October 28, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Curtain Calls and the Praise We Bestow  
The Addams Family cast snapping their fingers to the theme song.
If there's a more joyous ritual embedded into the academic year than the curtain call at the end of a high school musical, I'm not sure what it is.  The show ends and out they come: first the ensemble (this year, for The Addams Family, a chorus of alabaster-festooned ghouls representing various historical eras -- another costume triumph for Ms. Britt Broome) join hands for a collective curtsy, then the cast members parade in pairs or one-by-one to the stage-front for their individual ovations.  The volume and enthusiasm build with each bow.  The choreography has been rehearsed, but because these are student actors, their reactions are genuine to a degree you don't see in a professional production.
Saturday night's curtain call at the end of the show struck me as noteworthy in its guilelessness.  It was clear throughout the night that the students, from Lurch to the percussionist in the pit orchestra, were having as much fun as the audience.  The performers were confident in the songs, steps, and line readings throughout the night.  Their hard work had paid off.  The crowd was large, engaged, and diverse: family and friends, of course, but also teachers with their children, alumni, trustees, and community members.  All in all, the perfect recipe for a heartfelt ovation to end the night.
Celebrating success, especially with adolescents, is both vital and tricky.  Many teachers embed it into their system of proactive classroom management, building time into lessons for students to recognize and acknowledge the small successes of their peers.  Although praise works (everyone needs to have their work validated), when general validation is directed at no individual or no achievement in particular, it can backfire. "Awesome!" and "Great Job!" can undermine a teen's healthy struggle with a subject.  "Really?!?" responds a student's internal monologue, "I didn't do anything and I still don't really feel confident on this concept or skill." 
Praise is most powerful when it reflects both tangible progress and grit in overcoming difficulty.  It acknowledges hard work, the application of the skills being emphasized for the task, and the growth from baseline to present level.  There is, perhaps, no greater example of this kind of praise than the curtain call at the end of the school musical.  Everyone in Carrington Hall on Saturday night recognized the hard work put in by the students to learn new songs, choreography, and comedic dialogue since August.  They, with the guidance of Mr. Broome, Mr. Jefferson, and Ms. Reibstein, had successfully taken words and music from a book and brought it to life.
It's a powerful example of project-based learning and we observe an analogous expression of genuine pride in the different types of "curtain calls": a hard-fought athletic contest, a robotics event, an IB test... just to name a few.  One of our jobs as a community is to put every kid in that position -- where their bows and the reactions of the proverbial crowds fill them with pride for what they've accomplished and bestow confidence to take on their next challenge.  Just like the packed house on Saturday in Carrington Hall, it's more fun when we are all cheering together.
Have a great week!   
Mark Your Calendars
Enjoy Sequoia's Fall Concert this Wednesday, October 30

Sequoia's Visual and Performing Arts Department is proud to present our Fall Instrumental Music Concert on October 30 at 7:00 p.m. in Carrington Hall.  Both concert bands will perform, showcasing music from Black Panther, Aladdin, Dr. Who, and " Rite of Spring," and Orchestra will take the stage with Arachnid's Lair, Phantom Waltz, Kingdom Dance ( from " Tangled"), Overture to " The Abduction of the Seraglio," Theme from " Psycho," Halloween Spooktacular, and Spider Dance

Tickets are $5 at the door!
All Aboard, Seniors!


The energy was palpable as the Class of 2019 students waited in the Big Gym to board buses for GradNight.  Our newly graduated Seniors were precariously balanced between the edge of their yesterdays at Sequoia and their tomorrows in the real world.  But on that particular night, it was all about celebrating being young, wild, and free!

As two of the nine Junior class volunteer chaperones, we experienced our PTSA sponsored Safe and Sober Grad Night party while enjoying some stunning views of the San Francisco Bay.  The Hornblower boat was large with lots of different kinds of activities.  The Seniors enjoyed dancing and gaming tables on the bottom floor, a strolling magician and comfy outside seating on the second floor, and a caricature artist and a photo booth on the top floor.  One of our favorite moments was when the mob on the dance floor randomly starting chanting "Gary Gooch, Gary Gooch"!  Another favorite was when a young man shouted "I love you, guys" as the group disembarked from the boat, forever going their separate ways.

So why during the busy time of high school graduation should you encourage your student to go to Grad Night?

It's for Students Only - Sequoia's graduation ceremony is truly a beautiful family and community event.  Grad Night is an opportunity for your Senior to hang out with their Sequoia classmates one last time and celebrate a very important milestone.

Safe and Sober - Hornblower provides on board security guards, many of whom are off duty police officers.  The security guards work collaboratively with the Sequoia volunteer chaperones to remind students to make good decisions and stay safe.

Fun On Board Activities - Working with the Class of 2020, we'll pick out and schedule their activities this year, using the money the class has been fundraising over the last four years.  Ticket price includes transportation by bus to/from San Francisco, all food, and entertainment.

We can't wait for your Seniors to experience this spectacular evening.  Please encourage them to buy their ticket early as this event will sell out!  Our Flash Sale will be this Tuesday and Wednesday, October 29 and 30 online through the PTSA StoreTickets are discounted at $70 during the sale and will go up to $80 after the 30th.  Watch out for the email with the Flash Sale link on Tuesday around noon!

~ Your 2020 Grad Night Boat Captains,  Gayle Hoch and Lisa Miller

Last Week to Order Holiday Evergreens!

Don't miss out!  Purchase your Sequoia High School Evergreen items now!  Our order deadline is in 1 week: Sunday, November 3, 2019.  Please consider ordering for family or an elderly neighbor to support the Sophomore Class of 2022 Safe & Sober Graduation activities. 

These beautiful and fragrant wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces sell for $22-28 each.  Plus, back by popular demand, an adorable decorative set of two reindeer for $22.  All 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 Christy Fletcher with any questions.

Eighth Grade Info Night is on November 6, 2019

This year, we will be hosting 8th Grade Info Night on Wednesday, November 6 starting at 6:00 p.m.  Please help spread the word to prospective families who would like to learn about Sequoia's programs and what makes our school a Place of Friends. 

The evening will begin with welcome remarks by Principal Sean Priest in Carrington Hall. Following this, prospective families will have the opportunity to visit presentations, watch performances, talk with current students and teachers, and tour our facilities.  Please refer to this flyer for the full program.
Dream Club Dinner: Join Us and Celebrate Dreamers

The Dream Club's 10th annual fundraising dinner will be on Friday, November 22 in Gym 1 from 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.  Click here to view the flyer.  This is a family-friendly event with door prizes, stories, art, culture, and plenty of good food.  All are invited to come learn about the experiences of undocumented students and show your support!  On-site childcare will be provided for children younger than 10 years of age.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students, or $125 per table of tenPurchase your tickets here.  For questions, please contact Jane Slater.
PTSA Fall Mini-Grants Deadline is This Friday, November 1
moneybag_graphic.jpg The Mini-Grant application period is officially open for just a few more days!  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.
Visual Arts: Request for Assistance and Donations
1) 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.
2) 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.  
3) 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 Pamela Ehrlich .
College and Career Center Seeks Volunteer to Organize College Literature

This is an easy volunteer opportunity organizing and filing new literature that has come in from colleges across the country.  Parent volunteer, Jane Taylor, will be around to give instructions.  Meet in the College and Career Center.  Use this link to sign up for dates in November.
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

In This Issue
Tuesday, Oct. 29
4:00 p.m. - Fr. Girls Vball
5:15 p.m. - JV Girls Vball
6:00 p.m. - V Girls Vball 
Sequoia vs. Half Moon Bay, Gym 1
Wednesday, Oct. 30
7:00 - 10:00 p.m. 
Fall Concert, Carrington Hall
Friday, Nov. 1   
Sunday, Nov. 3 
Sunday, Nov. 3 
Tuesday, Nov. 5 
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  
Wednesday, Nov. 6 
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.  
8th Grade Info Night, Carrington Hall 
Thursday, Nov. 7 
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 
Parent Ed. Series: Know Your Rights, Know The Law, MA-PAC
Monday, Nov. 11  
No School   
Veteran's Day 
Tuesday, Nov. 12  
3:00 p.m.  
Reflections Art Contest Submissions Due, Attendance Office 
Tuesday, Nov. 19  
7:00 p.m.  
Boosters Meeting, Staff Rm. 
Wednesday, Nov. 20  
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  
Parent Ed Series: What's All the Buzz?, Woodside HS MUR
Friday, Nov. 22  
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.  
10th Annual Dream Club Dinner, Gym 1   
You Know You've Been Meaning To...  
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Not sure if you have joined yet this 2019-20 year?  Check the latest Membership List.

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 Parent Education

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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)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton  
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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Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit
What's All the Buzz with JUUL & Similar Vape Devices?
Wednesday, November 20, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)
199 Churchill Avenue, Woodside
What do parents, students, and educators need to know about JUUL, vaping, e-cigarettes, and vape devices?
The Stanford Tobacco Prevention Toolkit offers education for parents and teachers to prevent middle and high school students' use of e-cigarettes and vapes (including JUUL and other pod-based devices).
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! Free admission and light refreshments. Spanish interpretation will be available.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Woodside PTSA, 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 Event

Slow Parenting: Raising Children in a Fast World
FREE Parent education event jointly hosted by Paly and Gunn PTSAs
Monday, November 4, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.  
Haymarket Theatre, 50 Embarcadero Rd., Palo Alto 
Hear Speaker Carl Honoré talk about the powerful drive to reinvent childhood for the 21st century, touching on themes ranging from technology and extracurricular activities to education, safety and consumerism.  Carl Honoré is the global guru of the fast-growing "Slow Movement" from London.  This award-winning author, broadcaster and TED speaker travels the world teaching individuals and organizations that the best way to power forward in today's hyper-competitive, hurry-hurry world is often the radical act of willful deceleration.