November 20, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
" I feel grateful working at Sequoia. We are all a family here, a very friendly, safe, and joyful community," said Spanish teacher Roberto Verdeses when asked to reflect on what he's grateful for going into the Thanksgving holiday week.

The prompt solicited a variety of responses, including recognition of our strong partnership with parents and families. "I'm grateful for our parent community!" said Tessa Yeager , history teacher and AVID coordinator.

Some staff members offered individual shout-outs to parent leaders who contribute to kids' experience at Sequoia. "I'm grateful to Guadalupe Medina, mother of Benjamin and Sheila Esquivel Medina, for being a friend and advocate to other Spanish-speaking parents whose concerns might not have been shared were it not for Lupe's caring," said special education teacher Elizabeth Guli .  

AVP Secretary Grace Horton reflected on her personal experience as a new team member last year, " I'm grateful for the outpouring of support from our outgoing PTSA President [Lisa Hane], incoming PTSA President [Lauren Pachkowski] and PTSA members I received as a new employee at the Sequoia High School site; they were all ready to assist me in any capacity to serve our students. I want to say thanks for the warm welcome!"

ELD teacher Stacy Wenzel added, "I am grateful for Rachel Levine's thoughtful response to my questions in regards to giving students with limited English access to the Reflections project. Opportunities for students to express themselves artistically are so important. I appreciate how Sequoia has created a way for all students who participate to be recognized even if they are not winners. I am grateful for Marlena Griffin's work on the PTSA grants. I am sure many other parents also work on this committee, and I am grateful for their work, too. These grants support teacher and student initiatives and help provide seed money for new ideas."

The mini-grant program also inspired Health Careers Academy coordinator and social studies teacher Ashley Gray , who, speaking on behalf of his department, added, " the Social Studies Department is grateful for PTSA Mini Grant support of the Vernon Dahmer Voter Hall of Fame."

"Words just cannot do justice to how Sequoia's parents have gone above and beyond to provide for my students, particularly the journalism program. I have nothing but praise for their steadfast support and attention." offered Minu Dave , English teacher and Raven Report advisor.

Ms. Wenzel went on, in more general terms, to add: "I am grateful to the parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents when I need to make the tough call when classroom behavior is not meeting expectations. Parents and guardians are receptive and look for ways to support our expectations," before adding (near and dear to my heart), "I am grateful for all the parents who prepared delicious food for our holiday lunch last year. This is such a busy time, and it is so wonderful to meet the parents and try their delicious food."  Amen.

Teachers also expressed gratitude for our amazing students. " Each day," said math teacher Martine DeMailly , "I'm excited to go to work at Sequoia to teach my students. And each day, I'm excited to see each one of them, hear something new about their life, or see a smile on their face. This school feels like home, where teachers and staff care so much about the students and about each other."

Social studies teacher Lydia Cuffman picked up on this, too: "Our student body is kind, goofy, polite, and inquisitive. I love working with these wonderful young people."

"I love hearing students' thoughts on all that is currently happening in our nation and in our world, and making applications to our curriculum," said English teacher Justine Rutigliano , while her colleague Jasmine Schimek added, " I am thankful for my students - their trust in me, the relationships we build thoughout the year, and their ability to laugh at my terrible puns."

It is these relationships that drive our greatest accomplishments, and these relationships are strong among staff, as well.  Science teacher Davina Gazulla is "g rateful for supportive and fun colleagues," while her department member Allison Honold went on to add, " I'm thankful for colleagues who work hard to improve their practice every day. Everyone here cares so much about students and providing the best education to all students."

Hopefully these expressions of gratitude from staff give you a sense of where we draw our inspiration: from each other, from your students, and from you!  Together we keep this community strong and thriving.

Happy Thanksgiving on behalf of the Sequoia High School Staff.

Have a great week!
Read All About It!
Ms. Davé and her journalism students have just published their 3rd issue of the Raven Report this year.   Find out what Sequoia students are thinking and doing by going to this link!

The Raven Report is supported by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Chicago  Breaks Sequoia Records!
Carrington Hall was packed at all three performances of Chicago this past weekend.  Excitement was in the air as 26 student cast members, 12 backstage crew members, and 21 pit musicians brought the show to life.

As a special bonus, representatives from the Rita Moreno High School Musical Honors attended both Saturday and Sunday shows evaluating the performances for possible recognition.  Congratulations to all the students, staff and parents who made this show a success, especially to director Danny Broome, music director Othello Jefferson, choreographer Lauren Reibstein, technical director  Dave Briggs, and costume designer Britt Broome!

The cast of Chicago entertained full audiences with razzle-dazzling performances over the weekend.
Student Literature Journal 
Issue 1 of the student-produced Literary Journal All That's Lit to Print is available now.  Check it out and see what our student writers and artists can do!  This journal was funded by a PTSA mini-grant awarded to student Rio Popper, with advisor Mr. Muys.

Thank you to the SHSEF for helping to make the Mini-Grants Program possible! 
Dream Dinner
On Friday, November 17th, Sequoia's gym was packed with over 400 guests to enjoy the 8th annual Dream Club Dinner which helps raise money each year for college scholarships for Sequoia's first generation students. The event included dinner, speeches from the principal, superintendent, and community leaders, as well as student presentations and personal stories. In addition, the seniors received commendations from the offices of Congresswomen Eshoo and Speier. 

Students make presentations at the Dream Club Dinner last Friday.

A special quilt "Making Dreams Come True" was presented. Quilt artist  Maryse Frivold (a former Sequoia parent) volunteered her time to help club members in making the quilt, which involved scanning family photos, putting them into collages, and implementing them onto the quilt.  As seen in the photo below, the silhouettes are the actual silhouettes of our senior Dream Club members. SHS Media Center Specialist  Betsy Snow photographed the students, and then the silhouettes were traced onto fabric, cut out and ironed onto the road scene.  The butterfly designs were created by local artist  Favianna Rodriguez.

Thanks also goes to: 
  • Stacey Ardelan and her theater company FUSE theater who masterminded the students' theater pieces. 
  • Cristelda Guillen and the Latino Student Union for making the table decorations and doing childcare.  
  • Jane Woodman and the SHS jazz band who welcomed guests as they arrived.  
  • Jane Slater, Kate Sheehan and Scott Stalder for organizing the event!  
This is an amazing evening so if you missed it this year, put it on your calendar for 2018!

"Making Dreams Come True" quilt made by the Dream Club.
Thanksgiving Generosity Abounds!
Mayela Ramirez and her team at the Parent Center worked their magic once again to provide ingredients for Thanksgiving meals for our community members.  A shout-out goes to all the Sequoia families who generously donated food or clothing items, and in record time! 

Mayela would like to send a special thank you to these students who went the extra mile by working in the Parent Center four days in a row preparing the baskets:  Lizbeth Bautista, Cristina Moreno, Lizbeth Nolasco,  Julia Ferrer!

Above - Clothing and food donations in the Parent Center. Below - Students help assemble Thanksgiving meal baskets for Sequoia families in need.

Help the Class of 2018 When Purchasing Your Christmas Tree
Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when you buy a holiday tree at  HONEY BEAR TREESBring this flyer when you purchase your tree and wreath.  (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot.) 

Sequoia 2018 Grad Activities recibirá el 15% del precio de compra cuando usted compre un árbol de Navidad en HONEY BEAR TREESSimplemente muestre este folleto cuando usted compre su árbol y corona. (Si se le olvida, no se preocupe en la parcela abra más volantes disponibles.)
There are three locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:
  • 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City - open now
  • 651 El Camino Real, Redwood City (RWC American Legion lot - new this year) - opens 11/25
  • 2495 S. Delaware Street, San Mateo (San Mateo County Event Center) - opens 11/24
Hours are 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM, 7 days a week.
Senior Cruise on the Hornblower - Tickets Available
As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, we can sit back and reflect on what we are thankful for.   Is one of them your senior? Show them how much they are appreciated -- p urchase tickets for the June 8th grad night!

Tickets are available here for $70.  Questions please contact  Jayne Sungail .

In This Issue

Monday, Nov. 20
B day

Wednesday, Nov. 22 thru Friday, Nov. 24
Thanksgiving Holiday - No classes

Tuesday, Dec. 5
PTSA Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Dec. 6
7 PM - Choir and Orchestra Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Dec. 7
7 PM - Bands Winter Concert, Carrington Hall

Tue-Thu, Dec. 19-21
Finals ( see schedule here)

Friday, Dec. 22 
Winter break begins

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