December 12, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Last Thursday, students from Sequoia's JAVA programming class visited Facebook headquarters as part of the Hour of Code .  There was a career panel featuring Facebook engineers, coding activities for the students, and a presentation of highlights from last year's VR video production competition in which Sequoia's students participated (and shined).

Sequoia's partnership with Silicon Valley is robust.  In addition to Facebook, who subsidized the creation of our innovative Mobile App Design course 2 years ago, Sequoia partners with Oracle to run JAVA and SQL courses.  SAP recently funded a state-of-the-art video production studio on campus and has worked with students around issues of cyber-security and online safety.  Additionally, many of our Academy mentors work for local tech businesses.

Sequoia students interested in technology and digital arts can enroll in elective classes such as Mobile App Design, JAVA, or IB ITGS (Information Technology in a Global Society), an academic elective that examines the interaction between communities and their digital tools.  In tenth grade, students can apply to be a part of Sequoia's Digital Arts Academy, which allows them to complete coursework in computer animation, graphics, and video production.   

We are fortunate to educate students in such a creative and progressive local community.  Opportunities like the one our students enjoyed last week are not available in most parts of the world.  We are also fortunate to educate students at a time when technology is expanding our ability to access information from around the world.  The proliferation of devices and software allows students and teachers to collaborate and provide targeted constructive feedback more efficiently than ever.

There are challenges too, of course, large and small.  As our understanding of media literacy evolves, so too does the fundamental nature of knowing, learning, and intelligence.  We wrestle with the practical challenges of how to keep our kids safe from threats and disinformation.  Likewise, larger philosophical and cognitive questions will need to be addressed within a generation.

Sequoia alumni such as Gordon Moore and Ray Dolby pioneered significant aspects of the world we live in today.  Looking out from the stage in Carrington Hall, I've often told students, "Both your smartphones and your headphones started right here."  With great teachers like Cameron Dodge, Victoria Mitchell, Steven Wong, Greg Stein, and Betsy Snow spearheading tech instruction at Sequoia, future principals will tell students a similar story for a long time.   I smile imagining Sequoia students in 2077 inspired to dream big by such a story.  

Of course, other students will find inspiration watching particles dance gloriously through a beam of Carrington Hall sunlight, not hearing a word being said. Some magical things are eternal.

Dream on and have a great week!

New Families Added for Adopting
If you haven't signed up yet to provide a gift to Sequoia families in need, there's still time!  More families have been added during the last few days -- for a total of 53 families -- so view our gift list if you would like to help.  

Please bring all items to the Parent Center (Room 129) by Monday, December 19.  Thank you to the many people who have already signed up!

Reflections Winners Announced
The first round of the National PTA Reflections Arts recognition program has ended, with winning entries from Sequoia that will move to the district-level PTA for judging. Entries selected from the districts will then move up to their respective state PTAs for another round, and the winners from there move to the national level. 

At Sequoia we had a total of 31 entries across 6 of the categories: Literature, Film Production, Musical Composition, Photography, Visual Arts, and Special Artist.   We commend all the artists who submitted entries this year!

We had a particularly strong showing in Photography with 16 entries (thank you, Ms. Sheehan!). The Award of Excellence (1st place) went to Isabel Donovan for "Hidden Integration." An Award of Merit (2nd place) was awarded to Kayla McSweeney for her photo "Angel on Trial."  Honorable Mention (3rd place) went to Ellis Spickermann for "Steps." 

In the Visual Arts category, both 2- and 3-dimensional art could be entered this year. Maya Donovan's 3-D entry "Gifts of the Past," a paper dress made from book pages ( shown above), received an Award of Excellence. Thomas Greenhill's optical illusion wood board (also 3-D) received the Award of  Merit.

In Literature, the Award of Excellence was awarded to Beatrice Bugos for her essay "A Pair of Shoes."  An Award of Merit was awarded to Shannon Coan for her piece "The Unplanned Child."

In Musical Composition, the Award of Excellence went to Michael Dooley for his multi-layered piece "Life Goes On."  In Film Production, Briana Amaya-Adle's piece "Mountain Above" received the Award of Excellence.   And in the Special Artist division, Remy Zerber 's cheerful entry "All About Me" received an Award of Merit.

In the Spring we will have a Reflections reception to recognize the participants and to share all the entries with our community. In the meantime, the Photography and Visual Arts entries are on display in the main hallway across from Ms. Ignaitis's office.  You can also view the amazing, winning entries on our PTSA website!

Above - "Hidden Integration" by Isabel Donovan; below - "Tri-Color Butterfly Cutting Board" by Thomas Greenhill.

Shout-Out to Reflections Judges
A HUGE THANK YOU to our volunteer Reflections judges for giving us their time and for their careful attention to the creative endeavors of our entrants!  We could not do this without you:  Grace Schulz, Hilary Paulson, Susie Gilbert, Natalia Menendez, Benedicte Richardson, Camille Fischer, Lisa Hane, Jayne Sungail, Catherine Heller, Elizabeth Gomez, Tom Sharp, Ann Berljafa, Kelly Bravo and the Art in Action folks down in Menlo Park.

Holiday Shopping that Benefits the Class of 2017
While doing your holiday shopping, consider these ways in which you can benefit the Class of 2017's Safe and Sober Grad activities!

Honey Bear Trees for your holiday tree or wreath - Visit any of their 3 locations:  Redwood City (Woodside Road), San Carlos (El Camino Real), and San Mateo (Delaware Street).  See this flyer (volante aquí­) for details.


LoveBags - These stylish and useful bags make great gifts!  See this flyer or visit and enter code 5ZF16.


Raven Report: Online
You may have seen copies of the student newspaper, the Raven Report, coming home with your students or  floating around school. (Watch for the next issue coming out this week!) Did you also know that there is an online version at  The Raven Report website includes additional articles that are not in the print version, and also has special features such as audio pieces.  Be sure to check it out and see the great work of our student journalists!

Help Appreciate Our Teachers/Staff
We just need a few more spots to be filled for our Holiday Staff Luncheon on Wednesday, December 21.  Click here to provide a food item, donate a gift card, or help at the event (shifts from 10:00-12:00, 12:30-1:30 and 1:45-2:30).  Thank you!

In This Issue
Monday, Dec. 12
Collab day

Dec. 12-19
Bring Adopt-a-Family gifts to the Parent Center, Room 129

Dec. 19-21
Finals (Finals schedule here)

Wednesday, Dec. 21
Holiday Staff Luncheon

Thursday, Dec. 22

Winter break begins

Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017
Classes resume

Thursday, Jan. 19
6 PM - 8th Grade IB Info Meeting, Carrington Hall (7 PM en español, en la biblioteca)

6:30 PM - Middle College Information Meeting, 480 James Avenue

Saturday, Jan. 21
10-11:30 - 7th/8th Grade Sequoia Campus Tours

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