiser
Thanks to our incredible community, the Sequoia High School Education Foundation raised over $650K last year!  Thank you for your support and generosity.
We are so excited to announce our inaugural fundraiser next month on Saturday, September 21, 2019 from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m at the Harvest Furniture Store in Redwood City.  We hope you can join us. Purchase your tickets here

Help Needed for Teacher Appreciation Coffee

Each year on the morning after Back-to-School Night, the PTSA treats our staff and teachers to espresso coffee drinks and light breakfast snacks.  It takes a little from a lot of families (whether donating food or volunteering for a shift) on Friday morning, September 6 to recognize and celebrate our hard-working Sequoia team.  
Please sign up  and help with this fun event by contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages while mingling with our teachers and staff.  Reach out to Jenn DiGrande at 650-291-0884 with any questions.  
Join the Class of 2020 Football Concession Team...Support a Safe and Sober Grad Night*

The concession sales at the first football game last Friday night went great! We will be selling at three more games....come join Senior parents and students sell concessions during the following three 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, September 6th vs. Skyline (8th graders with the band) 
  • 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. 


Last Chance to Help with School Photo!

Please sign up below if interested in helping during the upcoming Photo Session on: 
  • Wednesday, October 2 (re-takes): Shifts are between 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.  
Only a Few More Spots to Fill, Can You Help Out in the Family Center?

Family Center
The Sequoia Family Center is looking for volunteers over the next few weeks to help our families and students-in-need to enroll in the Free and Reduced Priced Lunch Program.  This is a very rewarding experience as you will be helping parents and students to take advantage of this important state support program.  We want to ensure that Sequoia students are correctly identified and get the resources they need.  These sign-ups are important not only for the free meals and academic support for low-income students, but also for schools to qualify for federal poverty programs such as Title 1, which brings in critical money for instructional assistance. 
  • Make a huge difference in our community and school by supporting our migrant, homeless and low-income students and families. Let's get their school year off to a good start! 
  • No experience necessary to volunteer! Elvira Macias, our Family Center Coordinator, will show you everything you need to know to be helpful with this sign up process. 
  • Spanish skills are a huge plus, but fluency is not required; any kind, caring, helpful parent can be of help!
  • Shifts are a short two hours, lots of days to choose from to work in easily with your busy fall schedule.
  • Spread the word! Know a friend, neighbor, or relative interested in community service? in supporting our school and kids?  Please forward this email to them!

Thank you for continuing to support our school and all our students and families!
Questions?: Please contact 
Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair
(650) 387-8390,
Elvira Macias, Family Center Coordinator
Room 129,
Student Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Event in Redwood City September 12, 2019

I wanted to invite you to be a special guest on Thursday September 12th at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City. 

We will be hosting a panel of leaders, counselors and advocates in the mental health space to equip families and their teens with resources to handle the challenges and pressures of their high school experiences. The film is phenomenal and very hopeful! 

Here's the INFO:
  1. We will be screening the NEW DOCUMENTARY: Edge of Success, (watch trailer here) which tells the stories of SILICON VALLEY high school students and the pressures/anxieties they face living in an anxiety induced, fast paced Bay Area culture navigating  mental health challenges and depression. 
  2. The film was made by two women filmmakers who live right here on the Peninsula (Palo Alto + Redwood City) and they will be on hand to discuss why the clusters of suicides at Palo Alto's Gunn high school prompted them to research the topic. 
  3. We are inviting the students and faculty featured in the film to participate a panel discussion and doing a county-wide campaign to support students and their families.
  4. We will have live music by a local teen singer BECKY ALEX and are will showcase an art exhibit in the lobby for our reception. 
I'd love to talk more with staff. Let me know.
If you would like a FREE ticket for any staff---please respond. 
I think guidance counselors and teachers especially need to be a part of this.

Tony  Gapastione

In This Issue
Monday, September 2 
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/ 4-Yr. College 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 


Monday, September 9
Staff Development Day  
Wednesday, September 11
6:00 - 7:30 p.m. 
Junior IB/ 4-Yr. College Meeting, Carrington Hall (Spanish - Rm. 115) 
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. 
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 Parent Education

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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 .