April 3, 2017

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
Wow, this is Sequoia...
My kid comes home this week from school with a giant, delicious treat after being introduced to Los Manguitos paleteria in Redwood City by a classmate.  If you don't already know, a paleteria is a Latin American store that sells frozen treats and snacks -- think of a Dairy Queen with confections packed full of fresh fruits with names like el Diablito (yes, it's spicy!) and fresas con crema.
Later, I run into a friend and fellow Sequoia parent who excitedly shares that the Sequoia boys' baseball team is really kickin' it this season.  I have also heard similar reports from parents whose kids participate in tennis, badminton, and track. I am happy for the success of all our student athletes who play on teams that have a long-standing tradition at Sequoia, and I am confident that the fledgling lacrosse program (getting off the ground these past few years thanks to some really dedicated parents and coaches) will be able to share their own good news - one of these days!! Yup, I have a lacrosse player.
In e-mail communications with our IB Proctor coordinator, I get updates on all the parents who are supporting our IB/AP students by volunteering to proctor exams.  It is inspiring to see how rapidly the numbers of students taking these tests has grown over the past few years, and how many more volunteers are stepping up!
Almost daily, I am getting reports from friends who have graduating seniors telling me about plans for post-graduation life: in-state, out-of-state, public and private schools, two and four year colleges, gap years...all are choices their students have in front of them, and every student is looking forward to the next step toward adulthood.
On Friday, I sit outside a RWC coffee shop with a couple of other PTSA parents looking over the calendar of next year's activities and reflecting on how quickly times flies when you have kids in high school! And thinking that these teenage years are the last time we will get to peek through the window of our kids' daily lives before they enter the wide world.
Ok, so what do sports, IB, college and PTSA calendars have to do with each other? They are Sequoia.  These conversations and reports, successes and failures, and planning and participation all make up our school community.  And, the paletas?  They are the sweet and sour, delicious treats that allow two kids from different cultures and backgrounds, who grew up speaking different languages, to spend an afternoon sharing their hopes and aspirations, and a little friendly chisme before launching into the day's homework.
Happy April!

Hail to the Chiefs!
Come join us as we continue some important democratic traditions at Sequoia!   This Tuesday, April 4 at 7 PM , the PTSA meeting is proud to introduce two of the winners of the school-wide student body ASB elections for 2017-2018.  Katie Uthman (ASB President-elect) and Nicole Finn (Vice President-elect) will be on hand to speak to parents about the election process at Sequoia, their participation in a student leadership conference, and their plans for next year.
In addition, the PTSA will be holding nominations and elections for our 2017-2018 Executive Board.  All parents, teachers, and students are invited and encouraged to attend although you must be a paid member to vote. Next year's Executive Board slate is:
  • President - Lauren Pachkowski
  • Executive Vice-President - Susie Gilbert
  • 1st VP Special Projects - Rachel Krueger
  • 2nd VP Communications & Outreach - Lisa Hane
  • 3rd VP Mini-Grants - Marlena Griffin
  • Treasurer - Gayle Hoch
  • Auditor - Sian Davies
  • Recording Secretary - Erika Pretell
  • Parliamentarian/Historian - Open
  • Grad Week Acting Chair - Jayne Sungail & Team
Three important things:
  1. Not sure whether you are a member? Check here for our membership list and click here to join -- it's never too late!
  2. Everyone is welcome at our meetings (even if you aren't sure you have joined).
  3. There are a couple of Executive Board and Committee positions still open -- no experience necessary, just a willingness to help, have fun, and meet new people!

Here's the meeting agenda.  For more information, contact us at

Sequoia's Site Council Is Looking For You!
How many times do you ask yourself, "What is the deal with this or that policy at Sequoia?? If it were up to me..."   Well, stop asking and be a part of the solution!

Sequoia's Site Council, a team of Sequoia's teachers and staff, administrators, parents, and students who meet throughout the year to develop and implement plans to improve school instruction, services, and the school environment is looking for more members.  How about you?

Do you have a couple of hours once a month (meetings are at 4:00 on Thursdays) to be a part of this important committee that discusses topics like student stress, teacher and student involvement in school policy such as tardiness and class size, school cleanliness, and many others?  Then Sequoia's Site Council might be just what you're looking to be a part of!
Join us at either of the next Site Council meetings: April 20th or May 18th at 4:00 PM in Sequoia's Tea Garden Conference Room -- these are meeting open to all parents -- or contact Principal Sean Priest at for more information.

Sequoia Welcomes French Exchange Students
This spring, Sequoia is happy to host a small group of five students from Sannois, France, and their teachers. They are part of a larger group of high school students who have been placed throughout other local high schools including Carlmont, Mercy, and Half Moon Bay. They are here from March 29 to April 12, which is a great mix between attending classes at Sequoia and enjoying a bit of California sun during spring break. Thank you to our fabulous Sequoia families who have opened their homes to the French students and their teachers.
French exchange students meet their host families on their arrival last Wednesday.

Seniors: IB Ceremony May 23
To honor the International Baccalaureate Students of the Class of 2017, all seniors who have taken an IB class during their time at Sequoia are cordially invited with their families to the 2017 IB Ceremony:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Carrington Hall
5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Reception to follow
Spanish translation provided 

This is a way to recognize and celebrate all the hard work of IB students. We hope to see you there! 
Para honrar a los estudiantes de la clase 2017 del Bachillerato Internacional, todos los seniors que han tomado una clase de IB durante su tiempo en Sequoia están cordialmente invitados junto con su familia a la ceremonia de IB 2017:
Martes, 23 de mayo, 2017
en el Auditorio Carrington Hall
5.30 pm a 7.30 pm
Recepción a seguir
Se proveerá traducción al español
Esta es una manera de reconocer y celebrar el gran trabajo y esfuerzos de los estudiantes de IB.  Esperamos verlos ahí. 

Students Experience Electoral Process at ASB Convention
Last Thursday, Sequoia's ASB conducted the 3rd annual Electoral Convention, during which delegates cast votes for and confirmed Student Body officers for the 2017-2018 school year. Each 3rd period class on campus named four delegates to attend the convention, as a model of representative government. Current ASB Vice President Leah King ('17) chaired the convention committee, planned the event and served as master of ceremonies, while Redwood City Councilwoman Janet Borgens served as the keynote speaker and talked to the delegates about the importance of civic-mindedness and the role of local politics. 

Keynote speaker Councilwoman Janet Borgens of Redwood City addresses the delegates

Following the keynote address, delegates received the speeches of candidates for next year's ASB positions. Candidates presented their qualifications, participated in town-hall style debates against their opponents and fielded questions from the delegates in attendance. Delegates then cast their votes for their preferred candidates and ultimately confirmed the winners, who will serve as next year's officers. Winners from the convention include: 

  - ASB President-Elect Katie Uthman ('18)

  - Vice-President-Elect Nicole Finn ('18)

  - Secretary Alyssa Williams ('19)

  - Treasurer Jay Miller ('19)

  - Activities and Dance Commissioners Grace Weber ('18) and Maddi Giles ('18)

  - School Spirit Commissioners Jennifer Westling ('19) and Karl Godinez ('18)

  - Athletics Commissioners Geneva Schroeder ('18) and Emma Taylor ('18)

ASB Vice-Presidential candidate Nicole Finn answers questions from the delegates

Donate Prom Attire by  Wednesday
The Sequoia Parent Center is collecting new and very gently used prom dresses for the  Sequoia Prom Gallery.  The Prom Gallery will be held Thursday, April 6th and Friday, April 7th at Sequoia for any Sequoia student who feels discouraged by the cost of a prom dress. Donations may be dropped off at the Sequoia Parent Center by Wednesday, April 5th. We are also accepting new and very gently used shoes and accessories. If you have any questions, please contact Tammy Bené at

Junior Scholarship Applications Due April 18
Juniors, remember that applications for our annual PTSA Junior Scholarships are due right after spring break: Tuesday, April 18 by 10 PM.   The scholarships recognize students for their academic success, for community service, or for achievement in the face of socio-economic challenges.

This is a great way to get a head start in your college applications, to be recognized for all you've done to make Sequoia a better place, and to have some extra money to continue your education!   Apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships here. 

In This Issue
Monday, April 3
Collab day

Tuesday, April 4
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR (agenda here)

Friday, April 7 and Saturday, April 8
7:30 PM - Sequoia Dance Show, Carrington Hall (tickets at )

April 10-14
Spring Break

Tuesday, April 18
10 PM - Deadline to apply for PTSA Junior Scholarships

Wednesday, April 19
6:30 PM - Incoming Freshmen Welcome Event, MPR

Saturday, April 22
7 PM - Prom

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

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
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Parent Education

Sequoia Parent Education Series
Documentary Film - SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age 
Thursday, April 20, 7:00-9:00 PM   S Parent Ed
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall  

Join us for the last showing of SCREENAGERS this year!  Award-winning documentary SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, depicting messy struggles over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction.
Through surprising insights from authors, brain scientists, parents and kids, solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.
Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! 
Spanish subtitles will be available. Free admission.
Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at   or  650-868-0590 . For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator,  650-367-9780, Ext. 63105