Sequoia Sentinel
April 25, 2021
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
A few weeks back I was helping out at the Friday night football game when three kids on bicycles caught my eye. They were riding errantly and at high speed. They were close to the entrance to Terremere Field, where several pedestrians were crossing, including those whose physical conditions limited their mobility. My safety-first radar pinged the way it does for school administrators after 12 years on the job. 

As I approached the bicyclists, greeting them and introducing myself, I could see their body language shift. They were girding up for a confrontation. They’d been in this situation before. There was only one thing the old guy with the walkie-talkie could possibly want from them in this moment.

I had admired that one of the riders was able to circle the fire loop near our practice field entirely on his back wheel. A pretty cool trick. “Can you all do that?“ I asked.

“No, just him,” responded another rider.

“Can you do that whenever you want? “I asked the young man directly.

“I guess.” He replied.

“That looks hard,” I said, “how long would I need to practice to be able to do that?”

His countenance changed. He drew himself closer to the group, looked me over earnestly, and predicted with confidence that it would take me about a year. When I asked if that’s how long it has taken him, he said, “Yeah.”

I was flattered. Also impressed. He had set a goal for himself, challenging but attainable, and dedicated himself to making it happen. “I bet you fell down a lot before you finally mastered riding this way.” I said.

All three laughed. “Yeah.”

I asked if the other two riders were close to mastered the skill. They shrugged. “I’m working on it,“ said one, “I’ve almost got it.“

His friend jibed, “it’s taking him a long time.” And all three laughed.

At this point I explained that this section of campus, great for the kind of trick riding they were doing, was also experiencing heavy foot traffic for the football game taking place inside the stadium. I told him I was worried about them riding fast and taking risks around so many people.  

I admitted I was probably being overly cautious, but explained that’s my job. “I just don’t want to see anyone’s grandma get knocked over.” They nodded, smiled, and said they were going to head across the street to get something to eat. I told them it was great talking to them and wished them well.

“Alright then, Mr. Priest.”

I walked back to the stadium gate thinking about our school mission. About work ethic, dedication, creativity, and a love of learning. I thought about the boxes in which our system and educational “experts” might try and place these young men based on whatever deficits we might identify using the standardized measures of the moment. I thought about the next challenging but attainable goal they sets for themselves, and the lessons they’ve learned over the last year about sticking with something and picking yourself up off the ground when you fall. I hope my interaction reinforced whatever lessons those were. I have great hope for these three young people. 

Have a great week! 

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.
May 14: Java programming career symposium
Who: Software engineers, front-end programmers, mobile programmers, product managers, UX designers, startups and those that work closely with those roles. 

What: One-day symposium to offer students insight into various roles leveraging their skills in Java. Career round table presenters will speak to small groups of students. 

Where: Zoom

When: Friday, May 14, 2:05 - 2:50 p.m.

How: email Faith Velschow to participate
Money for senior athletes - applications due May 7
The Sequoia Sport & Spirit Boosters are proud to offer up to six $500 scholarships for seniors who participated in varsity-level sports or sports leadership at Sequoia this year. 

Seniors can use the Judy Carmona Scholarship Google form to submit their two-paragraph application highlighting their experience as a Sequoia Varsity athlete. 

Applications due by 7:00 p.m. Tues., May 7. Click here to learn more about Boosters and the Judy Carmona Memorial Scholarship. 

Please join Boosters and help support all the hard-working Sequoia athletes who are back in action! Email us to learn about available board and committee positions, volunteer opportunities, and to join our mailing list. Follow us on instagram and don’t forget to order fan gear!.
Join our campus volunteer team

Volunteers are needed through the end of the year. Click here for more information.
Return books to the book drop & check out the Media Center's April newsletter

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
Grad night tickets

Grad night is Friday, June 4! Tickets are $75 and include food, drinks, activities, and entertainment. Click here to purchase tickets!
Check out this week's "That's So Raven" Episode 30
We welcome back all of groups A and B on campus this week!
0:19​ Announcements
1:14Club Spotlight: Sequoia Sustainability Project
A photographic record of student lives

Here is a wonderful collection of student work from our photography classes. Take a peek at the world through the eyes of the students.
Check out Ceramics 1 & 2 Student Artwork

Please enjoy ceramics 1 & 2 student artwork, a journey of exploration into the process of making art.
Supporting students on the path to college
This month, many Sequoia juniors had the opportunity to take the SAT. College counseling support is one of the many programs the Sequoia High School Education Foundation (SHSEF) funds. With generous community contributions, SHSEF helps support vital staff, services, and programs not funded by state dollars - including the expansion of college counseling support and an additional credentialed college counselor. 

Invest in Sequoia to support all our students with the resources they need to succeed. All gifts make a difference. Donate today. Many employers will match your gift to SHSEF. Contact us to learn more.
The Parent Education Series
How do we help our children and teens become critical thinkers, effective communicators, and engaged citizens in today’s global world? 
Join Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, executive director of The National Association of Media Literacy Education, to learn “tips and tools” to foster critical media literacy skills -- the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of communication. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation available. Register now / Regístrese.
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 students who discuss how anxiety has impacted their lives.

“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 / Regístrese.
Teens are already faced with a myriad of challenges, both academically and socially. Helping our teens manage these challenges can be stressful for parents. 

Join Madeleine Pizey, Mindful Educator for Mission Be, for part 2 of our “Mindful Parent” series. In this one-hour self-care break, you will learn how to reduce stress and increase positivity through the power of mindfulness. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation available. Register now / Regístrese.
Join local group Menlo Together for an interactive exploration and reflection on how the laws that segregated America affected Menlo Park. 

We will explore information presented in Richard Rothstein’s book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, as well as personal stories and local historical archives. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation available. Register now / Regístrese.
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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