February 13, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
274 students at Sequoia are enrolled right now in first-year World Language classes, either Spanish or French.  For 5 hours each week, they learn useful vocabulary such as days of the week, body parts, and common foods.  They practice pronunciation, simple conversations, and conjugations of simple verbs.  These classes are designed to get students excited about and prepared for success in more advanced courses such as IB French and Spanish.  Most importantly, first-year language courses are designed to get students excited about the opportunities second-language fluency opens up.  

Down the hall, another group of students are also learning a second language in much the same way.  This group of students needs no convincing about how mastery of a new language goes hand-in-hand with opportunity.  Sure,  just like in French I, verb conjugations are still confusing and there's anxiety about mispronouncing a word in front of their friends.  Because these students are learning English, however (and in most cases they've only been living in the United States for a very short time), the stakes are high.    

Around 60 students at Sequoia fall into this category.  I'd give you a more precise number but it changes regularly as new students enroll.  Like most teenagers I've met, trust is hard-won, their kindness can catch you off guard, and they have amazing stories to tell.  They are Sequoia kids through and through: inspiring, funny, and smart.

When I was in a classroom last week with first-year English learners, the students were practicing the future tense.  In the same kind of activity you'd see in Spanish I or French I, they described the upcoming weekend (e.g. " Saturday it's going to rain..." and "I'm going to wear a jacket...") .  I know there's a lot of talk about the future throughout our community.  Sadly, much of this talk is shaded by fear and uncertainty.  Listening to emerging language learners laugh and goof while struggling to master the subtleties of sentence structure was a welcome break from the prevailing topics of the day.   

My feathers get ruffled sometimes when public schools are disparaged unfairly.  We open the doors of our schools to everyone.  Teachers and staff pour their hearts into creating memorable classroom experiences every day for every kid -- creating opportunities, one conversation at a time.  Our doors are open.  Critics who compare American public schools unfavorably to other models or countries forget this.  We don't.  In America, at our core, we hold inalienable that everyone is created equal.  A lot of people talk this talk.  Public schools walk it.


Mini-Grants: Final Call
The PTSA Spring Mini-Grants application closes this Friday, February 17th. Grants of $50-$400 are available to enhance students' educational experience at Sequoia.  Past grants have funded student club libraries and equipment, classroom learning materials, field trips, and special projects.  Students and teachers are encouraged to apply.  Please see the PTSA website for more information. 

PTSA Mini-Grants are funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation

LoveBags Are Still Available
These stylish and useful bags make great gifts!    See this flyer   or visit   and enter code 5ZF16 along with Sequoia High School Class of 2017 and we'll receive 40% back on each order received. There is free shipping on orders of $75 or more, so do some early Mother's Day shopping.

For Seniors: Grad Night Tickets 
Grad Night tickets are on sale now for $65 -- the price will be going up at the end of February!  Right now, your student can secure his or her spot with their classmates for a night to remember onboard a Hornblower Yacht, cruising around the SF Bay.  Included with the ticket price is transportation to and from the event, a buffet dinner onboard, fun games, a DJ and dancing, photo booth and more.  

These tickets make great Just-Finished-College-Applications gifts, You're-Going-to-Graduate gifts, or Just-Because-the-Price-is-Right gifts!  Click here to purchase a ticket for your student today.  Donations for Grad Week are also welcome and appreciated.

Gourmet Food, Giants Tickets, Vacation Getaways and More!
Please join us at the Sequoia Booster Crab Dinner & Auction on Saturday, March 4th at Redwood City's American Legion's Hall. All proceeds benefit the Sequoia sports program and provide essential equipment, transportation, uniforms, and more for our student athletes!

Doors open at 6 PM for cocktails and the silent auction. Mingle with your Sequoia sports friends and bid on some awesome cabins and Giants tickets. We also have Gourmet Chefs Joanna Dagum and Alessandra McCarty preparing the appetizers and all the food.  Chef Tommy Vargas will be making his famous homemade Marinara sauce for the pasta and Baker Mary Finn will be making her cake again this year which everyone raved about last year.  These are all parent volunteers sharing their talents.... After dinner there will be an exciting raffle and live auction.   Purchase tickets online here!

Shout-Out to Library Helpers
Thank you to our parent volunteers who helped in the Library Media Center last week to revamp the Textbook Room - Sue Anderson, Carolyn Arbuckle, Jennifer DiGrande, Lisa Hane, Lauren Pachkowski,  Sybille Smith and Julie Snyder!  

More library re-organization will happen in the spring, watch for future announcements.

Purple Patriots, Present and Future
Congratulations to Sharon Levin who was awarded the Purple Patriot Award from the Sequoia High School Alumni Association last Tuesday at the Sequoia PTSA Meeting .   Sharon is a long-time parent volunteer who over many years has been dedicated to helping student literacy at Sequoia, especially among Sequoia's LGBTQ student population.  In addition to the hours she has spent working with kids one-on-one to improve their skills, she has donated books to the library, brought speakers in to school, and served as an advisor to the Gender Sexuality Alliance club.  Thank you, Sharon for your passion and dedication!

Sharon Levin receives the Purple Patriot award from SHS Alumni Association President Ken Rolandelli and Principal Sean Priest.

The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is now soliciting nominations for its next Purple Patriot Award, which is given annually. Recipients will receive a framed certificate as well as have their name inscribed on a perpetual trophy on permanent display at the high school.  Nominees may be from Sequoia High School or the community at large.
Please indicate the nominee's individual name or organization name, stating why the nominee should receive this award. Indicate specifically what role the nominee played in directly providing the service or benefit to Sequoia High School and explain in detail what the service or benefit was.
Nominations must be submitted in writing to the Sequoia High School Alumni Association, P. O. Box 2534, Redwood City, CA 94064, or placed in the Sequoia High School Alumni Association mailbox near the Principal's office no later than March 10.

Sequoia Theater Presents "Tartuffe"
Sequoia High School's winter comedy, Jean Baptiste Moliere's "Tartuffe," performs in Carrington Hall on February 24 & 25 at 7 PM and February 26 at 3 PM . The Sunday Matinee is the drama program's annual scholarship performance, with all proceeds going towards scholarships for SHS theater students.  Tickets are available at .  

Opinions About Dead Week?
Encuesta Sobre La "Semana Muerta"
The Sequoia Site Council/Site Leadership Team (SSC/SLT), a decision-making body of parents, students, and staff, is interested in gathering opinions about the week before final exams (sometimes known as "Dead Week"). Please take this brief survey by February 16 to give your thoughts . Data will be collected and analyzed at one of our upcoming monthly meetings. For more information about SSC/SLT, please visit this website . Thank you very much!

In This Issue
Monday, Feb. 13
Collab Day

Friday, Feb. 17
8 PM - Deadline to  apply for Mini-Grants

Mon, Feb. 20-Tue, Feb. 21
President's Holiday - No school

Wednesday, Feb. 22
Traditional Monday schedule

Feb. 24 & 25 at 7 PM,
Feb. 26 at 3 PM

Winter Play - Tartuffe, in Carrington Hall (tickets here)

Saturday, March 4
6 PM - Booster Club Crab Feed, American Legion Hall

Tuesday, March 7 
 7 PM - PTSA Meeting with Reflections artists reception, MPR

Thursday, March 16
7 PM - Open House

Friday, March 17
Minimum Day

Deadline to apply for Middle College
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Community News

Latina Youth Leadership Conference
Saturday, March 4th, 9 AM-3:30 PM, Stanford University

Calling all Latina high school and middle school students: Please join us for the Latina Youth Leadership Conference (LYLC) at Stanford University on Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 9-3:30 PM. LYLC provides a safe, fun and educational environment where young Latina leaders can learn and grow. The conference will provide the opportunity for young women to interact with others from their community. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about issues affecting teens and to discover solutions that will empower them to succeed. 

The conference is completely FREE for all middle school and high school students and is meant to provide Latinas the opportunity to discuss issues affecting women, to establish academic goals, and to learn more about pathways to college. Lunch will be provided! 

If you know any students who would benefit from the conference, please invite them to attend! Additional information and the link to register can be found at   For more information, please contact Karen Camacho: