April 24, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Earlier this spring at Sequoia...

A construction crew is going about their business demolishing our performing arts wing as phase one of the extensive renovation.  An eagle-eyed worker spots something small and shiny in the rubble.  He notifies his lead, who contacts the district maintenance crew, who contacts me...

Indiana Jones meets Pawn Stars.

The item in question was a class ring. Upon first inspection it appeared the inscription on the class ring was 1926. Wow! At Sequoia, we interact with our history on a daily basis. But to be holding an object like this in our hands gave everyone pause.

Susie Bass, principal's secretary, took the ring home for a thorough cleaning. The next day we were somewhat disheartened to discover the engraving was 1976 instead of 1926. The cleaning, however, revealed another clue to the growing group of interested parties (teachers, custodians, campus aides, support staff, and administrators had now all joined the sleuthing efforts).

On the inside lining of the ring were three letters. A set of initials? We dove into the Sequoia yearbook archive to the class of '76.  One student had initials matching those inside the ring, but the search revealed also this Sequoia of long ago was not so different than our school: smiling kids, school spirit galore, maybe a few more groovy haircuts.

Through the Sequoia High School Alumni Association, we were able to confirm that the student we thought the ring may have belonged to did in fact lose this item late in his time at Sequoia. He remembered last seeing it in a bathroom in the music wing - - a match! We have returned the ring via mail (he now lives out of state). 

It was a fun mystery that brought staff together with each other and our storied past.  Sequoia never fails to find new ways of reminding me that I'm the luckiest principal in California.

Have a great week,

It's a Celebration and You're Invited!
On Tuesday, May 2nd at 7 PM the PTSA is holding our year-end celebration and we'd love for you to join us!

We will recognize our incoming and outgoing board members as well as honor some special PTSA volunteers whose last student is graduating this year.  Enjoy some refreshments while catching up with some old friends and meeting some new families.   Everyone is welcome to this annual tradition!

Arabian Nights in San Francisco
This past Saturday evening, more than 650 Sequoia students and guests celebrated an evening of fun and dancing during prom at San Francisco City Hall. The event marks the first time that City Hall has hosted a Sequoia event, and the evening did not disappoint. ASB Activities and Dance Commissioners Caitlin Gilbert and MacKenzie Utley worked closely in concert with Senior Class President Olivia Perrone and Senior Class Vice-President Delaney Brown as well as ASB President Shayan Weerasekera to produce the event, which received rave reviews from most attendees. The dance officially registers as the most attended prom in Sequoia's long history, and the second-most attended dance behind only January's Winter Formal.

Prom capped a week that was packed with Sequoia activities. Students dressed up throughout the week in accordance with spirit days which were selected based on a poll of Sequoia students. On Thursday, Sequoia's upperclassmen witnessed the sombering re-enactment of an automobile crash designed to warn against the dangers of drunk-driving. On Friday, ASB Spirit Commissioners Ayanna Brewer and Lauren Berry helped organize and carry out a pep-rally and following school, several students and staff members took to the field to play against each other in the first official staff-student softball game.

Thank you to all who helped make this year's Spring Spirit Week and Prom a success!

Above and below - San Francisco's City Hall aglow with colored lights for Sequoia's Prom last Saturday.  (Photo credits: Betsy Snow)

Prom Gallery Thank You's
With the donations of new and gently worn dresses, accessories and shoes from the surrounding community, Sequoia families and former students, 25 Sequoia girls walked away with beautiful prom dresses and even more importantly huge smiles on their faces. We were also able to assist 5 boys with renting their tuxes from Men's Wearhouse.

In addition, since we had such a wonderful collection of dresses, we were able to donate 30 dresses to Redwood High School for their prom in May. We still have 70 dresses that we will store for next year. Many students have asked if they could donate a dress for next year. It is always special to witness young adults learning the gift of paying it forward. 

A huge thanks to Mayela Ramirez, Tammy Bene, Gayle Hoch, Karen Lopiparo and Marta Roig for organizing and generously giving their time to set-up, staff and take down the Gallery! Thank you also to Dynasty Cleaners in San Carlos who donated plastic dress bags to keep the girl's dresses protected.

Dresses beautifully displayed at the Prom Gallery, for students to choose from.

Physics in Motion
The Physics Department at Sequoia HS is extremely grateful for the ability to add four Vernier Motion Detectors to their classrooms thanks to the PTSA Mini-Grant they received in Fall 2016. The motion detectors enable students to measure position and speed in a large number of experiments in addition to increasing students' graph literacy through activities like the "Motion Map Matching" shown in the picture.

Grace V. and Carlos M. use a motion detector for the "Motion Map Matching" activity.

Physics teacher Ben Canning writes: "One of my favorite activities for students to do is the Motion Map Matching. Students often struggle with the meaning of position-vs-time graphs, so when they are able to compare a graph to their own physical motion, things just click. Additionally, we use these motion detectors for a wide variety of other experiments through the fall and spring in Physics, Academy Physics, LEP Physics, and IB Physics classes."

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

Cruise the Bay with Us!
To all Parents of Juniors, Sophomores & Freshman who don't also have a 2017 graduating Senior:
We are nearing our Safe & Sober Graduation week for the 2017 Seniors. One of the big events is the Moonlight Grad Night Cruise on the San Francisco Bay on Friday, June 9th.  We need volunteers to attend as Chaperones. Sign up with your spouse, friends, college-aged and older children, or other family members, or come on your own and make a few new friends!  

You'll enjoy pre-arranged transportation to SF and back to Sequoia, a buffet dinner onboard the cruise, and entertainment. This is a fun night to remember! I attended as a Chaperone last year, and I can honestly say it was a beautiful night and quite heartwarming to watch these wonderful graduates spend their last night as a class together.

Click here to sign up, or if you have questions please contact Donna Fiore at or 650-704-4378.

Seniors: Buy Your Grad Night Tickets
Grad Night Tickets continue to sell online! If your senior would like to participate in the Safe & Sober Grad Night onboard a Hornblower Yacht, click this link to purchase a ticket now. Donations towards Grad Week Activities can also be made here. Donations help defer the cost of the tickets price and help fund tickets for students in need. 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jill Berry at  or Donna Fiore at  

In This Issue
Monday, April 24
Collab day

Tue, April 25-Fri, April 28
  CAASPP Bell Schedule  (late arrival for 9, 10, 12 grades)

Wednesday, April 26
7 PM - Orchestra and Choir Concert, Carrington Hall

Thursday, April 27
7 PM - Band Concert, Carrington Hall

Monday, May 1
School holiday

Tuesday, May 2
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13
7 PM - Sequoia comedy: Neil Simon's Plaza Suite, Carrington Hall

Tuesday, May 23
5:30 PM - IB Ceremony, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, May 24
7 PM - Pops Concert (Bands, Orchestra, Choir), Carrington Hall

Monday, May 29
Memorial Day Holiday
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Parent Education

Menlo-Atherton Parent Education Series
"Rethinking the College Arms Race: What Do Companies REALLY Want?"
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)
555 Middlefield Road, Atherton CA 94025

We hear a lot about "21st century skills," but what does that really mean? What kinds of skills or qualities are companies REALLY looking for in their new hires? Does college make a difference? What about internships? 

Come hear from a panel of Silicon Valley professionals  responsible for sourcing talent for their companies. Learn  what matters most -- and what doesn't matter -- in making decisions about who to hire. Discussion produced and moderated by Dr. Don Williams, Palo Alto child and adolescent psychologist. 

Parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members welcome!
Spanish interpretation will be available. Free admission.
M-A Parent Education Series events are sponsored by   the M-A PTA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founder & Director, The Parent Education Series, at  cmargot@csmconsulting.netFor Spanish, contact Lilly Quiñonez, Parent Center Coordinator, at 650-322-5311, Ext. 50255.

Community News

"Med School Morning"
Stanford Medicine "Health Matters" Community Event
Saturday, May 20, 9 AM-2 PM
Stanford University School of Medicine  
Li Ka Shing Center for Learning and Knowledge, 291 Campus Drive, Stanford

Is your student considering a career in medicine?  The first step in the long, challenging and rewarding journey of becoming a health care professional is deciding if a career in medicine is right for you.  On Saturday, May 20, Stanford Medicine will host "Med School Morning" for high school students interested in coming to campus to attend a program that touches upon a variety of medical and scientific topics taught by some of the country's top experts.  This popular program is free and will include lectures, hands-on presentations and interactive activities.  Participants will receive a certificate of completion after attending and fully participating in the morning.

Space is limited and the program fills up quickly.  Registration for this event is now open, see this flyer for more information.  To register or learn more please visit

Med School Morning is a part of our larger community event, Health Matters.  Parents and all community members are welcome to join and participate by attending the Health Talks or the Health Pavilion.