January 8, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Message from the PTSA
What's your but?
Don't worry. This isn't a New Year's missive encouraging you to head back to the gym to get in shape as your resolution for 2018 after all your holiday debauchery.  I will not try to inspire you to read that book you've been meaning to, or encourage you to begin those projects in your home you've put off thinking you'll start the new year right by tackling them. Take a breath...
I walked into a local store last week and saw a large sign with the words "What's Your But?" written on it.  Surrounding that question were responses penned by the store's employees and customers. This happened to be an outdoor equipment store, so the idea was to challenge folks' excuses for not getting out in nature.  "I would hike after work more BUT it gets dark so early," or "I have always wanted to bike that trail BUT I don't have anyone to do it with me."  You get the idea. 

Sure, it's a bit corny, and the cynic in me bubbled to the surface as I justified all my BUTs as being legitimate.  Then I thought a bit longer and considered how much more I could get out of life if I replaced BUT with AND SO. The simple phrase "and so" opens up possibilities in contrast to the doors that "but" closes. "I want to spend more time with my kids to get to know what they are thinking but we're always so busy shuttling from one activity to another" becomes "I want to spend more time with my kids and so I will try to make our endless car commutes count by turning off the radio, getting off the devices, and just talking." Or how about from, "I know my kid is supposed to read that novel for school but he refuses saying it's so boring" to "My kid objects to reading that 'boring' novel for school and so I'll get a copy and read it with him, or we'll find the movie version and watch and discuss it together."
Ok, so this is the Sequoia Sentinel after all (produced and distributed by your very own PTSA and if you're reading this you are either a parent, teacher or student) and it wouldn't be right if I didn't encourage you to consider your buts when it comes to school involvement. Try replacing "I would like to get more involved in the PTSA but I can't attend the monthly Tuesday night meetings" with "I would like to get more involved with the PTSA and so I will e-mail them to discuss opportunities to help that don't include Tuesday nights."  Get the picture?
I'll leave it to you to think about all the ways your BUTs can become AND SOs as we launch into 2018. 
And so, I wish you a happy New Year and I look forward to seeing you around campus.
Lisa Hane
PTSA VP of Communications
District Newsletter
Did you read the December issue of the SUHSD newsletter, the SequiturCheck it out here!
Reflections Winners Announced -- Congratulations to Student Artists!
Back in November, Sequoia PTSA once again hosted Reflections, an arts recognition program for students. This program follows a "contest" format, but its purpose is to give students a chance to express themselves creatively. The national theme for 2017-2018 was "Within Reach."

We had student entries in 5 of the 6 categories, and we are pleased to announce the awards listed below. All of these winning entries can be viewed here on our PTSA website.  The entries that our judges selected as Awards of Excellence move up for district-level recognition.

Visual Arts:
Ximena Sanchez Martinez ( entry shown above) - Award of Excellence
Maya Donovan - Award of Merit

Mackenzie Clarke - Award of Excellence
Zach Lo - Award of Merit
Roger Kyle Soriano - Honorable Mention

Lori Sibun-Handler  - Award of Excellence

Benjamin Redlawsk  - Award of Excellence

Emma Larsson ( photo shown at right) - Award of Excellence
Kate Giorgi  - Award of Merit
Isabel Donovan  - Honorable Mention

Thank you to all who volunteered to be judges, you are fabulous! You agreed to read or listen to or view entries by a certain date without knowing how big a time commitment it might be. You came, on short notice, to our viewing of the Photography and Visual Arts entries so you could make your decisions based on the actual entry, rather than just a digital copy of it. And based on your comments during the viewing and in email, you were very thoughtful and conscientious. 

Next, thank you to the students who entered. You are all busy people and yet you took the time to enter and to share your creations with people you don't know.  That is impressive! It is important for adults in your community to see what you are capable of and what is on your mind and to figure out different ways to support your endeavors. So thank you, students, for giving us that opportunity.

Sometime near the end of January, the district-level PTA will let us know which, if any, of the entries we forwarded will move up to the California state-level of judging. And regardless of the outcome of that, PTSA will be having a reception in the spring to recognize all our entrants. We will keep you posted and in the meantime, go to the Sequoia PTSA website and see what our Sequoia students can do!
You're Invited to an Evening of Friendship and Fun on Jan. 16
Join Sequoia families and staff, new and old, at our annual Community Dialogue meeting on Tuesday,  January 16th at 7 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room. This year's topic will be "Creating an inclusive environment  in the Sequoia High School community" and is open to everyone. Additionally, this year the program will be facilitated by SHS students and, as always, the information shared will help the school learn and appropriately plan for the future.  Please join is important for everyone's voice to be heard! 

View the flyers here for  this casual night of friendship, sharing and fun : English / Español.
Parents Rally for Teacher Appreciation -- Shout-Outs Abound!
Much merriment was had at the Sequoia Staff and Teachers holiday luncheon on Thursday, December 21st due to all of the wonderful contributions by parents and volunteers. Thank you to everyone who helped recognize and celebrate our teachers & staff  for the PTSA & ELAC sponsored holiday luncheon. Led by Jennifer DiGrande and Elvira Macias,  a delicious festive lunch  including homemade tamales, salads, side dishes, drinks and desserts was enjoyed by  the teachers, staff, and administrators !  

Thank you to all who helped provide or make items, set-up, serve, and clean-up, it took many helping hands to deliver this special event, including:  Elvia Acevedo, Adriana Agustin, Heather Alexander, Carmen Alvarado, Carolyn Arbuckle, Meredith Armienti, Brenda Arreguin, Annie Baker, Alma Bejar, Jan Benway, Lucia Castro, Michelle Cheng, Blanca Crispin, Teresa Cruz, Rebecca Joslin-Davis, Dorith Dooley, Guadalupe Esquivel, Lourdes Esquivel, Gabriela Mendoza-Evans,   Gabriela Sepulveda Fajardo,  Claudia Flores,  Laura Vella-Fukuji,  Sandra Gamino,  Susie Gilbert, Elizabeth Gomez, Marlena Griffin, Claudia Gruber,  Ilcia Guirola,  Karen Ha, Lisa Hane, Janet Hart, Catherine Heller,  Ana Hernandez,  Torri Horovitz,  Araceli Huerta,  Stacy Huisman, Julie Juergens, Paula Kaddas, Rachel Krueger,  Eva Lazo,  Susan Lier,  Esmeralda Lopez, Melba Lopez,  Jake Lowenstern, Alisa MacAvoy, Sara Mancini, Holly Matsuo, Sarah McCaughey, Duoc McCutchan,  Jeanette Medina,  Patti Miller,  Olivia Molina, Yasmin Ortiz,  Lauren Pachkowski, Leah Pachkowski,  Betsy Parkhurst,  Sara Paulino,  Jasmin Peccei, Erika Pretell,  Telma Ramirez, Maria Revuelta, América Reyes, Rosalba Rodriguez, Maria Margarita Roldan Sandra Salguero, Maria del Carmen Sanchez, Irene Sandoval,  Kristin Sanon, Caitlyn Schneider, Grace Schulz, Kristina Scott, Gabriela Sepulveda,  Savina Sera,  Maren Stever,  Eva Suruy,  Paul Tanzillo, Sam Tipirneni,  Elvie Tomacder, and Jennifer Webb.

A special shout-out to all of the amazing families who prepared the homemade tamales and dishes coordinated by Elvira Macias!
Community Spirit Shines Brightly at Holiday Dinner: Adopt-a-Family Gifts Distributed
On Thursday evening, December 21st, Santa and his elves made an early stop to Sequoia's MPR much to the delight of many children, parents, and teachers from our extended community who came together to enjoy the delicious food and participate in the fun amid the festive decorations.  Santa was able to distribute the over 600 gifts generously donated through our annual Adopt-a-Family appeal.  Sequoia's Parent Center led by Mayela Ramirez once again coordinated a remarkable event that showed the true UNALIYI spirit of our school.
Here's a quote from teacher Stacy Wenzel who attended: "Hats off to Mayela and all the people (including students) who contributed to the planning of the dinner and donated gifts. It was so wonderful to see everyone working together to create such a wonderful night (students helping clean up, parents serving food, Sequoia staff members pitching in, etc.). This was a wonderful community event."

Above and below - Guests enjoy festivities at the Parent Center's Holiday Dinner

Graduating Seniors: There's Still Time to Apply for California PTA Scholarships
Your education doesn't end once you walk across that high school graduation stage. That's why California State PTA has two scholarships to help you achieve your college dreams and your life goals.
  • $750 Volunteer Service Scholarship - This scholarship recognizes graduating seniors for their volunteer service in schools and communities, and allows them to register for courses at accredited colleges, universities, trade or technical schools.
  • $500 Dr. Ralph E. White Graduating Senior Scholarship - Honoring the volunteer and public-service legacy of Dr. Ralph E. White and his wife, Eleanor, this scholarship provides $500 each to two successful applicants of the Volunteer Service Scholarship who intend to pursue a career in a medical field.
Applications are due February 1. All scholarship applications require current membership at PTAs in good standing, so if you know a student who is not yet a PTA member but is interested in applying, be sure to contact your local PTA at to join today! Apply for the scholarships here. For general questions about these important programs, please contact
SamTrans Route 295 to Serve SHS
SamTrans bus service will be resuming down Alameda De las Pulgas in January. Get your Clipper Cards now -- over the break -- and stay tuned for more information from SamTrans on Route 295 reconnection to Sequoia Station on El Camino Real.
Tell Sequoia What You Think - Complete Your Panorama Survey!
You were recently sent a link to a survey from the Panorama Education Team asking you to complete a survey about your family's experience at Sequoia.  Please take a moment to fill it out.

Your input is valuable to Sequoia High School, and by taking the time to fill out the survey before the end of the day on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, your child's teachers and school administrators will get feedback to help understand what they are doing well, and what they could be doing better. 

The survey is confidential and will not affect your child's grades; the information collected will only be used to help improve the school. In total, the survey should take fifteen minutes to complete, and you can skip questions if you don't have enough information to answer them.
As you must have a dedicated link, please contact The Panorama Team if you have deleted their original message.  Contact them at:
In This Issue

Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018
School resumes; collab day

Thursday, Jan. 11
7 PM - Understanding PSAT Results, Carrington Hall (Room 115 - Spanish)

Monday, Jan. 15
Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday - No school

Tuesday, Jan. 16
7 PM - SHS Community Dialogue meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Jan. 17
6 PM - 8th Grade IB Info meeting, Carrington Hall (Library - Spanish)

Thursday, Jan. 18
6:30 PM - Middle College info meeting, SUHSD office, 480 James Ave

Saturday, Feb. 3
8 PM - Winter Formal, Fox Theater

Wednesday, Feb. 7
7 PM - Parent Education: "Prevention Works: Keeping Healthy Kids Healthy," Carrington Hall

Thursday, Feb. 8
7 PM - for Seniors: Community College Info meeting, MPR
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Parent Education - All Are Welcome

M-A Parent Education Series
Devorah Heitner, PhD, Founder, Raising Digital Natives
Raising Screenwise Kids in the Digital Age

Tuesday, January 23, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Presenter: Dr. Devorah Heitner, Raising Digital Natives

Parents today worry that kids are addicted, detached, or distracted because of digital devices. Often, adults are less conscious about what they are modelling with their own relationship with technology.
Dr. Devorah Heitner, national presenter and kids' media expert, provides gems of guidance to help parents become confident digital media mentors to texters, gamers, and social media users from childhood to young adulthood.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission and light refreshments.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by   M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series
For Spanish, contact Lilly Quiñonez, Parent Center Coordinator, at 650-322-5311, Ext. 50255. 
Woodside Parent Education Series
Eran Magen, PhD, Stanford University
Managing Emotionally-Intense Conversations with Your Teen
Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, MUR (Multi-Use Room)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside

Presenter: Dr. Eran Magen, Center for Supportive Relationships

Trying to offer support when your teen seems upset or stressed can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. In this highly interactive workshop, you will learn how to be more effective and comfortable offering emotional support when your teen is experiencing strong emotions such as stress, frustration, anxiety, or anger.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series
For Spanish, contact Maricela Lopez, Bilingual Parent Liaison, at (650) 367-7263, Ext. 45323. 
Sequoia Parent Education Series
Michael Donnolly, FCD Prevention Works
Prevention Works: Keeping Healthy Kids Healthy
Wednesday, February 7, 2018, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City

Presenter: Michael Connolly, Former Executive Director, FCD Prevention Works

What keeps healthy kids and teens healthy? FCD Prevention Works, the leading international nonprofit provider of school-based substance abuse services, visits schools around the globe to engage students and parents in prevention education and learning. 
FCD finds that healthy kids:
  • are connected to family, school and friends
  • contribute to and have fun in their communities, and
  • often make the healthy decision not to use alcohol or other drugs.
Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission & light refreshments.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series
For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105
Community News
Action Summit 2018
Jan. 12-13 at the College of San Mateo
including a free Youth Day Jan. 13, 11 AM to 6 PM

Join Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center in kicking off our first annual Action Summit!  Action Summit is a 2-day conference convening cross-sector participants to inspire innovation, design the communities in which they would like to live and take action to bring about that change. 

Visit this website for more information and to register.