Sequoia Sentinel
October 5, 2020
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
PTSA President's Message
Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. - Mahatma Gandhi
October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, is the day my social media feeds are filled with quotes and stories about the great leader. It makes me go back in time and feel grounded with my heritage. This also makes me wonder how much of my culture and heritage is a part of my kid's culture?  
And last week, the week of the first Presidential debate, as I remembered Gandhi, our late night discussions with my Sophomore about her ELA project ranged from: Black Lives Matter, doctor's lives during COVID-19 in developing countries, white supremacy, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Gang rapes in India, diversity and representation at Sequoia. 
For a 15-year-old to be immersed in such rich discussions, being aware and having an opinion, made me proud. She said that these were some of the conversations they are having in class! What I see in Sequoia is a diverse, student-centered, globally engaged school offering a high-value education. The students take pride in what they do and the staff believes in creating an impact and transforming student lives. These students are well grounded and conscientious. They are prepared to succeed and stand up for themselves and others. 
Going back to the quote, if our students graduate with this strong sense of "unity in diversity," they will make a difference in this world. Our goal with the Sequoia PTSA is to partner with the students and staff to further this culture built on the foundation of diversity, trust and collaboration.
You can help us by being part of this journey: 
  • Sequoia’s PTSA is a vital part of the school community, and we would love for you to join us. Click here to sign up yourself and your student as PTSA members
  • Join us for our General Board Meeting on Tuesday, October 6th at 6:30 p.m.
Join us for the PTSA General Board Meeting:

Agenda includes:
  • Principal's Address - Sean Priest
  • Guest Speaker - Corey Uhalde, director of student activities
  • Q&A with Sean Priest and Corey Uhalde
  • PTSA Business - Budget approvals, Spring 2020 audit report & committee updates

Meeting ID: 826 1003 5219
Passcode: 528875

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Sequoia Highlights
That's So Raven - Episode 6
This week on That's So Raven you'll discover the latest announcements, information about the Lego Club, an interview with Señor Calles, and so much more!

About us: We are the ASB class of Sequoia High School located in Redwood City, California. We upload videos of what is happening at Sequoia High School! Visit YouTube to Subscribe and turn on post notifications to keep updated!
Gratitude Corner
Thank you VPA patrons for distributing art kits
Thank you to Aditi Hilbert, Betsy Morris, Kerstin Schenk, Lisane Drouin, Lois Silva, Marianne Jett, and Pamela Ehrlich, the VPA Patrons (volunteers who support Sequoia's Visual and Performing Arts) for helping Ms. da Costa Pinto distribute art supplies and reading materials to students in her four Art 1 classes last week. Students, school staff, and Ms. da Costa Pinto all appreciated the friendly and organized approach to getting needed materials out to the Art 1 students. If you are interested in signing up to volunteer with VPA Patrons, please contact Pamela Ehrlich.
Sequoia sports are coming back!
Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt will host an informational meeting for all families interested in athletics at Sequoia. She will discuss the current plans for athletics this year as well as a Q&A for athletes and their families to ask questions. Join on Zoom Thursday, October 8 at 7 p.m.

Feel free to reach out to Athletic Director Melissa Schmidt ( with questions.
Wrapping up senior meetings
Over the past three weeks, school counselors have met individually with seniors via Zoom to review graduation and A-G status, as well as their post-secondary plans.

Please remind your senior to check their email regularly for an appointment reminder if they have not met with their counselor yet. Seniors may also see their appointment details in their SEQ g-mail calendar. Counselors hope to have wrapped up senior meetings by October 9. Congrats Class of 2021!
Energy usage reduction challenge
Climate change is here, and it’s bad news: NASA’s scientists say we’ve already acidified our ocean, melted large portions of the arctic, and created an increase in extreme weather events. Catastrophic events will continue to happen unless we drastically reduce our emissions.

It’s easy to feel like it’s impossible to make a change, but even little things add up. Do something for the planet by participating in our Energy Usage Reduction Challenge. All you have to do is:

You could win a grand prize of a solar phone charger and smaller prizes such as eco-friendly chocolate and books! The submission deadline is October 31, and prizes will be sent out in November. Check out a few energy-saving ideas. Questions? Please contact Helena Landels.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 27% of US greenhouse gas emissions are caused by electricity production.
IB exam registration process
Students can sign up for an IB Exam Registration Virtual Meeting. Please note: only students with a Sequoia email address can access the form, and students in IB class(es) must sign up ASAP.

Students only need to attend the IB Exam Registration Virtual Meeting once.
  • Date & Time options: Wed Oct 7: 10:00 - 11:00 a.m., 12:00 - 1:00 p.m., or 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.
  • Attending an IB Exam Registration Meeting is required for students in IB class(es) during a testing year.

For details, click here. Still have questions? Contact Lisa McCahon or Magdalena Galvan.
School Resources
Request library books & media center newsletter
The Media Center is now taking library book requests! Visit the school collection. Then, use the link in the announcements in your grade-level Media Center Canvas module (pictured) to request a pickup.

Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter, distributed to teachers and staff monthly. The newsletter includes links to creative and helpful resources that teachers can share with their students. Follow us on instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
ASB student help directory
Sequoia's ASB members are available to help all Sequoia students with questions about specific classes, curricular and extracurricular activities, and more! Check out the ASB Help Directory on the Sequoia High School website.
Each ASB member has a personalized profile with areas of strength and contact information. ASB is working hard to help Sequoia students feel that sense of individual connection that is so much a part of our school!
Voting 101: An intro for first-time voters!
Do you want to vote, but don't know how? Read our introduction for first-time voters! Learn how to register to vote online, with simple, understandable instructions, written by youth for youth! The slideshow is available in English and Spanish. Please contact Sabrina Solon if you have questions.
Join the Sequoia March for Our Lives Club
March for Our Lives is a nationally recognized, student-led demonstration advocating for common-sense gun reform and campaigning against gun violence.

The club welcomes all students from Sequoia High School who are willing to support Sequoia MFOL through letter writing, education on politics, hosting influential booths/events, and promoting campaigns between state and county advisors. Sequoia MFOL is providing students with the power to be a leader! Club meetings are every Tuesday from 1:05 to 1:40 p.m. To join the club, have your student complete this form.

Moreover, the chapter is participating in the national voter registration initiative “Get the Vote Out Campaign.” Given that this election will be incredibly impactful in the history of the United States and the world, Sequoia MFOL sees it as crucial to engage teenage voters and parents in participating in the American democratic process. As such, the chapter is promoting students ages 16+ to pre-register to vote. Learn more >

The club is hosting a raffle to incentivize students to pre-register or register to vote. Any student who shows proof that they have registered — either through a tagged selfie of MFOL on Instagram (@mfolsequoia) or an email to — will receive a raffle entry to win one of three $20 Starbucks gift cards.
Youth Advisory Board and Peer Mediators Club

Want to get involved and make a difference at Sequoia? Youth Advisory Board (YAB)
and Peer Mediators are both clubs on campus that work on supporting students and elevating their voices! Questions about either club, please reach out to Alicia Siese.

YAB works towards identifying issues that impact students at Sequoia. This advocacy club conducts school-wide assessments to identify issues and works towards making improvements. The club empowers students to make lasting changes while learning great leadership skills. Learn more >

Peer Mediators support students by teaching the club members conflict resolution skills. The students then apply the skills to help mediate conflicts that might arise amongst the student body. Learn more >
Sequoia special delivery: we need your help!
Have an hour? We could use your help delivering critical school materials to wonderful students-in-need who do not have a safe way to get to school right now to pick up their items. This will be a HUGE stress relief for these students, parents and their teachers! Learn more or sign up here.

How does this work? You'll pick up your assigned deliveries, then deliver at a time that works for both you and the student/parent, who must be home to receive the delivery. These deliveries are "contactless drop offs."

Can my (current) Sequoia student volunteer for this? Unfortunately, no. For many reasons, we can only accept adults for these volunteer jobs. Questions? Please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair.
Passionate about STEM? 
The newly-founded Sequoia Science Olympiad club invites all students that are passionate about science and STEM to join a fun community. Science Olympiad is a premier science competition that provides challenges in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, coding, engineering, and more.

Competitions (optional, but encouraged) provide opportunities to compete with a team in tournaments on regional, state, and national levels, along with opportunities to strengthen communication, collaboration, and leadership skills. New members welcome! For more information, contact the club or visit us on Instagram. Meetings every Monday from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Education Foundation Updates
Supporting our students and teachers
SHSEF’s mission is to help our Sequoia students reach their highest potential. A strong family and supportive environment directly contributes to student success. SHSEF funds provide family support, PTSA program support, and help bring renowned doctors, professors, and leaders to the Sequoia community through the parent education series.

Upcoming speaker topics include 'The Future of College Admissions,' 'Family Nutrition,' and 'Communication with Your Teen' (see full details in the Parent Education section below).

To make a SHSEF contribution, Donate Here.
Membership matters! If you haven't, join the PTSA now.
Why? The PTSA Educates: Sequoia's PTSA provides parent education opportunities at our meetings and through the online newsletter, the Sentinel.
The PTSA Advocates: As a part of a state and nation-wide organization of millions of PTA families, we are able to demand our elected officials to prioritize education as they create legislation in California and Washington DC.
The PTSA Initiates: Already this year PTSA members at Sequoia have launched the mini-grant program, hosted several "Ask the Principal" Zoom meetings, and are volunteering by the hundreds as we all navigate this most unusual school year.
Be a part of our strong and engaged PTSA community! Bring your ideas and your energy. Your membership matters!
Give your club a kickstart! Apply for a PTSA Mini Grant
Through the support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF), the PTSA is offering financial grants to enhance education at Sequoia. Grants of up to $750 are designed to inspire creative initiatives to learning. Grant money could be used for equipment, materials, conference registration, and more.
What would benefit your school or your community? Let the PTSA help you address your Club or organization's needs. Applications will be accepted from October 1-15. Click here to learn more. Questions? Contact Mini-Grants committee chairs Shannon Chi or Adrienne Heist.
Make your voice heard on November 3rd - Prop 15 & 16
Prop. 15: More money for schools and local communities! 
Proposition 15 would require that commercial and industrial real estate property worth $3 million or more be taxed on current market value, raising as much as $11.5 billion in additional funding for schools and local communities. It protects all homeowners and renters by maintaining tax protections for ALL residential property. Learn more here and/or pledge your vote here.
Prop. 16: Restores critical equal opportunity policies in state hiring, contracting, and education 
This constitutional amendment, placed on the November 2020 statewide ballot by the legislature, asks the voters of California to vote on permitting the use of race, gender, and ethnic diversity as factors (but not decisive factors) in education including college admissions, government hiring, and government contracting. It would restore affirmative action in California and level the playing field so that all Californians can succeed. Learn more here and/or pledge your vote here.
Watch a short video made by Shereen Walter, our Director of Legislation, and Carol Kocivar, our Legislative Advocate, about why PTA supports Propositions 15 and 16.
Sequoia PTSA board wants to hear from you
Do you have questions for our 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team by sending email to
Have questions about Mini Grants? Reach Adrienne Heist & Shannon Chi by sending email to
PTSA Freshman and Junior class reps wanted
We are looking for class reps for the Freshman class and the Junior class. No experience necessary!
For the Freshman class, we are looking for someone to spearhead a community building event for all of our new freshman families. Zoom escape room? Trivia night? The call is yours, and a budget is provided!

For the Junior Class, we are looking for someone to organize basketball concessions and/or create a new fundraiser. All proceeds go to the Junior class graduation activities fund for their Senior year.
If you are interested, please reach out to
The Parent Education Series
Parent Ed Logo Horizontal
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission. The Parent Education Webinar Series is sponsored by Sequoia Healthcare District and Sequoia Union High School District.
For videos of popular events, visit our YouTube and Vimeo channels, and connect with us on Facebook for the latest parenting news.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder and Director, The Parent Education Series. 
We offer free virtual events to support "Safe and Healthy Teens." Register for The Parent Education Newsletter.
Helping Kids Thrive During Distance Learning
Devorah Heitner, PhD, Founder, Raising Digital Natives
Thursday, October 8, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
How can parents help kids thrive in their digital world during COVID-19 and support our children through distance learning? An expert on young people’s relationship with digital media and technology, Dr. Devorah Heitner is the author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World and the founder of Raising Digital Natives.
Optimizing Our Children’s Relationship with Food
Maya Adam, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Stanford School of Medicine

Wednesday, October 14, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)
How can you optimize your family's relationship with food? Join Maya Adam, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Director of Health Media Innovation, Stanford School of Medicine.
Finding the Right School at the Right Price
Lynn O’Shaughnessy, College Expert, The College Solution

Friday, October 16, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a nationally recognized college expert, higher-education journalist, speaker, and educator. She is the founder of The College Solution, a resource to help families with teenagers become smart college shoppers as they search for schools, especially during COVID-19.
The Future of College Admission: More Questions, A Range of Answers?
Dr. Angel B. Pérez, CEO, NACAC & Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor

Thursday, October 29, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Online Event (Webinar)

Dr. Angel B. Pérez, new CEO of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), joins Alice Kleeman, retired M-A College Advisor, for a wide-ranging interview on a variety of college admission issues and trends, in light of the uncertainty introduced by COVID-19.
Community Resources and Events
Redwood City & North Fair Oaks community needs survey
The health crisis has affected many people's ability to meet their basic needs, such as food, housing, childcare, medical care, technology, and education. Local leaders want to help, but they do not know how much or what types of need exists in the community or which needs are the most urgent.
Redwood City 2020 is asking for residents of Redwood City and North Fair Oaks to help by completing the Redwood City and North Fair Oaks Fall 2020 Community Needs Survey. The online survey is anonymous, takes 5-10 minutes, and asks about your household's unmet basic needs. Your responses will be used to inform decisions about services in Redwood City and North Fair Oaks. Please consider taking the survey and sharing through your networks!
This is a project of Redwood City 2020 core members and conducted by the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University. For more information, please contact Redwood City 2020 Executive Director Rafael Avendaño.
La crisis de salud ha afectado la capacidad de que muchas personas puedan acceder necesidades básicas como alimentos, vivienda, cuidado de niños, atención médica, tecnología y educación. Los líderes locales quieren ayudar, pero no se sabe cuánto o qué tipo de necesidad existe en la comunidad o qué necesidades son las más urgentes.

Estamos solicitando su ayuda completando la Encuesta de Necesidades Comunitarias de Otoño de 2020 de Redwood City y North Fair Oaks. La encuesta en línea es anónima, toma de 5 a 10 minutos y tiene preguntas sobre la situación de necesidades básicas de su hogar. Sus respuestas se utilizarán para informar decisiones sobre los servicios en Redwood City y North Fair Oaks. Solo una persona por cada hogar debe completar la encuesta. Comparta esta encuesta con sus vecinos en Redwood City y North Fair Oaks.

Este es un proyecto de los miembros principales de Redwood City 2020 y realizado por el Centro John W. Gardner de la Universidad de Stanford. Para mas información de este proyecto, por favor contacte al Director Ejecutivo de Redwood City 2020, Rafael Avendaño.
Join Challenge Success for reVISION 2020
Join Challenge Success Friday, October 23 at 11 a.m. for an exciting 45-minute livestream event hosted by Challenge Success Co-Founders, Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine, and featuring keynote speaker Lori Gottlieb - registration is free.

Challenge Success is an educational non-profit focused on what matters -- student well-being and engagement with learning. Challenge Success works to shift attention away from extrinsic markers of success such as standardized tests, GPA, and selective college admissions, which we know can negatively affect the social, emotional, and academic health of kids.

The reVision 2020 virtual parent education event and fundraiser will share specific tips and strategies for educators, students, and families in this unique time of need, as well as highlight the important work. You can register for the Challenge Success reVision 2020 event here.
You can learn or improve your Spanish while supporting adult immigrants too!
While we’re still sheltering in place, please consider this great opportunity for you or your kids:

Habla Más is a Spanish coaching program from local nonprofit Upward Scholars in which native Spanish speakers, all trained as Spanish coaches, provide online Spanish lessons for kids of all ages, as well as adults. All levels are welcome and the first half hour lesson is free.

Habla Más presents a unique opportunity for you or your kids to learn or improve your Spanish AND help college students, who came to the US as adults, support themselves while continuing their education. To learn more, go to
Sentinel Newsletter:

Our readers enjoy hearing about activities, events, and accomplishments of our Sequoia students, staff, and community.  

If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel (including photos and links), please use this *new* Google Form by the Thursday before publication. See Guidelines for news submissions and Archived Sequoia Sentinel Newsletters
For those who wish to subscribe or resubscribe (we cannot add you back if you initiated the unsubscribe authorization at any point), please use the button below.
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