December 3, 2018  

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
TopPTSA Message
It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of writing to the Sequoia community via the Sentinel ("The best school newsletter in Northern California - all killer and no filler!" according to our most unbiased critic, Principal Sean Priest).  So, when current PTSA president, Erika Pretell, asked me to fill in for her this month, I was more than willing.
When I was PTSA president in 2015 and 2016, I looked forward to the first Sunday morning each month when I had to submit my article to the editor.  I would sit at my computer, coffee cup at my side, ready to share some anecdote or observation that I thought our readers would enjoy.  This week, confronted with my assignment, I struggled to find a topic!  Sure, I could write about all the amazing parents who give their time and money to help Sequoia thrive and grow - too many names to mention.  Or about our dedicated teachers and staff who often go above and beyond what is expected of them to help our kids - plenty of props given by Principal Sean Priest in his weekly missives.  Perhaps something about the attacks on public education in this political climate?  Immigration reform?  Not gonna go there right now.

Instead, how about a few words of wisdom to help navigate the holidays?  If this season fills you with comfort and joy, there is no need to read on.  But for any of you who experience sadness, stress, and the feeling that the holidays are not all they're cracked up to be, why not give yourself a break.  Take some time to do something that makes you happy.  Surround yourself with people you really love.  Sometimes, that does not include the family you were born into!  Do something that grounds you - go for a walk, call an old friend, donate to a good cause (Sequoia's Parent Center Holiday gift drive perhaps?)
Last Friday night, my 9 th grader Bea and I went to a wild and wonderful alternative holiday show by performance artist Taylor Mac .  His thesis dispelled the need to re-create the perfect holiday based on unachievable traditional fantasies.  He banished the thought that one is not normal if you don't get caught up in this frenzied time of year.  Instead, he reminded the audience that "Normal's just a setting on the dryer."  Amen to that!
I hope you enter December enjoying the green leaves giving way to golds and oranges, celebrating the need to grab your umbrella and rain boots, and finding contentment where you can.  Make this season a gift to yourself, and finish out 2018 in your own style!

To paraphrase the ubiquitous song, have yourselves a merry little holiday, and I look forward to seeing you around campus! 
Lisa Hane
PTSA VP of Outreach and Communications 

PTSA Meeting is Tomorrow, December 4 
Join us at this month's PTSA General Meeting and ELAC meeting on  Tuesday, December 4 at  7:00 p.m. in the  MPR.   
Special guest  Vanessa Kellam  of   Health Connected, provider of Sequoia's  comprehensive sexuality education curriculum, will be our guest speaker at the PTSA meeting.  It's no longer just about the birds and the bees - come learn more and bring your questions!
Click to read the agenda for tomorrow's meeting. 
Holiday Luncheon to Celebrate Sequoia Teachers & Staff
Help the PTSA send our staff & teachers off for the holidays with a luncheon on Thursday, December 20!  There are lots of ways to get involved and pitch in to show our appreciation to our amazing team at Sequoia.
Click here to provide a food or drink item, donate a gift card, or help at the event (shifts from 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., and 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.).
Attention Seniors: Reserve Your Grad Night Cruise Ticket(s) Now and Make a Donation so More Grads Can Attend 
Celebrate graduation aboard the HORNBLOWER YACHT!  Cruise starts at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, June 7 until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday.  You and your fellow graduates will enjoy a 3-hour party cruising around the San Francisco Bay.  The evening will include food, music, dancing, photos and other fun activities.  Transportation to and from the event is included. The bus will return to school around 4 a.m.  Click here to purchase. 
While a graduation celebration may be a given for many, a few students  may not have the means for this culminating celebration of high school.  Help a student in financial need attend the 2019 Grad Night Hornblower Yacht Cruise.  Your donation will help subsidize grad night tickets available to students who otherwise would not be able to attend.  Thank you! 
2018 Holiday Shopping - Support 2019 Safe and Sober Grad Activities With Each Purchase 
Have you purchased your tree yet? 
Sequoia 2019 Grad Activities receives 15% of the purchase price when  you buy a holiday tree at HONEY BEAR TREES.  Bring this flyer when you purchase your tree and wreath. (If you happen to forget it, there will be extra flyers on the lot.) 
There are three locations convenient to our Sequoia school community:
  • 955 Woodside Road, Redwood City
  • 1579 El Camino Real, San Carlos
  • 651 El Camino Real, Redwood City
Hours are 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m., 7 days a week!
What about gifts that are practical and pretty?
Love Bags make great gift bags or a gift that lasts!  These bags are well-made, available in many different styles and 40% of each order goes directly to support our 2019 Safe & Sober Grad activities.   See this flyer for details. 
Check out all the different styles and order at  Remember to use Promo Code  SEQUOIA18 at checkout.     
Or a gift with a little school spirit?
Show your school spirit and enjoy watching your favorite Sequoia games on a comfortable stadium seat cushion.  They feature our Unaliyi logo and have an easy carrying handle.  
You can purchase yours online in our Webstore.
Neither Rain, Sleet, or Snow Could Keep Sequoia Musicians From Spreading Holiday Cheer!  
Mr. Othello Jefferson and the Sequoia Choir spreading cheer on stage. 
Maybe no flurries were in sight, but the steady beat of Saturday's downpour accompanied our Sequoia musicians throughout their performance at the Redwood City Hometown Holiday Festivities.  The band and choir treated listeners to a variety of musical selections, including some holiday favorites.  Despite the inclement weather, the mood was jolly as both the choir, led by Mr. Othello Jefferson, and band, led by Ms. Jane Woodman, launched a day of festivities around downtown Redwood City.

Ms. Jane Woodman led the band through holiday classics and other tunes.
Family Center Adopt-a Family Holiday Gift Project -- Here's How You Can Help 
Holiday Gift Program All of us at the Family Center are deeply moved by the outpouring of support for our students and families in need this year.  Thank you!  The sign-up list is over 70% filled; just over 100 gifts to go.  Please click here to see how you can help ... and feel free to share the project with friends, family or colleagues who might be interested.
With over 90 families' needs included, this is a long list to search through.  Here's a tip to help you find what you want fast: while on your computer, on the signup page, please click the box "Hide Full Spots" located in the upper right hand area of your screen, so that you can easily find which wishes are still not claimed.  Also be sure to click on the orange box at the end of each list that says "Show more spots".
Please include a gift receipt (or gift card activation receipt) whenever possible, gift-wrap and label each gift with the family's number and family member description.  Deliver your gift(s) to Sequoia's Family Center (Room 129) any day that works for you between December 10 -14, between 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.  If the Family Center is closed when you deliver, please deliver to the IB office across the hall.  Questions?  Please contact Elisa Niño-Sears, SHSEF Family Support Chair,, (650) 387-8390.
A huge thanks to Media Center Specialist Betsy Snow for capturing Sequoia enjoying the rain last week -- a series of rainbows promising us all a great 2019!
VIA Heart Project Successfully Unveils Undiagnosed Conditions

With Thanksgiving fresh in our minds, Sequoia's Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) Club would like to express our heart-felt appreciation to all the folks who supported the VIA Youth Heart Screening held at Sequoia High School on November 4, 2018.  
Whether you volunteered your time, donated materials or helped bring in neighborhood youth, we could not have done this without you.  Special thanks to the PTSA for the mini-grants that helped make this happen!  Together, we screened 299 individuals, 38 of those needed follow-up and 6 had previously undiagnosed cardiac issues.  
Thank you again and we wish you a joyous holiday season!
Spring 2018 Mini-Grant Impact Story: Day of Service
Math Studies Service Day Transportation
Mini-grant of $375
2018 Mini Grant
Students putting labels on unmarked cans.
Our mini-grant paid for bus transportation for two groups volunteering at the Second Harvest Food Distribution Center in San Carlos.  On Tuesday, May 22, students from all three sections of IB Math Studies volunteered to sort food.  The 7 students of the morning crew labeled and boxed 2,700 pounds of unlabeled cans of tomatoes. The afternoon crew of 13, sorted and boxed proteins into 28-pound loads, totaling 4,788 pounds and 171 cases.  It was a very rewarding four hours of labor.
When we were finished, students asked how they could volunteer as individuals.  The volunteer coordinator explained how to sign up.  She also suggested that soon-to-be graduates who had some extra time over the summer would be most welcome to return.  

2018 Mini Grant
Ms. Larkin and the afternoon crew.
Everyone who attended found it worthwhile and important.  We all felt great about helping others.  The coordinator noted an astounding statistic: Second Harvest serves more than a quarter of a million people
every month in the Bay Area, and they could not do this without the help of community volunteers.  Since this year's inaugural service project was such a huge success, next year we hope to expand this volunteer experience to more IB classes.  

Ms. Larkin & Ms. McDonald
PTSA Mini-Grants are offered twice each year to enhance education at Sequoia High School.  The grants are awarded to students, teachers, staff members and school groups who need financial support for projects or supplies that benefit the Sequoia community.  Grants are available up to $500 and are made possible by funding from the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF).
In This Issue

Tuesday, December 4
7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, December 12
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Winter Concert - Orchestra and Choir, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, December 13
7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Winter Concert - Bands, Carrington Hall

December 18 - 20
Finals' Week
Fall Finals Bell Schedule

December 20
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Teacher & Staff Appreciation Luncheon

Thursday, December 21 - Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Winter Break - No School

Wednesday, January 9
Back-to-School: Collaboration Schedule
Quick Links
In last week's article on the
Drowsy Chaperone, a couple of cast members were inaccurately named in the photo.  Leftmost is Lex Navarra and second from the right is Luke Kovscek.
~ Sentinel Editor   
Giving Tuesday May be Over but Giving Never Goes Out of Style   
Visit SHSEF now 
 to make your 2018 tax deductible donation! 
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Donate Your Old Bike - All Sizes Welcome 
If you have some bikes in your garage gathering cobwebs, or if you'd like to make a monetary donation, please contact:  Scott Stalder-Skarmoutsos: and Stephanie Weden: 
Join the PTSA  Anytime!  
Visit the
  to buy your 2018-19 PTSA membership today and contribute to Sequoia's Unaliyi spirit! 
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Sequoia Sentinel
If you have articles to submit to the Sentinel, please email the article/blurb by the end of the day on Thursday.  See Guidelines for news submissions. 
Find past issues of the Sentinel at  
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Parent Education

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Parent Ed
Alice Kleeman , College Advisor and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President, Trinity College
Twenty Years in College Admission - What Has Changed, What Hasn't: Reflections from Both Sides of the Desk
Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
What has changed in college admission over the past 20 years? And what has not changed? 
Join  Alice Kleeman , former M-A College Advisor, and  Angel Pérez, PhD , Vice President of Trinity College, for a lively conversation around college admission--from both sides of the desk. 
Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome!   Free admission and light refreshments.  Spanish interpretation will be available.
Questions?  Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at .

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