October 10, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
There was bustle and excitement in the southwest corner of Terremere field last Friday night as students put the final touches in place for a halftime parade at the football game.  The sunset was already putting on quite a show, and the unseasonably warm air made poodle skirts and t-shirts appropriate for an October night.   Grease was the word.  Each class decorated their float in the style of one of the iconic songs from the 1978 film: "Greased Lightning," "Beauty School Dropout," etc.

Spirit days, a rally, a football game, a homecoming week theme celebrating a film which is itself an exercise in nostalgia: by Friday night the wistfulness was on turbo. One parent shared a story with Instructional Vice Principal Sophia Olliver.  As his ninth grader and other students were working throughout the week decorating their float in the run-up to Friday's game, he was so moved with sentiment and pride that he brought his Sequoia letterman's jacket out of storage and presented it to his son.  

Traditions and rituals such as high school homecoming/spirit week become, over time, totemic markers in adolescence.  For many kids, whether it was their first time in the band at Friday's rally, seeing their teachers in the staff dance , wearing a silly outfit for one of the spirit days, or cheering on a comeback victory for the football team, an emotional connection was made with this place and the people around them.  

Our incredible teachers and awesome families are the main reason why so many Sequoia kids go on to great success in college and beyond, but weeks like this are often when the emotional connections are made between academic learning and personal identity -- and also why alumni from as far back as the 1940s come back every year and parents pass purple jackets down to their children.  

More than bobby socks and rah-rah-hubberdub, however, homecoming week gave us a peek into a dynamic future at Sequoia.  This year's debut issue of the Raven Report, for instance, featured an interactive component which provides students with bonus digital content via a smartphone app called Layar.  Students, parents, and staff used another app, SEQ Life, to earn points by attending school events and showing spirit. And Tuesday's PTSA meeting featured Library/Media Specialist Betsy Snow's presentation on the future-forward vision for the Sequoia Media Center.

Last week was a great week of activities, spirit, and community -- go Sequoia!


Can You Hear Us Now?
Since its inception, the Sequoia Sentinel has been a valued voice for news and updates for the parent community at our school.  It is a quick and easy resource for those trying to find out: "What's up at Sequoia this week?" It provides information about school activities, teacher and student initiatives, and offers opportunities to get involved at Sequoia.

We have recently been able to add many parents to our subscription list who may not have previously been able to access the Sentinel and PTSA grade-level emails .  If this is your first time receiving our newsletter, WELCOME!  If it has been arriving in your in-box every Monday since the start of school, we hope you find it a useful information tool and we hope you keep on reading!

If you are on information overload or your student no longer attends Sequoia, please feel free to unsubscribe at any time by using the link at the bottom of this newsletter.

And as always, if you have any comments, questions or ideas for articles, please send them to We love hearing from you!

Freshman/New Parent Welcome: 
This Friday!
Freshman and new Sequoia parents are gathering for the Football Welcome this Friday, October 14 at 7:00 PM at the varsity game against Half Moon Bay, and we'd like you to join us!  Look for the purple balloons marking the Freshman/New parent section of the stands, and have fun meeting other new parents.  We'll be handing out spirit items so you can help us cheer on the Cherokees.  Be a part of this yearly tradition, and don't forget to wear purple!

For more information contact Lisa Miller at

International Festival Coming Soon!
The Sequoia International Festival is just around the corner! The festival is on October 22nd from 12-4 PM at Sequoia, and it is a great community event for the entire family. There will be food trucks, live entertainment and Sequoia Club Booths.   If you have any questions, please contact . Hope to see you there!

Girls JV Water Polo Team Remains Undefeated
The SHS Girls JV Water Polo team, coached by Rob Griffin, is undefeated so far this year after 15 games! They have had 7 league wins again 5 teams including a tough game against Aragon last Thursday, Oct. 6 which ended in the dark.  Congratulations to the team!  

If you would like to see the team in action, come to our next game Tuesday, Oct. 11, 4 PM at Sequoia against Hillsdale.  The varsity game will follow at 5 PM.

Above - The Girls JV Water Polo team in the Gunn High School tournament during the first weekend of October.

Submit Yearbook Contributions
The yearbook is a community creation. If you have pictures or content that you think would be fun to have in the 2017 Sequoia yearbook, please contact Eileen Bray at

We really appreciate ideas and photos, especially sports photos. Please let us know if you have anything to share!

Seniors:  This is another reminder to have your senior portraits taken by Halloween! Contact Prestige Portraits in San Carlos, 650-597-1433, to make an appointment.

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 4, 2016, so we are officially kicking off the Sequoia High School Evergreen Sale! This year the sale will support the Sophomore Class of 2019 Safe & Sober Graduation activities.

We are offering beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces for $25 each, plus a new item, an adorable decorative reindeer for $15. They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December (exact dates TBD).   This link will take you directly to our ordering page where you can pay through Paypal or credit/debit card.

Thank you for your support, and please contact with any questions.

Read All About It!
In addition to this Sentinel newsletter, here are two other publications that you can read to stay informed about happenings at Sequoia HS and throughout the District.

Raven Report:  This is Sequoia's student newspaper, produced by our Journalism class.  Click here to read the first issue for the year!

Sequitur:  This monthly newsletter is published by the Sequoia Union High School District, and is sent by email to families. Read the October 2016 issue here.

Parent Center: Thank You and Continuing Needs
Elizabeth and Mayela give many thanks to all those who donated items for our new Sequoia families the last several weeks!  Still needed: new cooking pots and pans (or gift certificate) and gift cards for groceries.  Can anyone help?  Contact Elizabeth Gomez or Mayela Ramirez.

Learn About Our New Media Center
We had a wonderful presentation at the PTSA meeting last week from our Media Specialist Betsy Snow. Below is a summary from Ms. Snow for those were not able to attend; you can also   view the presentation here.
With the changing of the guard in the SHS library comes a few adjustments to how we see and talk about the space. The Media Center, our new moniker, strives to match the collaborative spirit of our creative youth as they head towards college and careers. As a former English, photography, and journalism teacher, I plan to   infuse my love for literature, art, technology, people (!), and storytelling into as many channels as I can in my position as Media Specialist.  Shannon Schadler, our Library Technician who has been at Sequoia for four years, will continue to share her extensive knowledge of our catalog as well as provide recommendations for the perfect book to supplement classroom projects.
While we engage with students through their research projects, textbook and novel check-out, and general classroom enrichment, this year we hope to support learning in The Media Center by offering a la carte lessons ranging from learning Photoshop to resume building while providing individual support for those who need it.

As for our library catalog, we hope to assess, cull and edit our collection in time for an update of the physical space so we can provide equitable access to education for all Sequoia students for years to come. Our immediate needs include providing a richer selection of new fiction, and in some cases multiple copies of popular titles, an updated selection for emergent readers, and access to audible and e-books for those who wish to access literature in different formats.  Further, we hope to have current  thematic displays as the year progresses with the hope of quenching the thirst our students have for reading, learning, and growing.

Please reach out to Betsy at if you would like to be involved in our Media Center in any way.

Homecoming Shout-Out
nullA big shout-out to all those who made Homecoming week a fun-filled and spirited time! Teachers, administrators and students (particularly ASB students) contributed lots of energy toward spirit days, the pep rally with band and dancers performing, football game (hooray for a Sequoia win!), floats and Homecoming Dance.  A special shout-out to Corey Uhalde, our Director of Student Activities, for bringing everything together throughout the week!

In This Issue
Monday, Oct. 10
Collab Day

Tuesday, Oct. 11
Freshman College Day

Friday, Oct. 14
7 PM - Freshman Parent Welcome at the SHS football game

Monday, Oct. 17
Collab Day

Tuesday, Oct. 18
7 PM - Band and Orchestra Concert, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 19
PSAT, 10th and 11th grades

Saturday, Oct. 22
12-4 PM - Sequoia International Festival

Tuesday, Oct. 25
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education: "Reforming the College Admissions Process," Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 26
6 PM - 9th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Oct. 27
6:30-8 PM - 8th Grade Info Night

Monday, Oct. 31
Deadline for Senior Portraits

Wednesday, Nov. 2
7 PM - Senior Financial Aid Night, Carrington Hall

Friday, Nov. 4
Deadline for Reflections Arts Program submissions (3 PM) and PTSA Evergreens orders

Saturday, Nov. 5
10 AM - Campus Tours for prospective Sequoia families
Quick Links
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Community News

OktobeRun: Discount for Sequoia Students
OktobeRun offers a fast, fun 5K race for runners and
walkers of all abilities.  In honor of Sequoia Cross Country Team members, who will be offering water at the 5K turnaround, all c urrent Sequoia High School students receive a 50% discount on the $25 student registration fee.

Proceeds from OktobeRun go to support programs for RCSD students funded by the Redwood City Education Foundation, such as music, technology, and Outdoor Education.

The event is Saturday, October 29 in downtown Redwood City. Register here; current SHS students ONLY can enter code "SHS" in Coupon field for the discounted fee of $12.50. More information about the race and volunteer opportunities are available at:

AYSO Spring Select Soccer Tryouts on Oct. 30
AYSO Spring Select is holding tryouts for the Spring 2017 Soccer season on October 30, 2016 at Willow Oaks Park .  Spring Select is a competitive soccer program running from February  through May 2017 for U9 and up players who played the preceding fall season in Menlo Park, Atherton, Woodside, La Honda, Portola Valley, Ladera, Emerald Hills. $195 registration fee. Apply online at by Oct 28th

Parent Education

Sequoia Parent Education Series
"Turning the Tide - Reforming the College Admissions Process" with Lloyd Thacker, founder of the Education Conservancy
Tuesday, October 25, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School

Join us for a 'fireside chat' with Lloyd Thacker,  founder of the Education Conservancy and co-author of Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admissions.
College admissions should and can be a meaningful, productive, and healthful experience for all involved.  Come learn about national efforts to improve this formative process and about what each of us can do to help.      
Before founding the Education Conservancy in 2004, Thacker spent 30 years in college admissions and counseling. Thacker is the editor of College Unranked, and he is currently collaborating on Turning the Tide, an initiative sponsored by Harvard Graduate School of Education's Making Caring Common. 

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
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., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at  or 650-868-0590 For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez,  Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105