October 31, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
The Mighty Sequoia!
Are your Monday mornings anything like mine?  The mad rush to get everyone up and out of bed, the barrage of reminders to your kids: "Don't forget to turn in your sports form to the athletic office!" "Ms. Ignaitis needs your College Visit permission slip today!" "Please eat some cereal before you go!" "Did you pack your lunch?" "Do you have your homework?"
In the crazy whirlwind that goes with having kids, it's sometimes easy to forget how great they really are, and how fortunate we are to have them in our lives.  As far as child-rearing is concerned, the high school years are truly remarkable.  We try to balance between holding tightly to our "kids" and letting go of these burgeoning adults. It is really amazing to see what they are capable of when we step back a bit and watch.
Recently, I have had the pleasure of interacting with some Sequoia students and, honestly, it fills me with pride to see them in action. This year the International Festival was organized and executed by a group of super-motivated and hard-working students who for months acted as event planners coordinating stage rental logistics, obtaining insurance forms, booking talent and food truck vendors, and mobilizing more than a dozen clubs to participate on the day.  This past week at the 8th Grade Info Night, the halls of school were packed with students of all grades charged with helping prospective Sequoia families navigate the campus.  They looked and sounded like professional tour guides! Even more recently, as I was arranging the speaker for this week's PTSA meeting -- Anthony Ross from the Adolescent Counseling Center -- the idea came up to have a student club present as well.  My e-mail request to the GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) Club got me a quick, concise, and professional response from the club president who was ready and willing to speak at our meeting.  I have received an awful lot of e-mails from colleagues at work that didn't have the clarity and politeness of the one I received from the GSA student.
I am so glad to see our kids in action at Sequoia. I am confident that they are being provided with opportunities allowing them to spread their wings and test their abilities in and out of the classroom.  This will serve them well as they head into the wide world. 

As the expression goes, "it can be hard to see the forest for the trees."  It's so easy to get caught up in our daily grind that we can't imagine that our own kids are transforming into adults, but it's happening. So come along to a PTSA meeting or volunteer at a school event, and see for yourself what our forest of Sequoia students can do, and you may even see someone there that you recognize!
Have a safe and Happy Halloween, and full steam ahead to November!

Lisa Hane, Sequoia PTSA President

PTSA Meeting Tomorrow
Join us at the monthly PTSA meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1, which will start off with our annual PTSA/ELAC (English Learner Advisory Council) potluck dinner at 6:30 PM in the MPR.  All are welcome!

Then our regular meeting will begin at 7 PM in the MPR with Principal Sean Priest, followed by a presentation by Anthony Ross from Adolescent Counseling Services and student leaders from Sequoia's GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance).  We will also hear updates on other PTSA activities such as Mini-Grants and the Reflections Program.   View the full agenda here.  Hope to see you there!

Dreams Come True
Please join Sequoia's Dream Club for our 7th annual Making Dreams Come True dinner on Friday, November 18 from 6:00-8:30 PM in the MPR.  Support immigrant youth as they pursue their educational dreams!  All proceeds from the dinner go to our scholarship fund, see this flyer for details.

Enjoy Some Art 
reflections art program
Judges needed! Want to look at thoughtful and beautiful photographs? Read a few short stories or poems? React to paintings, drawings, or sculpture? Then be a judge for Reflections, in any of the 6 categories, and see what Sequoia students are creating and what they are thinking about.   It's not a big time commitment (under 2 hours) and it has a clear end point!

Please email or  Rachel  Levine at if you can help.

Also, this is a reminder that the deadline for students to submit entries is this Friday, November 4.

Choir/VPA Spreads Their Sounds
Choir Director Othello Jefferson reports on the impact of the Mini-Grant that they were awarded last spring:

The PTSA was instrumental in helping the Choral Class/VPA Dept. purchase a PA system (Behringer PPA 2000BT)  to use for performance opportunities that require amplification, both inside the Sequoia community and outside in the greater Redwood City/San Mateo County community. Up until last Spring, the Choir did not have a portable system available to use when needed. We are very fortunate to now have this quality system, as it will help Choral and VPA when we need amplification for rehearsals, performances, class room use, open air campus performances, presentations, art shows in performance spaces, schools, art galleries, etc.

The PA system has been put to good use for various performances and activities since last Spring:
  • May 2016: Choir's 5th Annual Vocal Showcase. 
  • June 2016: "The Hall Passes" (Sequoia's own teacher band) sang at the staff luncheon/Senior BBQ.
  • September-December 2016: The system is being used to prepare students to perform in front of an audience with microphones (Friday Vocal Showcase performances during Choir @ 7th Period).
  • October 2016: The Choir used the system to perform for the Homecoming Rally.
In my Choral class, one of the most challenging aspects of singing is the issue of stage fright. Having this system has helped my students in Choral class to become more comfortable with singing in front of others. I have noticed that many students are more relaxed, more assured, and more engaged with communicating in song using a microphone and amplification. This aspect of singing is crucial to connecting with an audience and telling a "musical story" as you perform. Having such a system gives me a state of the art system to use to develop the abilities of my students!

PTSA Mini-Grants are supported by funding from the SHSEF

Greet Prospective Sequoia Families 
On Saturday, November 5, Sequoia's ASB students will be leading tours of Sequoia's campus for 7th-8th graders and their families.  If you are a current parent and would like to help greet families and answer questions during the tours , please contact the PTSA at 

Last Chance for Evergreens 
evergreen wreath Thank you to everyone who has already purchased items from the Sequoia Evergreen Sale. This is the last week to order, so please put your order in today! As a reminder, this year the sale will support the Sophomore Class of 2019 Safe & Sober Graduation activities. 

We are offering 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.

Orders must be placed by THIS Friday, November 4th. Thank you for your support, and please contact with any questions.

Cross-Country Team Shows Community Spirit
nullA shout-out goes to Sequoia's Cross-Country Team for spending their Saturday morning, starting at 7 AM, volunteering at the OktobeRun on Oct. 29 which benefitted the Redwood City Education Foundation.  Team members distributed water and cheered on race participants with lots of Sequoia spirit.  This is just one example of how our students give back to the community throughout the year!
Sequoia Cross-Country Team members volunteer at a water station at the OktobeRun in Redwood City this past Saturday.

Join Our PTSA Today 
Did you know that the PTSA is part of a broader organization that supports the Sequoia chapter?  The national PTA provides insurance, officer training, guidance and a voice for public education.  

Did you know that the deadline for the majority of our association fees is November 1st  , as in  tomorrow ? We have reached 60% of our goal and could use your support hitting 100%. Help us achieve our goal by  clicking here to join today . Your membership matters!  Not sure if you are a member? Check the membership list on our PTSA website.

Start Your Holiday Shopping 
Are you looking for nice yet easy hostess, birthday or holiday gift? Look no further.  Shop at and enter the code 5ZF16 upon checkout along with Sequoia High School Class of 2017, and our class will receive 40% back on each order placed. 

In addition to their nice-looking, sturdy, reusable grocery tote bags, they also have insulated coolers, compact & sturdy totes, and lightweight backpacks that are perfect for travel. They offer free shipping on orders of $75 or more, so check it out and get shopping without the hassle or crowds!

In This Issue
Monday, Oct. 31
Collab Day

Deadline for Senior Portraits and for turning in Senior baby pictures

Tuesday, Nov. 1
6:30 PM - ELAC/PTSA potluck dinner, MPR
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

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

Friday, Nov. 4
3 PM - Deadline for  Reflections Arts Program submissions

Deadline for  PTSA Evergreens orders

Saturday, Nov. 5
10 AM - Campus Tours for prospective Sequoia families

Monday, Nov. 7
Block B Day

Friday, Nov. 11
Veterans Day Holiday, No School

Friday, Nov. 18
6 PM - Dream Club Dinner, MPR

Nov. 18-20
7 PM Fri & Sat, 3 PM Sun - Sequoia musical "Loserville," Carrington Hall

Nov. 23-25
Thanksgiving holiday
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