March 19, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
29 outstanding students were feted last Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza in Foster City as winners of this year's Sequoia Awards.  The scholarship program recognizes excellence in volunteerism. The application process includes an interview, and selected students take home between $5000 and $25,000.  Of the 29 winners this year, 14 came from the Sequoia High School class of 2018.

Here are this year's winners from Sequoia:

Ashley Gonzales Contreras
Yareli Jimenez
Noah Masur
Jared Mejia
Melissa Paulino-Romero
Ivana Rodriguez
Maria Rodriguez
Kriti Shukla
Violeta Evans
Yohana Ramirez
Alix Richardson
Alejandra Sanchez-Castro
Yareli Solis

Clara MacAvoy was honored as Outstanding Student for 2018.  Her inspirational speech was a highlight of the evening.  It made a powerful case that the essence of education is empowering young people to make the world a better place.  It was the kind of speech we should print and hand out to every incoming ninth-grader at Sequoia.

I was proud of Clara and all our winners.  I was also proud to work in a community that celebrates the success of its young people with such a special event.  Each year, the ceremony brings together community leaders, students, their families, and their teachers. The dinner conversations are lively and reflect the diversity of Redwood City.  The span in age between the oldest and youngest attendees is around 75 years. I love events that create bridges across multiple generations -- such a powerful form of community.

With the Sequoia Awards, we unofficially kick-off the homestretch for the Class of 2018.  From here on out, each concert, awards night, prom, and finally graduation represents another major milestone for our next group of graduates.  I look forward to this time of year because the senioritis starts to melt away and the students surprise me again and again with their confidence, authenticity, and optimism.  Away we go!

Have a great week!
Boys Basketball Shines Like Gold as They Host Special Olympics Championships
The Boys Varsity Basketball Team concluded its season last Friday by sponsoring, for the 6th straight year, the Special Olympics Basketball Championships. Under the guidance of head coach Fine Laeuse, the players assisted over 225 special education peer athletes from Sequoia, M-A, Carlmont, Woodside, TRACE, Half Moon Bay, Burlingame and South San Francisco. Our young men served as referees and scorekeepers in the Unified game.  With the help of Sequoia teacher Brenda Soto, the Sequoia team also hosted a BBQ lunch for the participants and their parents.
Sequoia's Boys Varsity Basketball Team hosting the Special Olympics event last Friday.

"I have been involved with hundreds of events in my lifetime with Special Olympics and this was one moved me the most... These players coming off a tremendous season with a state loss just the night before this event demonstrated compassion, caring, dedication, enthusiasm, and positive energy to all," said Jim Bell, APE Specialist, SUHSD, who also assisted at the Olympics.
"Everything was so well organized. Every staff member and volunteer had such incredible energy and all of my students left smiling and engaged," noted Jared Abbott, a special education teacher from Burlingame HS.
Sequoia will also host the Track and Field Event, "Super Stars Day" in May.
Want to Help Make Someone's Dream Come True?
If you have any gently used prom dresses and/or accessories in your closet that you'd like to donate, please contact Mayela Ramirez at the Parent Center!

Prom dresses for selection at last year's Princess Project in the Parent Center.
Express Gratitude to Sequoia Staff at the Espresso Cart
Help us thank our Sequoia Staff & Teachers after Open House by supporting the PTSA-sponsored Espresso Coffee Cart and Breakfast Treats on Friday, April 6

Our teachers really appreciate being perked up following the late night, so please consider signing up to help make this event special for our hard-working Sequoia team by either contributing a food item or helping serve hot beverages. If you have any questions, please contact Jenn DiGrande at
Help Proctor IB and AP Exams
Are you looking for a way to get involved at Sequoia that will only take a few hours of your time?  Here's your chance:   help proctor IB or AP exams.  It's an easy and really important role.  Each year we have more students taking IB classes and exams. This year there are 3 weeks of exam sessions scheduled between April 27th and May 25th.
Please help us fill the 115 proctoring spots (compared to 80 last year and just 47 four years ago!)  We are adding something new this year:  on-call backup proctors who fill in if a volunteer has to cancel at the last minute due to an emergency.
Parents of freshmen and sophomores, if your student is considering an IB class in the future, it's a great way for you to check out what an IB exam is like.  Parents of juniors and seniors, if your student is currently in an IB class, you can see what he or she is going through! By the way, this is a great way for dads to contribute to our school. 
Parents may proctor an IB exam their student is taking, but please check with your student first to be sure he or she would be comfortable with this. 
Sequoia is an IB school that offers AP exams for some students.  We don't need as many AP proctors, but they are very important to us.  According to the AP rules, you may not proctor an AP exam that your student is taking. Also, the AP rules allow a proctor to sit during part of the exam.
To find out more and sign up for a slot, click here Sign up soon so you'll have your pick of time slots.  After signing up, you will be contacted via email by Elisa Nino-Sears, Sequoia's Academic Volunteer coordinator. There is a quick and simple clearance process for all volunteers placed in academic settings.
Questions? Email Wendy Mandujano at
Know of a Home Planning to Be Sold in the Next 18 Months?
Laura Bertolacci will sell the winner's house  for a list commission of $1!
This will be auctioned off at Sequoia's 9th Annual Crab Dinner on Saturday, March 24th and bids start at $20,000 OR you can lock in the seller commission and BUY IT NOW with a bid of $30,000!  
Submit your bid via e-mail to  
All bids are confidential.  Bids will be listed anonymously on  Laura's blog  (GoodLiving) in order of receipt.  Bidding will start at $20,000. 
She will accept bids by e-mail until Friday, March 23 at noon . Additional bids can be made during the live auction at the Sequoia Crab Dinner on the evening of March 24th. Or you can BUY IT NOW for $30,000.

For complete details click here.
Sequoia Alum Athletes to Be Honored at Sports Hall of Fame Banquet!
Sequoia athletes are among the 9 individuals being inducted into the 2018 Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame. The induction will take place at a banquet that is being held on Thursday, March 29th to honor these and other local notable athletes.
Jack Daniels, Sequoia High School alumni, was the 1956 Silver and 1960 Bronze Olympic Medalist pentathlon runner. He was also a physical education professor and developer of state-of-the-art coaching techniques.

Larry Owens, alumni of Sequoia High School and College of San Mateo, was Head Football Coach at the College of San Mateo for over 25 years, leading CSM students to victory in over 100 games. Larry also coached at Woodside High School and Humboldt State University. 

These Sequoians are among those who have inspired others with their athletic ability, coaching skills, and/or sports management skills and have raised the level of importance of sports on the Peninsula.   The community is invited to join in honoring these dedicated athletes.   See this link for Induction Banquet details .
Juniors: Apply for PTSA Scholarships!
Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted and are due Tuesday, April 17 by 10 PM. There are three categories of scholarships to recognize students: academic success, community service, or achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.   We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250.

This is a great way for juniors to get a head start on college applications, to be recognized for all they've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to earn some extra money to continue their education!   Click here for more information on applying for PTSA Junior Scholarships.

NON-JUNIOR PARENTS: We are looking for freshman, sophomore and senior parent volunteers to join the Junior Scholarship Committee. The commitment would be 2-3 hours reviewing applications, a 2 hour meeting in mid-April to assess the applications, and some follow-up emails. Email DeeDee Clarke at  if you are interested in joining our group. 

PTSA Junior Scholarships are generously funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Would You  Like to See a Sequoia Supporter Recognized for Their Contributions?
The Sequoia High School Alumni Association is looking to honor a Purple Patriot and is soliciting nominations for its annual Purple Patriot Award. Recipients will receive a framed certificate as well as have their name inscribed on a perpetual trophy on permanent display at the high school.
The Purple Patriot Award is an annual award honoring both individuals and organizations that have demonstrated outstanding service or provided a significant benefit directly to Sequoia 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 April 13.

Contact Ken Rolandelli, President, Sequoia High School Alumni Association for questions or more information.
Phone: (650) 368-0805
In This Issue

Saturday, March 24
6 PM - Sports Boosters Crab Dinner, Hiller Aviation Museum

March 26-29
CAASPP Testing Schedule (English / Español)

Tuesday, March 27

7 PM - Spring Concert: Bands

Friday, March 30
Cesar Chavez Day - No school

Tuesday, April 3
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Wednesday, April 4
7 PM - Spring Concert: Orchestra and Choir, Carrington Hall

Thursday, April 5
7 PM - Open House

Friday, April 6
Minimum Day (schedule here)

April 9-13
Spring Break

Tuesday, April 17
10 PM - Deadline to apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships

Saturday, April 21
7 PM - Prom, California Academy of Sciences

April 27-28
Sequoia Dance Show
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SUHSD Parent Education Series - All Are Welcome
What Do You Consider Lethal? Parent-Teen Safe Driving Workshop
Leanna Clegg, Education Outreach Coordinator, Impact Teen Drivers
Thursday, March 22, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)

Automobile collisions are the leading cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions -- not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking.

In this workshop, you will learn about:
  • Strategies to keep your teen safe on the road
  • Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws
  • The Rules of the Road for teen drivers
  • How YOU can stop the #1 killer of teens in America--distracted driving 
What if we could help end relationship abuse? One Love believes that parents can help their children build the skills that lead to strong friendships and healthy romantic relationships. 
One Love's mission is to end relationship abuse by educating young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships. For more information, please visit

Fostering Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence in Teens
Roni Habib, Founder, EQ Schools
Wednesday, March 28, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Menlo-Atherton High School, M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Emotional Intelligence skills are more predictive of a person's long-term success than academic achievement. Teens who are emotionally intelligent are more resilient and optimistic about their lives. The best way for kids to learn these skills is through watching their role models practice it. 
Yet, what does it mean to be mindful?  And what does it mean to "emotion coach" as a parent? In this workshop, Roni Habib, founder of EQ Schools, will explore what our kids need to thrive and offer concrete tools to help us in our parenting journey.

Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Spanish interpretation and light refreshments offered. Free admission.
Parent Education Series events sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, M-A PTA, SHSEF, Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series. 

Community News
March/Rally Against Gun Violence on March 24th 
A student-led rally will be taking place at Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway, Redwood City, on March 24 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. in affiliation with the March for Our Lives movement, as Bay Area teens advocate gun reform and school safety in light of the recent Parkland tragedy.
This event is being organized by Belmont Councilmember Charles Stone, Redwood City Councilmember Shelly Masur, Carlmont Journalism Adviser Justin Raisner, and students Sophie Penn (Carlmont), Holly Newman (Menlo-Atherton), and Ria Calcagno (Woodside).
There will be hundreds of protests across the nation on that Saturday, and the majority of them are being organized and spearheaded by teenagers. However, the rally at Courthouse Square will consist of a local focus geared towards middle and high school students in the Bay Area.
Attendees and participants will have the opportunity to speak, make posters, and write letters to members of Congress. There will be both pre-designated student speakers as well as a brief open mic session.
The March For Our Lives movement was created by a group of high school students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, after surviving the Feb. 14 school shooting.
Information regarding this event will be posted on Facebook on the event page titled "SM County March/ Rally For Our Lives," as well as on the Twitter page @NeverAgainRWC, and the Instagram account @marchforourlivesrwc.
Register for Riley Run 
Riley Norton was a Central Middle School Student who would have been a 9th  grader this year. He passed away 4 years ago from a congenital heart defect, and we created an annual 5K in San Carlos to honor and remember him. 

This year, the Riley Run will occur on April 21 st  at 4 PM at the Brittan Acres upper playground. To register, please send your name and shirt size to . The $25 fee will be split between his 2 charities: Children's Heart Foundation and Camp Taylor. Please join us ! The cut off to register is March 30th if you want a t-shirt. 
Mid-Peninsula Water Polo Skills Clinics Starting Soon - Register Now! 
Open to ALL skill levels and ALL positions; c ost: $40/player
Whether you are a first time player or a skilled varsity player, our Skills Clinics are for you! The two camps will focus on:
  • Individual skill development
  • Improving passing and shooting technique
  • Building leg strength and body balance
  • Position specific drills
  • Gameplay activities
To register for the camp, please visit our website.