October 14, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Sequoia's Homecoming Traditions 
The traditions of a high school homecoming are alive and well in 2019.  There were spirited dress-up days the entire week and all students came together for a Friday rally featuring performances, games, and skits.  The teacher dance remains a crowd favorite.  A parade of homemade floats during halftime at the Friday night football game brought students and parents together.  There was also a Saturday night Homecoming dance in the gym.

Rudy the Raven, surfing in on the shoulders of Sequoia's football players at Friday's Homecoming rally.
Freshman float at half-time.
Likewise evident were the twists that make these traditions idiosyncratic to Sequoia and our specific collection of students in any given year.   This year's theme, for example, "Beach Ball", set a casual and light vibe for the week.  With the obvious exception of Purple Friday, Sports Team Tuesday was the most popular dress-up day (Pink Wednesday was a close second).  T
he debut of the Raven as Sequoia's official mascot provided the opportunity to share a new origin mythology, punctuated by Rudy being hoisted onto a large paddleboard and carried into the rally by a group of football players.  

As I soaked in the school spirit at lunch on Friday, immediately following the rally, it occurred to me that I had no idea whatsoever as to the origins of this peculiar tradition: homecoming.  Who's coming home?  It's not Thanksgiving for another month and a half.  In fact, as it's the end of the first quarter, members of a school community such as ours should be focused on assessments and grades instead.  Should we really be interrupting class every day during 3rd or 4th period to tally the number of students participating in each spirit day?  Should Sequoia's small but mighty drumline really be bopping down the otherwise empty hallways to signal to the school that the rally is imminent?

Of course they should.  Homecoming is about celebrating the fact that a community such as ours exists.  The hard work of the performers preparing their routines, the pep band perfecting their repertoire of jumpy tunes, the students and parents working into the night on homecoming floats are about not just feeling proud of Sequoia, but showing it.  If you step back into an increasingly cynical world, it's easy to find it all hokey or quaint.  But I can report that having been in the mix over the course of the week, homecoming activities are highly affirming as a celebration of what we do and who we are.  These expressions of pride matter.

Student Activities Coordinator Corey Uhalde keeping a watchful eye over the Homecoming pep rally.
Nobody has more fun during homecoming week that Student Activities Coordinator Corey Uhalde.  This is a good thing because, arguably, nobody is working harder during homecoming week than Corey, either.  By Friday night, from his purple hatband to his purple velvet shoes, he's still at the center of all this positivity.  As he wrangles the homecoming floats onto the tack with the football referees staring at their watches and glaring at him, he's no doubt running through a mental checklist for Saturday's dance.  For a student activities coordinator, homecoming means six days of leaving the house before dawn and getting home after dark.  Well after dark.  

Here's to Corey and here's to Sequoia.  As we used to say back at Aloha High School in Beaverton, Oregon during homecoming week: Rah, Rah, Hubber-Dub!

Have a great week!

Mark Your Calendars
Mid-semester Art Show on October 17 - 30
Please stop by the Powell Art Gallery sometime in the next two weeks for Sequoia's Mid-semester Art Show.  The show will feature Drawing, Painting, Art I, Ceramics, Digital Photography, and IB Art Years I and II.  It is the first group show for all visual arts students.  Come see students' diversity of artistic expression on display.
Note: The Powell Gallery is open during the school day lunch-periods.  All visitors to the campus during the school day (including the Powell Gallery) will first need to check-in with the AVP office for a visitor's pass.

Senior Families: Time to Plan for Grad Activities

Senior year is going to fly by and we want to give you a head's up about what happens at the end of the year.  The PTSA organizes four celebratory events for seniors in the last week of school:

May 28: IB ceremony
June 3: Senior Brunch
June 4: Senior BBQ
June 5: Grad Night 

This is when all of the fundraising and volunteering we've been doing since August of 2016 come to fruition.  With a last push from football concessions and Honey Bear tree sales, we are on track to keep the cost of Grad Night tickets affordable.

What is Grad Night?  It's a midnight cruise around the San Francisco Bay for the new graduates! This fun event is well attended every year and includes a buffet, DJ, dancing, casino games, and a photo booth.  The ticket price includes transportation from Sequoia to San Francisco and back, as well as all of the activities on board. 

This year, we want to  Rock the BoatWatch for a flash sale of Grad Night tickets happening on October 29 and 30.  Tickets will be $70 on these two days and then will increase to $80 on Halloween.  Mark your calendars and be sure to take advantage of this early-bird price!

Dress Up Your Front Door with Holiday Evergreens that Support the Class of 2022

evergreen The holidays may seem far off, but they'll be here before you know it! Pre-order your high quality evergreens for the holidays to benefit the Sophomore class of 2022 Safe and Sober Graduation activities. We are offering beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces for $22-28 each.  Plus, back by popular demand, an adorable decorative set of two reindeer for $22.  They will be available for pick-up during the first week of December. Deadline to order is Sunday, November 3, 2019.

This link will take you directly to our product and ordering page.  Payments can be made through PayPal or credit/debit card.

Many families order every year and we appreciate your support!  Please contact Christy Fletcher with any questions.

You Know You've Been Meaning To...   

...So click the purple button on the right and JOIN NOW!
With your membership, you can:
  • Be a part of Sequoia's community of parents, teachers and students who make our school welcoming, united, and engaged!
  • Empower the California State PTA to speak up on behalf of our families.  Our State PTA has a long history of protecting and supporting California's most valued assets, our children.  The greater our number, the stronger our voice.
Not sure if you have joined yet this 2019-20 year?  Check the latest Membership List.

Get Involved

Visual Arts Request for Assistance

1) Are you handy with a needle and thread?  Aprons used in the Ceramics classes need mending.  
2) Are you skilled in woodworking?  The Powell Art Gallery needs new pedestals to showcase artwork during exhibitions.  Specifications for the needed pedestals will be provided.
3) Do you have any flathead screwdrivers to donate for Ceramics?  Specifically, we are looking for a total of 10-12 medium to large sizes (6"-8" in total length.)  Flathead screwdrivers are useful for mixing settled glaze.  
4) Are you looking to pass along an "old-school" copy machine? Think 1980's vs a laser copy machine. The needed type of copier fuses the toner with heat and can be used to make image transfers for art projects.  A Canon PC980 Desktop Personal Copier is an example, but other models could work, too.   
If you are able to help with these requests or would like to learn about other opportunities to support Visual and Performing Arts at Sequoia, please contact VPA Patrons Lead, Pamela Ehrlich.  
PTSA Fall Mini-Grants are Open!
The Mini-Grant application period is officially open!  Through the support of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF), the PTSA is able to offer financial grants to enhance the excellent education offered at Sequoia High School.  These grants of up to $750 are designed to encourage creative approaches to learning.  Students, teachers and staff may apply. 
Applications will be accepted online until Friday, November 1, 2019.

To apply for a grant:
Click on PTSA under the "Parents and Community" tab 
Under the "Quicklinks" title, click on "Sequoia PTSA website"
Click "Programs"
Click "Mini-Grants"
Click "Application and Requirements"

Contact our Mini-Grants committee chairs DeeDee Clarke and Karen Latina at with any questions.
Sequoia Academy Mentor Program Still Seeking New Mentors!
For only two hours a month for six months, SHS Academy Mentors can make a huge impact on the life of a Sequoia student.  Working one-on-one with a student from the Digital Arts Academy or Health Careers Academy, mentors help students develop career-related skills and create a plan for success. 
Who makes a good mentor?  Adults in our community who can listen to and support a student while sharing the steps taken to become a working adult.  Whatever stage you are in, our students can learn from your experiences and the journey towards achieving your career success.
Please refer to our website or contact our coordinators Victoria Mitchell or Gregory Schmid for more information about how to participate in this program this 2019-2020 school year.

Reflections 2019-20: Look Within 
Don't ignore your inner artist! It's time to start working on your Reflections project for this year's Reflections theme, Look Withintema, Mira Dentro.
Enter your artwork and reflect about its meaning to you in one of six categories:  
  • Dance Choreography
  • Film Production
  • Literature
  • Music Composition
  • Photography
  • Visual Arts
All entries w ill 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 level, and winners there ultimately compete at the national level.

Be sure to review the rules  on the Reflections page of the PTSA website.

Due on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, at 3:00 p.m. in the Attendance Office.  
reflections art program

Sequoia Highlights
A Big Thank You to Our Many Business Sponsors

Thank you to our business sponsors for supporting SHSEF in providing our students with a high quality, well-rounded public education.  We rely on our community's generosity to achieve our fundraising goals, which helps bridge the state and federal funding gap to ensure that every student at Sequoia has the opportunity to reach their highest potential.  We urge our community to please frequent these businesses and show your support for their generosity.  Click here to find out more about our business sponsorship program.

For a direct donation to SHSEF's mission, please donate to our annual campaign that is currently underway.
Auf Wiedersehen to Our German Exchange Students

German exchange students led by Director Thorsten Wietzel (far left), their hosts, and Principal Sean Priest pose in front of Sequoia to commemorate the 10th year of this partnership.

Ten German exchange students, who had been staying with Sequoia families for the past week, had to say goodbye on Monday.  Their visit marked the 10th consecutive year that a delegation of Kopernikus School Freigericht (near Frankfurt) has visited Sequoia High School.  As there is currently no German club at Sequoia, every summer, Sequoia students can visit Kopernikus School Germany on a private basis.

Visit to the Golden Gate Bridge.
The students, led by teachers Thorsten Weitzel and Doris Freide-Meyer came to California for a busy two-week learning experience.  After a week of exploring Silicon Valley (with campus tours at Facebook and Stanford), the Pacific Coast, Muir Woods, and iconic sites in San Francisco, they moved in with Sequoia host families and spent their final week attending a series of one-day "internships".  They had the chance to learn about many different types of work places, including local police departments and elementary schools, museums, hotels, two motorcycle stores, and
the City Halls of Redwood City and San Carlos.  Along the way they also volunteered at a pet shelter, in the San Francisco Zoo and at Second Harvest.

Thumbs up for a visit to the headquarters of an iconic Silicon Valley business.
Of course, the Germans had a chance to shadow classes with their host family siblings, attend
Sequoia sporting events, and spend time with their American host families.  Feeling like you missed out?  Don't worry, there will be opportunities to host next fall and to visit Germany next summer! 

Contact the Program Director Thorsten Weitzel for more information about the German Exchange Program at Sequoia.
In This Issue
Monday, Oct. 14
No School 
Indigenous People Day
Tuesday, Oct. 15
College Day for Freshmen
Tuesday, October 15
4:00 p.m. - JV Girls Vball
5:15 p.m. - V Girls Vball
Sequoia vs. South San Francisco, Gym 1
Tuesday, Oct. 15
7:00 p.m. 
Boosters Meeting,Staff Rm. 
Wednesday, Oct. 16
8:30 a.m - 12:15 p.m. 
PSAT for 10th and 11th Gr. students. Modified B Schedule after lunch for ALL students. 9th and 12th Gr. 1:00 p.m. class start time. Arrive at 12:10 p.m. for lunch.  
Thursday, October 17
4:00 p.m. - Freshman Girls Volleyball   
5:00 p.m. - JV Girls Vball
6:15 p.m. - V Girls Vball
Sequoia vs. Mills, Gym 1
Thursday, Oct. 17
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Parent Ed. Series: OMG of College Admission,
Carrington Hall   
Tuesday, October 22
4:00 p.m. - JV Girls Vball
5:15 p.m. - V Girls Vball
Sequoia vs. Capuchino, Gym 1
Thursday, Oct. 24
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Parent Ed. Series: No Such Thing as a Bad Kid, MA-PAC  
Thursday, October 24
4:00 p.m. - JV Girls Vball
5:15 p.m. - V Girls Vball
Sequoia vs. Westmoor, Gym 1
Thursday - Saturday, Oct. 24-26 
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  
Sunday, Oct. 27
3:00 p.m. 
Fall Musical: The Addams Family, Carrington Hall  
Wednesday, Oct. 30
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. 
Fall Concert, Carrington Hall 
Buy Your Tickets for Sequoia's Fall Musical,
The Addams Family Now!

October 24 - 27
Thursday, Friday &
Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Carrington Hall

$15 students and seniors 

Buy tickets at: or from the school treasurer.

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 Parent Education

Parent Ed Logo Horizontal

Al and Jane Nakatani
Honor Thy Children: The Al and Jane Nakatani Family Story
Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 7:00  - 8:30 p.m.
Carlmont High School, location TBD
1400 Alameda de las Pulgas, Belmont
Octogenarians Al and Jane Nakatani share their brave and inspirational story of a Japanese-American family's triumph in the face of the loss of their three children, two to HIV/AIDS and a third to tragic gun violence.  
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. 
This special Carlmont Parent Education Series presentation is offered in partnership with David Braunstein, Carlmont High School educator and former Mayor of Belmont. Thank you, David!
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Maria Furtado, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL)
The Good, The Bad, and The OMG of College Admission
Thursday, October 17, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City
Parents and students have been conditioned to fear the college admission process, and in so doing we often fail to see the good moments and the positive outcomes. Join Maria Furtado, ED, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL), for an insightful discussion about the college admission process.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by SHSEF, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Charlie Appelstein, MSW
No Such Thing as a Bad Kid: Using a Positive, Strength-Based Approach for Effective Parenting
Thursday, October 24, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A PAC
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton

Join us for two San Mateo County-wide parent and community education events featuring prominent youth care expert Charlie Applestein, MSW .  His acclaimed book, No Such Thing as a Bad Kid , is packed with positive principles and techniques to help families develop powerful and transforming relationships with their children and teens.
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!  Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available. 
This special event is sponsored by San Mateo County Office of Education, San Mateo County Health, Sequoia Healthcare District, Peninsula Health Care District, and The Parent Education Series.
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Know Your Rights, Know the Law: Sex, Bullying, and Social Media
Thursday, November 7, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
Skadden offers Know Your Rights, Know the Law: Sex, Bullying and Social Media, a free workshop for parents and teens with practical and legal information about sharing information on social media. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by M-A PTA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
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Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director of The Parent Education Series .

Community Events

Workshop on Internships During High School

Are you looking to gain an edge on the college application process?  The Youth Center is hosting a FREE two-part workshop on Internships for high school students.  The workshops will be held on two consecutive weeks on Wednesdays or Thursdays at the Youth Center, 1001 Chestnut Street, San Carlos, CA 94070 starting this week, October 16 and 17.

Interested?  For more information and to sign up, click here.

Calling all High School Volunteers!

It's time for the annual White Oaks Walk-a-Thon, where our preschool 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 20th.  Student volunteers lead yard games, 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 2019 to sign up.  Make sure to find the opportunities specially marked for students.  Thanks in advance!