Sequoia Sentinel
April 18, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
We all watched or heard about the footage this week of Duante Wright and Alan Toledo being killed by police officers in
Minneapolis and Chicago, respectively. Although these stories are now ulcerously familiar, it does not diminish the pain these deaths inflict on a learning community like ours. It hurts because we see the faces of students we’ve met, championed, and loved throughout our careers in education. It also hurts because way too many of us have personal connections with students whose lives have been ended or shattered by violence. I have seen what grief looks like in the faces of many of my colleagues and I’m grateful for those who’ve offered me a shoulder when my own grief overwhelmed me.   

There is also anger. These explosions of horror followed by drawn-out pantomimes of outrage, equivocation, entropy, and exoneration bring shame on our humanity. Moreover, the system that perpetuates this cycle surrounds us. We are in it. We are a part of it. In education, because the faces of Daunte Wright and Alan Toledo surround us, we understand the relationship between the acute horror of police violence and the slow-motion violence inflicted by the system we are a part of and actors within.  

We believe in lifting people up. We believe in the power of public education to do that. We also see how the system within which we do this work sends explicit and implicit messages to BIPOC students that they are lesser. This starts very early in a child’s education. It is based on a set of skills, rules, or behavioral norms. It is reinforced by a white dominant culture that pervades globally. Some of the bravest work we do as professionals in our community is to acknowledge that EVERYONE both possesses and behaves in ways that perpetuate racism and, when we are in positions of power or hold keys, those actions cause harm. Owning our complicity forces us to confront how we are upholding that system through the skills we reward, the rules we make, the norms we model.  

I normally use this space to celebrate the people, events, or achievements I’m most proud of each week. I recognize that this message is a departure from that. For celebration to have any potency at all, however, it must occur within the context of our community’s values. For that to happen, it would be disingenuous to not also make space for frustration and grief with Sentinel readers. Saying Duante Wright and Alan Toledo’s names renews our mandate to strive aggressively for better outcomes for every student we serve -- better in undoing the injustice and trauma in which our students live; better in inspiring students to direct whatever privilege they possess towards the same endeavor.

If you don’t worry about your children being shot by police every time they leave the house, we hope you understand and worry about those in our community who do. As we examine practices within our community that exacerbate this fear (even practices that may seem, at worst, benign), I ask everyone to share the urgency with which educators speak when we talk about equity and racial justice.

I am renewed in my humility by the task before us and grateful to stand with the Sequoia community in its face. Thanks for reading.

Let's show teachers and staff our gratitude

To show teachers and staff our gratitude, we will be filling the staff lounge with grab-and-go treats. Signup today to contribute! Contact Jenn DiGrande with questions and thank you for your help in showing our appreciation!
Apr. 25: Deadline for for juniors to apply for PTSA junior scholarships 

Applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are now being accepted and are due by Sun, April 25, 10:00 p.m. The three categories of scholarships are: academic success, community service, and achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges. We have 20 scholarships to offer, each worth $250. Click here for the application and more information.
Do you have questions for our Sequoia 2020-2021 PTSA Board? Reach Isha Bhatt, PTSA President and the rest of the team at
Our mission is to positively impact the lives of all children and families.
Have an hour you can share? Join our campus volunteer team
Thank you to the moms, dads, and neighbors who have signed up to help make sure everything is running safely and smoothly on campus! We still need additional adult volunteers to assist us through the end of the year. Please sign up here and help spread the word!
  • Is there training? We will email you the recording of our Zoom training session for you to watch at your convenience. 
  • Can I get vaccinated as an education worker if I volunteer at the school? Yes! While our district cannot organize this appointment for you, we can provide documentation of your volunteer service as needed. 
  • Will I need to do paperwork? Yes - the two-step process includes clearance by Human Resources and a health-screen app called Frontline. Takes minutes!
  • Do I need to sign up for a regular time each week? A regular time is super helpful, however occasional volunteer help is great too! Please sign up for whenever you have a free hour, and thank you!
Questions? Please email Elisa Niño-Sears or call (650) 387-8390.
Boosters are back in business
We are back in business! A huge thank you to our Athletic Director, Melissa Schmidt, and our wonderful coaches who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes preparing, managing schedules, etc. in order to get our kids out of the house and back into sports!

We love seeing our Ravens back in action on the fields (football, cheer, lacrosse, track and field, soccer, baseball and softball), in the pool (swimming and water polo) on the court (tennis, volleyball and badminton) and out on the green (golf).

The next Boosters meeting is this Tuesday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom. Join us for the unveiling of our new student-designed Sequoia Boosters logo. Congrats to junior Kaylie Rivera for creating the winning design!

Thank you for supporting all our student athletes. If you haven’t already done so, please join the Boosters to show your support for the wide range of Sequoia athletics. And don’t forget to get your fan gear. We appreciate all donations, big and small! Donate here.

Be sure to follow us on Instagram @seqboosters. Thanks to parent Aimee Swanson for bringing this to life.

Congratulations to Sequoia's Boys and Girls State participants!
Boys and Girls State is a highly-regarded educational summer leadership program run by the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. Students participate in a simulation where they run a local government. This year Wilson Crum, Benjamin Pigot, and Lucy Miller were chosen to represent our local American Legion Unit. This program is free and for current juniors. Read this description of the program, which includes photos of our students.
Junior parents - help start planning Grad Week 2022
All junior parents and guardians are welcome to help plan Grad Week activities for our class of 2022 rising seniors! Our first Zoom meeting will be this Wednesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. Bring your friends and let's start the fun. Of course there will be lots of ways to get involved, so don't worry if you can't make it to this week's meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting Topic: Marianne Jett's Zoom Meeting
Time: Apr 21, 2021 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
To join meeting, click here

Meeting ID: 884 2471 0956
Passcode: 872577

One tap mobile:
+16699009128,,88424710956#,,,,*872577# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,88424710956#,,,,*872577# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location:
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
In a different location? Find your local number here
Calling all parents of juniors - class of 2022 merchandise for sale
We are selling crewnecks to benefit our class of 2022:
  • Juniors were given the opportunity to submit designs, and the final design for our class merchandise was decided by a vote. This crewneck was designed by Zoe Dovydaitis
  • Sizes S-XL will be available. Feel free to purchase more than one!
  • Each crewneck is $20, and 100% of the profit will be directed towards our junior class. 
  • Crewnecks will be available for pick up on campus Wednesday May 12 @ Elwood parking lot.
Thank you for supporting our junior class! Click here to order.
Your students' Junior Class President, 
Madelyn Obana
IB May 2021: Calculated route approved

Sequoia's request to switch from the exam route to the calculated route for the May 2021 IB assessments has been approved! Click here for more information.
Return books to the book drop & check out the Media Center's April newsletter

Students, have library books or textbooks from last year to return? Use the Book Drop anytime, located at the top of the steps at the entrance to the Media Center.

Check out the Media Center’s latest newsletter and follow us on Instagram to keep up with upcoming events, author talks, and more.
Senior Parent TO-DOs
Tickets now on sale for June 4 grad night

Grad night is a late night party beginning Friday, June 4, and ending Saturday morning. This fun event gives grads a chance to celebrate together in a safe and sober environment. Tickets are $75 and include food, drinks, activities, and entertainment. Click here to purchase tickets today!
Check out this week's "That's So Raven" Episode 29
Check out Ceramics 1 & 2 Student Artwork

Ceramics students have embraced the growth mindset this school year. Fearless exploration and an emphasis on the process of making art have been the key to student success. Please enjoy some of their artwork.
Double the impact - donations will be matched dollar for dollar through May 31!
This school year, Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) contributions help optimize a quality education; stabilize families; support students’ health; and build college dreams. Contributions from our generous community make this all possible.
Double your impact through a $70,000 challenge grant. Donations received by May 31 will be matched dollar for dollar!
Donations of any amount make a difference. Donate today
Many employers will match your gift to SHSEF. To learn more, contact us at
The Parent Education Series
How can we, as parents, help our children find their ‘edge,’ the unique set of characteristics that will help them turn adversity into advantage? We are all subject to biases—about race, gender, ability, and more—that can work for us or against us. The good news, Dr. Huang argues, is that we can flip biases and re-frame them to work in our favor.

Dr. Laura Huang is a professor at the Harvard Business School, a former assistant professor at Wharton, and the international bestselling author of EDGE: Turning Adversity into Advantage. Register today
Platicar sobre sexting, pronografia y la seguridad digital puede ser igual de incómodo para padres e hijos. En este seminario web, Cindy Marroquin, Directora de Prevención de RTS, compartirá las realidades de la cultura juvenil en línea. Obtendrán nuevos recursos para aumentar la seguridad en línea para sus niños y adolescentes, junto con consejos para iniciar conversaciones familiares. Registrarse.  
San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) and Safe and Supportive Schools programs present a FREE community screening of “ANGST,” an IndieFlix Original documentary designed to raise awareness around anxiety. The film includes expert advice from mental health professionals, along with interviews from elementary and high school students who discuss how anxiety has impacted their lives.

Parents, students, educators, counselors, mental health professionals, and community members welcome! “ANGST” is appropriate for viewers aged 10 and older. Spanish film subtitles and simultaneous interpretation for the panel and Q&A will be provided. Register now.
Community Resources and Events
Summer Stem Institute applications open

The Summer STEM Institute (SSI) is a six-week virtual summer program for high school students. Click here to learn more.
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