Once again for Thanksgiving week, I’ve collected a sample of Sequoia staff members’ reflections about the people for whom and things for which they are grateful. It has been my experience that consistent, frequent, and intentional focus on gratitude serves as a source of strength in our daily lives. Reading through my colleagues’ reflections affirms much of what makes our community so strong.
We’ll kick things off with Instructional Associate Kathy Ishibashi, who is “thankful for each of the mod/sev SPED students I have the privilege of working with because they teach me every day about kindness, joy, and compassion.”
Social studies teacher Lidia Cuffman also turned her attention to the Sequoia students. “At the end of every lesson,” she says “so many kids take a moment to unmute themselves to say goodbye or thank you, and it reminds me every class what a wonderful student body we have at Sequoia.”
Mme. Karina Chin is “thankful for all of my lovely students who make me laugh by just being themselves!”
More love for Sequoia’s kids from English teacher Emily Devoe, “I've never been more impressed by Sequoia students. They are brilliant and compassionate and resilient. They share their passions and their joys and their struggles online, even though we've never met in person. They make me proud to be a teacher, and especially a Sequoia teacher.”
New teacher Jared Bitz shared some personal shout-outs: First to "Tony Relator, for being a wonderful and cooperative colleague,” and to students “Emma Heist and Mathew Ruiz for always having positive energy in class and asking great questions.”
New to Sequoia and the profession, Talia Cain is “grateful for my colleagues on the 9th grade English team who have been so supportive and collaborative during my first year of teaching!”
“Thank you to all my colleagues in the World Languages Department for welcoming me so well and being so patient with me by keeping me updated with important information about the school and the curriculum,” says Juana Marchal, also new to Sequoia. “Now I feel happy and with the feeling of belonging to Sequoia as my favorite school during my professional experience! Thank you all for making me feel so good in my new school!”
Judy Romero, who oversees Sequoia’s Teen Resource Center, is “grateful for all the TRC staff and our wonderful Youth Advisory Board. Shout out to our amazing Counseling Department, College and Career Center, Family Resource Center, AVP Office, Miki Cristerna - Intervention Counselor, and Evelyn Valencia for all she does for our students. The Health Office Team, Claudia Rendon and Michelle Murray for never hesitating to support our students. Susie Bass and Linda Gordon for always reminding me about self-care. And finally, Sequoia's Admin Team for always having my back. I feel blessed working with such dedicated staff and students.”
Social studies teacher and Health Academy Coordinator Ashley Gray is grateful to colleagues for “stepping up to the immense challenges our students/families are facing with the pandemic/distance learning, as well as for rallying and supporting each other as needed too.”
Art teacher Mozy De Costa Pinto reflects on how “through this challenging and far from ideal year, I am thankful for Sequoia and our community -- families, students, and staff. I wouldn't want to be working anywhere else! Thank you to all my art 1 and IB art students who are persevering through the challenges of remote learning. Many times you have brought smiles to my face...thank you...you are what keeps me going. Thank you to my colleagues -- you are my grounding. Thanks for the laughter, guidance, friendship, and camaraderie.”
Finally, Adili Skillin recognized a colleague for her transformative contribution to Sequoia: “Ms. Henderson for all the work she has done quietly for Sequoia and the community.”
I hope everyone feels the same warmth of gratitude in reflecting on those with whom you work and spend time each day as we do here at school. Have a great long weekend and thank YOU for your partnership in making Sequoia such a special place!