November 11, 2019  
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Civil Rights Icon Shares Her Wisdom With Sequoia Students

Minnijean Brown-Trickey and Ashley Gray presenting in front of an image from the historic day in 1957.
"Walk the halls like you belong there, because you do!" insisted Minnijean Brown-Trickey to a packed Carrington Hall last Friday morning.  Moments earlier, the Sequoia students and staff had greeted the civil-rights icon with a rousing ovation as she joined teacher Ashley Gray on stage.  They stood tall in their resplendent mosaic of Jordans, Birkenstocks, Crocs, Vans, Chucks, and every other kind of shoe you'd imagine a student body as diverse as Sequoia's would favor as they walk their halls every day.  Like they belong.

Minnijean acknowledged the diversity before her with an eloquence and profundity that only someone with her unique life experience could.  "If the richness in the mix of faces I'm looking at were gold," she told the students, "it would be stacked to the ceiling." 

Sixty two years ago, Minnijean Brown-Trickey was one of nine African-American students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Under protection from National Guard troops deployed by President Eisenhower, she endured threats and violent harassment from her classmates.  It was a chapter in our nation's history where our ugliest and most inhumane impulses were exposed.  

The values of Sequoia aspire towards a community wholly distinct from the Jim Crow south.  This is, after all, A Place of Friends.  If our work was done and our vision realized, however, I doubt that Minnijean's story would resonate with students in the way that it did on Friday.  Mr. Gray, in his introductory remarks, captured it well: "Yes, our school is beautifully diverse.  But if we dig beyond the surface, we will notice divisions exist.  They exist on cultural levels, economic levels, and orientation levels.  These divisions are reinforced by the echo chambers that our social media traps us in."

Digging in to this aspect of our story, something we rarely take the time to do in such a large setting, was the goal of Friday's assembly.  We gathered 800 students to, as Mr. Gray put it, "listen, consider, reflect, and, ideally, apply some of the wisdom Minnijean will share... to break free of the fabricated social media noise we are continuously inundated with and look and treat each other with the love, respect, and dignity we all deserve."

And so it was.  One of Minnijean's superpowers is her ability to present events from over a half century ago in a timeless way.  She spoke of how she remembered students at Central.  "We counted twenty students who were nice to us, 200 who were cruel, and 1800 who were silent witnesses."
Students and staff filled Carrington Hall at the assembly last Friday.

From the balcony, I watched the torsos below pitch forward slightly, leaning in.  It was as if she had unlocked the experience of every student who had ever been bullied which, as confirmed by a subsequent show of hands, was most of the students.  It was a moment of empowerment, another one of Minnijean's gifts.  The power to change the world, she explained, has always been most potent when wielded by teenagers.  

Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, who Minnijean named as examples to rousing applause, are contemporary examples of this phenomenon.  But just as impactful, she continued, are those who reject the inclination to be among the silent witnesses each day - walking tall in their own shoes and lifting those around them up, as well. 

"You have the power."

We are so grateful to count Minnijean Brown-Trickey among our friends at Sequoia.  Her story and wisdom reinforce our values and mission.   I know my resolve is strengthened to celebrate the heroes among our student body and continue the important work we're doing to brighten the glow of our Unaliyi .

Have a great week!
Mark Your Calendars
End-of-Semester Art Show:  November 14 - December 6
Please stop by the Powell Art Gallery sometime in the next three weeks for Sequoia's End-of-Semester Art Show.   The show will feature art from Drawing, Painting, Art I, Ceramics, Digital Photography and IB Art, years one and two.  First-year art students have mastered some basics and are now ready to really show off some creativity.  You'll also be able to view the top-notch artwork of our Advanced art students who are deep in their creative grooves.  
Note: The Powell Gallery is open during the school day lunch-periods.  All visitors to the campus during the school day (including to the Powell Gallery) will first need to check-in with the AVP office for a visitor's pass.

Sequoia's Annual Adopt-a-Family Project Launches November 18, 2019!
Holiday Gift Program Please join us in making a difference for a Sequoia family-in-need this holiday season by donating a gift to our Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project.  Over 100 Sequoia families are facing a particularly stressful time this year.  You can help!   Our Adopt-a-Family wish list will be released to the public on November 18th with hundreds of gift wishes to choose from.  You will be able to  sign up to contribute one gift, two gifts... or gifts for a whole family! 
What is Sequoia's Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Project?

This  is a Sequoia tradition started over 20 years ago by a few caring Sequoia teachers.  It started with gifts for about ten families and teachers paying for those gifts out of their own pockets.  Since then, the program has grown significantly.  Thanks to the Family Center and SHSEF, last year we were able to expand the program to include 100 Sequoia students and families for the first time, a 34% increase from the year before.  This year we are hoping to serve even more families in need. 

This project helps Sequoia's hardest hit students and families to enjoy the winter holiday season with gifts that inspire joy, build community, and reduce stress.  We are coordinating over 600 gifts that will be distributed during finals week in December.  Our recipients are students who are tackling school while they and their families face tremendous personal challenges this year -- stretching a very modest income each month while dealing with a job loss, serious illness or death, immigration crisis, or homelessness.
Questions?  Please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair,, (650) 387-8390.  Thank you!  ¡Gracias!

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 eightPurchase your tickets here.  For questions, please contact Jane Slater.
SHSEF Annual Campaign Aims to Raise $630,000

There is no question that our school and students excel because we have an engaged community of parents, business leaders, educators, and neighbors who are willing to invest in our students' education and futures.  Our annual campaign is in full swing and y our donations support enriched learning opportunities, better prepared teachers, and college-bound students.  Your gift also supports:
  • Chromebooks
  • Class Size Reduction
  • College Center Staffing and Programs
  • Visual and Performing Arts Materials
  • Afterschool Math Tutoring
  • Parent Education and Family Support
Our goal this year is to raise $630,000 to continue and expand the resources that make Sequoia a place where all students can thrive.  Please give today and make a difference in the lives and success of all our students!    

Reflections 2019-20: Look Within - Turn in Your Art by Tuesday, November 12 
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
Former SHSEF President, Jennifer Webb, Honored as a 2019 Distinguished Volunteer Fundraiser

For those who know Jennifer Webb, they are aware of the countless hours and years she dedicated to the students and families at Sequoia High School and San Carlos.  As a board and former President of the Sequoia High School Education Foundation ( SHSEF), "Jen" grew the funds raised for Sequoia from $60K to over $600K over the past eight years.  Because of her efforts, SHSEF is able to fund critical programs and resources this year, including a full-time College Counselor, class size reductions, and family and mental health support for its 2,100 students.

The SHSEF Board was proud to nominate Jen for a 2019 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award at the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) of Silicon Valley.  Among many of Silicon Valley's most dedicated volunteers and philanthropists, which included Cisco, Kathy Kwan, and Carol Larsen of The Packard Foundation, Jen was honored at AFP's November 8th luncheon at Villa Ragusa in Campbell.

Pictured left to right are SHSEF Board Members, Julie Juergens, Amy Walsh, Alisa MacAvoy, Distinguished Volunteer Fundraiser Jen Webb, Tessa Solomon, Carolyn Arbuckle, and Heather Alexander.

Kudos to Sequoia Choral Director Othello Jefferson

"I, Too, Sing America (ITSA)", a show conceived, composed for, and musically directed by Sequoia Choral Director Othello Jefferson, won three Theatre Bay Area Awards (Tier 3) at Herbst Theater in San Francisco on November 5, 2019.  
ITSA celebrates and weaves various perspectives and experiences by American artists of color into poetry, song, music, and movement, using a diverse cast of singers, actors, poets, and performers.  The featured works are by Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer,  Beyoncé , Frances Chung, Gwendolyn Brooks, and more.
The awards received were for:
- Outstanding Choreography: Christine Susan Chung
- Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Jamie Yuen-Shore
- Outstanding Production of a Musical

The cast from ITSA presenting a snippet of their musical on Theatre Bay Area Awards night.
In This Issue
Monday, Nov. 11  
No School   
Veteran's Day 
Tuesday, Nov. 12  
3:00 p.m.  
Reflections Art Contest Submissions Due, Attendance Office  
Nov. 14 - Dec. 6 
Lunch Hour 
End of Semester Art Show, Powell Gallery 
Tuesday, Nov. 19  
7:00 p.m.  
Boosters Meeting, Staff Rm.  
Wednesday, Nov. 20   
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.  
Winter Sportsmanship Night, Gym 1   
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   
Saturday, Nov. 23   
10:00 - 11:00 a.m.   
Campus Tours every 10 minutes, Main Entrance 
Monday, Nov. 25   
B-Day Schedule   
Tuesday, Nov. 26   
A-Day Schedule 
Wednesday, Nov. 27 - Friday, Nov. 29  
No School
Thanksgiving Break 
Latest Media Center Newsletter

Check out the Media Center's latest newsletter.  Ms. Snow, Sequoia's Media Specialist, distributes this guide to teachers and staff monthly.  The newsletter includes links to fun and helpful resources for students.

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Not sure if you have joined yet this 2019-20 year?  Check the latest Membership List from October 6, 2019.

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 Parent Education

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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 .