October 1, 2018     

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPTSA President's Message

I'm about to be laid off from my job in less than a year.  Okay, let's call it a demotion or change in status, from a full-time, on-site position to a remotely-located advisory role.  I am referring to my position as a parent, of course.  That's right, my youngest child is now a high school senior.  People ask me if I'm looking forward to the empty nest and I have to admit that I'm not, yet I know it's part of my job to let my kids grow up and move on to the next thing.   
It seems like not so long ago our family was new to Sequoia and still trying to figure out our way around.  This year we're figuring out our way again, in the balancing act of parenting our daughter long-distance during her first year of college.  My husband and I are eager to hear how she's doing but we don't want to smother her in her first months of independence.  It reminds me of when my son was little and learning to ride a bike and I held the back of the bike as he tried to pedal.  One day he said, "Mom, let go, I can do it!"  I reluctantly let go, knowing full well he'd fall...except he didn't.  He was right, he could do it, and I learned a lesson that day about listening and believing in my kids.  And of course, letting them take a risk.
So, before I get "demoted" (or is it a promotion?), I'm enjoying the time while my son is still at home and making the most of our last year in the amazing Sequoia High School community.  Speaking of college, if you find yourself chatting with a senior, I encourage you to discuss a subject other than the colleges they're planning to apply to.  Many seniors are already pretty anxious about the process so perhaps ask about their favorite activities at school (sports, music, art, clubs, classes, etc.) or what they did last summer instead.  Just a friendly suggestion from the parent of a senior!
Erika Pretell
PTSA President
First PTSA Meeting Tomorrow - Everyone is Welcome! 
October 2nd marks the first official PTSA meeting of the year and we hope to see you there!  The evening with begin at 7:00 p.m. in the MPR where PTSA and ELAC families will hear Principal Sean Priest give an all-school update and answer questions.
Following at 7:30 p.m., ELAC will remain in the MPR and PTSA members will gather in Room 100 to hear updates from committees and plan for a fun year ahead.  PTSA will be hosting a special guest speaker: Ms. Melissa Perez, new head guidance counselor!
View the agenda for tomorrow's meeting here.
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Sequoia Spirit Week/Homecoming is This Week!  
October 1-5 marks the first of three Sequoia Spirit Weeks during the 2018-2019 school year.  We will celebrate each day of the week with hundreds of students dressing to match the daily themes.
  • Monday, October 1 - Camouflage Day
  • Tuesday, October 2 - United Nations Day
  • Wednesday, October 3 - On Wednesdays We Wear Pink (Breast Cancer Awareness)
  • Thursday, October 4 - Decades Day
  • Friday, October 5 - Purple Friday!!!
A few other events throughout the week:
On Thursday, we will be registering and pre-registering students to vote in the upcoming Fall elections.  In the evening, Junior and Senior girls will continue a tradition of taking to the gridiron for our annual PowderPuff football game while the boys show off their well-rehearsed and fan-favorite cheer-leading routine.  
This leads up to our Friday Fall Pep Rally and the Homecoming Football game on Friday night when each of our four classes will show off themed floats that they'll construct this week.  Our biggest crowd of the year will look to keep our football team undefeated in league play against Hillsdale.  
The week finishes off Saturday night with our annual Homecoming Dance... The Greatest Homecoming on Earth, in the spirit of the greatest circuses we have ever seen.  The dance will take place in Gym 1 from 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.  Tickets remain on sale this week - $20 with PAL, $25 without, and $30 at the door.  
Help get in the spirit by purchasing an official Homecoming Shirt - $10 with PAL, $15 without, to show off at the game on Friday!  Send money with your students or email Director of Student Activities Corey Uhalde at before supplies run out! 
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Who Wants Free Ice Cream? 
Thanks to the 312 members who have bought their 2018-19 PTSA Memberships this year!  Your show of support for our parent organization is truly appreciated.  Not sure if you've joined yet?  Check the latest membership list.
It is never too late to join.  Visit the Sequoia PTSA webstore and buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today to make yourself eligible for a tasty membership perk.
2018-19 Sequoia PTSA members can get Buy One Cone Get One Free coupons for Baskin-Robbins.  Limit 2 per membership while supplies last.  Coupons expire 3/30/19.  Your hard copy coupons will be available for pick-up at Tuesday's PTSA meeting or sent to you in the mail.  Just send an e-mail request to our Membership Chair Gayle Hoch at to reserve your coupons.
Membership perks offered by the California PTA and National PTA are updated quarterly.  Please visit the CA PTA website to see the current member perks .
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Holiday Evergreens in October? 
Can you believe it's time to order your holiday evergreens from Sequoia?  The holidays may seem far off, but they'll be here before you know it!  Our order deadline is November 2, 2018, so we are officially kicking off the Sequoia High School Evergreen Sale!  Sales will support the Sophomore Class of 2021 Safe & Sober Graduation activities. 

We are offering beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces for $20-25 each.  Plus, back by popular demand, an adorable decorative set of two reindeer for $20.  They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December.
This link will take you directly to our product and ordering page.  Payments can be made through PayPal or credit/debit card.

Thank you for your support!  Please contact Katie Hultgren at or Caitlin Schneider at with any questions.
Sequoia's Family Center Needs Just a Few More Volunteers! 
Volunteer logo  
Thank you to all who have responded to our call for help.  We still have a few open spots this week so if you have two hours to spare on Wednesday, October 3 or Thursday, October 4, Sequoia's Family Center could use your help to sign up high-need students for California's free and reduced priced lunch program.  This is a very rewarding experience as you will be helping parents take advantage of this important support program.  Help us make sure no Sequoia student goes hungry! 
The sign-ups are important not only for the free school meals for students, but also to qualify for federal programs such as Title 1, which brings in funding for instructional assistance.  No experience necessary to volunteer!  Elvira Macias, our Family Center Coordinator, will show you everything you need to know to be helpful with this process.  Spanish is a plus, but not necessary; any friendly, helpful parent can be a huge help!

Please SIGN UP to help here!
Questions? Please email Elisa Niño-Sears at
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Attention Senior Parents - Many Donations Still Needed for Home Game Concessions or Help Run/Clean-Up the Stand  
The Class of 2019 parents are working hard to raise funds for Safe & Sober Grad Week Activities that happen the last week of school in June:  Senior Brunch and Senior BBQ, as well as Grad Night itself, when our graduates cruise around the SF Bay on board a Hornblower Yacht.  Join the effort to make this a successful, safe and memorable week!
Football Concessions : Be part of the action during this Friday night's home football game.  Chat with students and parents while making iced mochas, serving hot drinks and selling freshly popped popcorn.  Sign up for a shift at the last two Sequoia home games  (October 5  and  November 2) .  Can't make it to the game?  Sign up to donate items needed to stock the concession stand.  Click here to help out!   
Contact Laura Nibbi (650-703-8877), or Diane Holman (408-335-5012) with questions.
VIA Heart Project Needs Adult Volunteers
The Sequoia Health Care District, Sequoia Union High School District, Sequoia and the Sequoia High School Health Careers Academy are proud to bring the VIA Heart Project back to Sequoia High School on Sunday, November 4, 2018.  The goal is to screen 500 students and youth in our community for undiagnosed heart conditions and we need your help.  Click to read more about this free screening. 
Adult volunteers are needed to work side-by-side with medical professionals and our students to help make this a smooth experience for everyone.  No previous medical experience necessary to participate.  Breakfast and lunch will be provided.  Sign up here! 
Become A Mentor for Sequoia High School's Academy Mentor Program
Volunteer for Themed 2-Hour Sessions One Thursday a Month, November 2018 through May 2019
Mentors and mentees practice career skills at monthly mentoring sessions.
Are you willing to spend two hours a month (November through May) helping a high school student define his or her personal path to success?  The most important role for a mentor is to impart the career skills students need to succeed in life.  Teachers work hard to impart these skills, but it is impossible to give all 30 students in each class the same one-on-one attention that a mentor can provide.  As an invested adult from the community, you can help these students learn how to be successful in following their path, and motivate them to continue on to higher education.

As a Mentor, you will be matched with a Sequoia High School Academy student and your role is to provide support and guidance in preparing them for their future beyond high school.  The themes of our monthly sessions at SHS include Mentor Bio/Interview, Personal Inventory, Resume Development, Mock Interviews, Career Share-out, and Goal Setting.  Mentoring involves participating in the monthly structured activities with your mentee and responding to at least two emails per month from him/her.

Please refer to our website for more information.   
Or contact our coordinator Victoria Mitchell at if you have questions.
Reflections 2018-19: Heroes Around Me 
Give Voice to the Artist in You! 
Public exhibition of past entries.  
Reflections is a national celebration of student art. Unleash your creativity and start your project for this year's Reflections theme, Heroes Around Me; tema, Héroes a mi alrededor.
Enter your artwork and reflection about its meaning to you in one of six categories:
- Dance Choreography
- Film Production
- Literature
- Music Composition
- Photography
- Visual Arts
All entries will be recognized for their artistic achievement--participation itself is a meaningful contribution to the Sequoia community!  First-place finishers in each category enter the district competition. District winners move on to the state, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level.
Submissions can be applicable school assignments or your own creative project.  Background information on Reflections, rules, category descriptions, and submission guidelines available HERE.  
Due date is Monday, November 5, 2018.  
Questions: Contact Viki Young, Reflections 2018-19 Chair at
In This Issue

Tuesday, October 2 
7:00 p.m.
PTSA/ELAC Meeting,

Wednesday, October 3
7:00 p.m.
Senior Financial Aid Night,
English) &
Carrington Hall (Spanish)

Thursday, October 4
7:00 p.m.
PowderPuff Football Game,
Terremere Field

Friday, October 5
4:30 p.m. (JV)
7:30 p.m. (V)
Homecoming Football Game
Seq. vs. Hillsdale,
Terremere Field

Saturday, October 6
7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Homecoming Dance,
Gym 1

Monday, October 8
Indigenous Day

Wednesday, October 10
8:30 a.m - 12:10 p.m.
PSAT for 10th and 11th Graders: modified B schedule after lunch
9th & 12th Graders:
1:00 p.m.
start time

Wednesday, October 10
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 11th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Tuesday, October 16
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
ANGST Screening,
Carrington Hall
Register Here

Wednesday, October 17
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
IB 10th Grade Info Night,
Carrington Hall

Quick Links
How About a LOVE Bag for This Gift-Giving Season?  
  These bags are well-made, available in many different styles and great for gifts.  40% of each order placed goes directly to support our 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
Check out all the different styles and order at 
Remember to use
Promo Code
at checkout. 

Sequoia Cushions for Sale!
Show your school spirit and enjoy watching your favorite Sequoia games on a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  They feature our Unaliyi logo and have an easy carrying handle.
This fundraiser benefits seniors during 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities. 
You can purchase yours at home football games and online on our Webstore.

Save the Date! 
dream club  
Mark your calendars for November 16, 2018 for Sequoia's 9th Annual Dream Club Dinner! 
Now's your chance to attend one of Sequoia's most inspirational events and support a worthy cause.  More information to come.   

Sequoia Sentinel
If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please email the article/blurb by the end of the day on Thursday.  See Guidelines for news submissions. 
Find past issues of the Sentinel at  
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Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

ANGSTANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety
Documentary Film + Panel Discussion  
Tuesday, October 16, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall

What is causing the anxiety epidemic in our children and teens? Join us for a special screening of the new IndieFlix documentary, ANGST: Raising Awareness Around Anxiety, followed by a student panel.
This is an opportunity for parents, students, and community members to hear from students about how anxiety impacts their lives. Resource tables staffed by mental health organizations available from 6:30pm - 9:00pm.
ANGST features candid interviews with youth and young adults who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety. The film includes discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and its sociological effects, as well as help, resources, and tools. 
Parents, students (ages 10 and up), educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available. 
Presented by SUHSD Wellness Advisory Council (WAC) with support from Children's Health Council, Sequoia Healthcare District, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, SafeSpace, and The Parent Education Series.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series.
Charlene Margot, M.A. | CSM Consulting
650.868.0590 |
Community News

White Oaks Walk-a-Thon 2018 - Calling All High-School Volunteers!
It's time for the annual White Oaks Walk-a-Thon, where our pre-school through 3 rd  grade kids come out for an afternoon of fundraising and fun!
We're looking for high school volunteers to help with the Family Fun Day on Sunday, October 14th.  Student volunteers lead yard games, supervise the bouncy slide, hand out snacks and more.  It's a great way to get volunteer hours while helping out our local school.   
Visit White Oaks Walk-a-Thon 2018 to sign up.  Make sure to find volunteer opportunities specially marked for students.  Thanks in advance!
Let's Talk About Sex! 
logoHealth Connected, the organization that provides Sequoia's sex education curriculum is currently collaborating with several statewide agencies that support comprehensive sex ed, and some AMAZING parent advocates, to create a campaign to celebrate #LetsTalkMonth this October.

#LetsTalkMonth promotes frank talk about sex between teens and "tweens" and the adults they trust to promote youths' well-being.  You can read more about it at #LetsTalkMonth.

Parents want to see the kids in their lives happy, healthy and thriving. Comprehensive sex ed in schools, along with open dialogue at home, can help make this a reality. October is #LetsTalkMonth - a time to promote open, caring conversations about sex and relationships within families. Follow   Health Connected on Facebook (@healthconnectedorg) the entire month of October for amazing tips and resources to have these discussions in your own home!

If you think comprehensive sex ed is important for teens, and that parents play a vital role in this education, join us! Be an advocate - follow, like, and share our posts!

Jennifer Rogers  |  Communications Manager & Senior Health Educator
Health Connected | P: 650.367.1937, x20 | F: 650.367.4940
Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Do You Have a Student Receiving Special Ed. Services?   
The SUHSD Transition Services Team is offering you and your student some exciting events:

Saturday, October 20, 2018 from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Mills High School, Millbrae 

It's that time of year again when the San Mateo Commission on Disabilities is planning their annual  Transition to Independence  resource fair promoting independence and full participation of people with disabilities in San Mateo County.  

Last year, we were honored to host at Sequoia HS and you can s ee photos from last year's fair at Sequoia HS  here .  This year, we continue to collaborate with community agencies, other school districts in San Mateo and The County of San Mateo Commission on Disabilities to put together this event.
Students and their caregivers can explore resources, visit information tables, attend workshops, activities and demonstrations.  This is a great event for parents and students to access resources such as Department of Rehab, Colleges, Employment, Mental Health, Independent Living, Leisure and more, all in one space!!!

Free food, Free T-shirts, Free SWAG, Free shuttle from Millbrae CalTrain Station to Mills HS.  Quiet area will be available for those with sensory issues.

Recommended Audience: Open to the public

For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas
650-369-1411, x22373
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03 

VIAVIA Heart Project FREE Screening  
Sunday, November 04, 2018 
9:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue
Redwood City, CA 94062

We invite youth ages 12 to 25 to pre-register and attend.  The process usually takes 60 to 90 minutes and is valued at $500 to $4000.  VIA has been partnering with Bay Area schools to provide free heart screenings to youth for 5 years and this will be the 3rd event in the Sequoia Union High School District.  School affiliation does not matter and no SSN or documentation is required to be eligible for this service but guardian permission is required.  Thanks to our donors, sponsors, and volunteers, screenings are conducted free of charge.  Although no payment is required, donations are appreciated and will allow us to continue screening more teens.  
"Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 youths die from sudden cardiac arrest each year in the U.S.  Most of these deaths are due to undetected heart conditions, many of which could have been identified with a simple cardiac screening.  Screening your child may save their life." 
Facts from VIA:
  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) leads to death in minutes if the person does not get help right away. 
  • SCA is the leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of 356,000 people annually.
  • SCA is the #1 killer of student athletes and contributes to the #2 medical cause of death among youth under age 25.
  • The only one that can be prevented through primary and secondary prevention strategies such as Teen Heart Screenings
  • One in 300 youth have a heart condition that puts them at risk.
  • Approximately 1 out of every 200 youth screened typically require follow up care.
Navigating Conservatorship  
Monday, November 05, 2018 
5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Sequoia HS, Multi Purpose Room

Come join us as lawyer Alexis Lynch helps us understand the benefits and legalities of conservatorship. 

From her  website :
"Working with families to ensure their disabled family members were protected through conservatorship became Alexis' passion.  She launched her own practice to focus solely on this need.  She prides herself on her friendly and compassionate approach to representing clients within the special needs community."
Students and their caregivers currently open or eligible for Regional Center (GGRC) services are welcome!
For questions or more info, contact:
Gail Oytas,
650.369.1411 x22373 
Transition Specialist and WorkAbility Coordinator 183-03