January 7, 2019  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPTSA President's Message - Can We Talk? 
Dear Sequoia community,  
I'm wishing you a very happy and healthy 2019.  I'm sad that our winter vacation is coming to an end but look forward to the fresh start of a new semester.  I hope you've all had a relaxing (or adventurous!) break with your families.  As I mentioned in a previous column, my Senior son is applying to colleges this year.  I'd like to recommend an excellent strategy for getting those applications done early - set up a schedule with earlier "pretend" deadlines.  The idea was to finish applications by Christmas so our family could enjoy the holiday together - in theory, at least.  I'd be lying if I let you think this plan actually succeeded since my son worked diligently on the adage, "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done."  I guess the upside of being glued to our home while he worked on his applications was that the rest of us could sleep-in, catch up with our first-time-home-from-college daughter, read some great books (I highly recommend There, There by Tommy Orange and Educated by Tara Westover), and enjoy a few movies as a family.  Plus, I made a New Year's resolution - to try not taking on my kids' stresses as my own.  (I doubt I'll ever succeed 100% but it's a good goal.)

You may be wondering why I titled my column "Can We Talk?"  Next week, I'd like to encourage all of you to attend the Sequoia Community Dialogue Meeting on Tuesday, January 15 at 7:00 p.m. in the MPR This is an all-school event open to parents, students, teachers and staff.  While the PTSA is not in charge of the meeting, this event is perfectly aligned with our mission of fostering parent involvement and community engagement, and will take the place of our monthly PTSA meeting.  This will be a great way to get to know other members of the Sequoia community, whether you are new or have been here for many years.  We'll enjoy fun games, engage in small-group discussions, and rumor has it, have plenty of delicious food.  Please hold the date and keep your eyes open for the event sign-up. 

Happy 2019!

Erika Pretell
Your PSTA President
Current Sophomores and Juniors: Middle College Program

The SUHSD Middle College program at Cañada College is now accepting applications for Fall 2019.  Middle College is a collaboration program between SUHSD and Cañada, enabling students to complete their high school requirements while earning college credit simultaneously.  All classes are held at Cañada College.   
Interested students should talk to their counselor and attend our Parent/Student information nights in the Birch Room at the SUHSD Office (480 James Ave., Redwood City) on one of the following nights:  
  • Thursday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 31 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 28 at 6:30 p.m.

All applications must be submitted by March 15, 2019.  Read more about the program on the Sequoia website or Canada College's website.

Junior Class Families: Basketball Concessions Fundraiser
concessions Attention Class of 2020 families! Plans are underway for the 2020 Grad Night.  Our fundraisers for this winter are concession sales at the quad basketball games, and we need your help to make this as successful as possible! 
We will be doing concessions on Friday, January 11, Friday, January 25 and Friday, February 8.  Please sign up to donate concession items or help staff the concession booth for a shift -- it is a lot of fun!  If you have any questions, contact Brett Gardner.
Family Center Holiday Dinner: Thank You, Sequoia Community! 
2018 Holiday Dinner
Volunteers getting ready to serve dinner.
Sequoia's Family Center would like to thank all the volunteers who helped put together this annual culmination event to our Holiday Gift Program.  The program brought holiday cheer to 100 Sequoia families and attendees were treated to a night of food, gifts, awards, and entertainment by the Sequoia Choir.
We would like to convey our utmost appreciation to:
  • Food servers: Elvie Tomacder, Eva Iglesias, Julie Juergens, Lisa Hane, and Carolyn Arbuckle
  • Survey Tech Support & Bike+Helmet Distribution Helpers: Zach Sweeney, Judy Adams, Javier Niño-Sears, Sarah Stampleman, Alex Ferfas, Laszlo Green, and Ellie Budde. Thank you to Mr. Stalder-Skarmoutsos and AVID for the bike and helmet donations.
  • 2018 Holiday Dinner
    Program participants enjoying the feast.
    Piñatas donor: Jane Taylor
  • Gift organization and distribution: Lisa Miller, Elvie Tomacder, Justin Sears, Amy Ollmann, Heather Alexander, Avani Gupta, Virginia Barasch, Lisa Hane, Sarah Sorenson, Shannon Chi, Susie Gilbert, and Ramiro Macias.
  • Event helpers: Emmanuel Martinez Sanchez, Bryan Gochez, Maria Carmen Sanchez, Teresa Cruz,  Marisela Gomez, Maria Chavez, Jeanette Medina, Ricardo Serrato, Gabriela Sepulveda, Rosalba Rodriguez, Elvia Acevedo, and The Niño-Sears Family.  
  • All the parent food donors and many more for cooking and preparing food for the Holiday Dinner.
  • Teachers and staff: Othello Jefferson, Greg Schmid, Stacy Wenzel, Jane Slater, Allison Hyde, Rob Poulos, and Kristin Stout.
  • Event Organizers: A special thank you to Family Center Parent Liaison Elvira Macias, who ran the project with a big heart, boundless energy, and much success.  And Elisa Niño-Sears for the endless hours she spent helping out with the organization of the Adopt-a-Family and evening events. 
2018 Holiday Program
Family Center Parent Liaison Elvira Macias overseeing the organization of gifts for the 2018 Holiday Gift Program.

Thank You for Making the AVID Bike Drive a Success 
Bay Area BikeMobile assisting with bike repairs at AVID Bike Drive event.
I am overwhelmed by the support from the Sequoia community toward the AVID Bike Drive!  Thank you to all who donated bikes and money for helmets and locks.  The response was huge and students happily took ownership of their new bikes.  We were also able to get some helmets from the Redwood City 2020 program.  Special thanks to Greystar, who donated four Trek FX2 bikes, plus helmets and locks for four very lucky Sequoia students.
On Friday, December 21, we had the Bay Area BikeMobile come to make sure the bikes we had were ride-worthy and ready for the road.  They were extremely helpful, friendly, and passionate about bikes and
AVID Bike Drive 
getting everyone on wheels.  
If you are interested in donating a bike in good condition, we still have some students who would love a bike.  We will also host another event with the Bay Area BikeMobile in the near future.  If you have a bike that needs some work, they would be very happy to get it going again.  They have skilled mechanics and some basic parts, like tubes, tires, and even some other important parts.  Stay tuned or contact me at for further information.
~ Scott Stalder-Skarmoutsos 
Class of 2019: Buy Your Grad Party Tickets Now 
Celebrate graduation aboard the HORNBLOWER YACHT!  Cruise starts at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 7 until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.  You and your fellow graduates will enjoy a 3-hour party cruising around the San Francisco Bay.  The evening will include food, music, dancing, photos and other fun activities.  Transportation to and from the event is included. The bus will return to school around 4 a.m.  Click here to purchase.
In This Issue

Wednesday, January 9
Back-to-School: Collaboration Schedule

Tuesday, January 15
6:00 p.m.
8th Grade IB Info Meeting,
Carrington Hall
(Spanish in Room 215)

Tuesday, January 15
7:00 p.m.
Sequoia Community Dialogue Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, January 16
7:00 p.m.
Parent Ed.: College Admissions, MA-PAC, Atherton

Thursday, January 17
7:00 p.m.
PSAT Info Meeting,
Carrington Hall

Monday, January 21
No School

Thursday, January 24
6:30 p.m.
Middle College Info Meeting,
Birch Room, SUHSD Office

Quick Links
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit! 
Sequoia Sentinel 
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Parent Education

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Parent Ed
Photo courtesy of (c); used with permission.

Alice Kleeman , College Advisor and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President, Trinity College
Twenty Years in College Admission - What Has Changed, What Hasn't: Reflections from Both Sides of the Desk
Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
What has changed in college admission over the past 20 years? And what has not changed? 
Join  Alice Kleeman , former M-A College Advisor, and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President of Trinity College, for a lively conversation around college admission--from both sides of the desk. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!   Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at .
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