April 30, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
Glancing at the calendar, it is hard to believe it's already May.  Wasn't it just yesterday that I was writing a PTSA message about the excitement surrounding the start of school?  Surely, I am not the only one who feels as if this year has flown by.  It seems especially frantic as the month of April is ending.  How is it possible that in a month with only 3 weeks (due to Spring Break), SHS students participated in Spring Music concerts, Prom, uncountable sporting events, Dance Show, regular school work, standardized testing, and probably much more that I cannot even begin to enumerate.  It makes me tired just thinking about it!  Our kids are busy, but the finish line is in sight and hopefully they will all have a moment to catch up and regroup before the fun (and work) of summer begins.  It's only 27 days away so we are all in the home stretch!
As we start our wrap-up of PTSA activities, I need to take a minute to thank my team this year.  Our Executive Board has worked tirelessly since last summer, and their commitment to the students and staff was unending. Susie Gilbert, Rachel Krueger, Lisa Hane, Marlena Griffin, Gayle Hoch, Sian Davies, Erika Pretell, Adrienne Heist, and Jayne Sungail.... you all made my job so much easier and truly enjoyable. I appreciate your time, talent and support! 
Speaking of time and talent - a special shout out to some of the parents who run the busiest of our committees/support teams:  Jennifer DiGrande (Staff Appreciation), Marlena Griffin (Mini-Grants), Wendy Mandujano (IB Proctoring), Elizabeth Gomez (Family Center Liaison), Grace Schulz (Sentinel & Website), DeeDee Clarke (Jr Scholarships), and Rachel Levine (Reflections).  Your energy seemed boundless and it was appreciated!
And, next year we have another incredibly capable team.  We are lucky to have Erika, Susie, Lisa, Marlena, Sian, and Adrienne staying on for another year!  They will be joined by Karen Ha, Meredith Park, DeeDee Clarke, Gail Blomstrom, and Linda Burt.  It's easy to pass the torch to this dedicated team of parents and I have no doubt that they will continue to demonstrate the PTSA mission: To positively impact the lives of all children and families.
So to parents, students and staff alike, it's time to roll up our sleeves and launch into these final weeks with that Sequoia UNALIYI spirit.  We still have work to do, and we certainly still need some help as we wrap up the year, but we're looking forward to summer and already planning for next year.  I'm sure that too, will fly by!
One final note...  If you haven't already, please consider a donation to SHSEF this year. Their funding to the SHS PTSA allows us to focus on the programs we provide to support students and staff.  Next week, on May 9th, is the  Stand Up for Public Schools   campaign. This is a great day to give... in support of all our kids! 

Lauren Pachkowski
PTSA President
Last PTSA Meeting of the Year
We hope to see you tomorrow -- Tuesday, May 1 at 7 PM in the MPR -- for our PTSA end-of-year celebration. We will hear from Principal Sean Priest, honor senior PTSA parents, install next year's Executive Board, and more! View the agenda here.
IB Ceremony: We'd Love Your Help!
Parent help is needed to make the IB Ceremony a success.  Set up, clean up, and help with food on the day of the ceremony, Tuesday, May 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in Carrington Hall.  To volunteer, email Glenn Bugos at
Senior families - Even if you can't help, don't forget to join us on Tuesday evening at this wonderful event to honor our students!
Student Writers Produce Original Theatrical Event and You're Invited
Come see the original play "Purple Flowers" written by the Creative Writing Club, in Carrington Hall on May 4th at 7 PM.

According to Irene Katakis, student and co-president of the Creative Writing Club: " The play focuses around two main characters and follows them through a week of their lives and shows their struggles with problems like anxiety and depression as they land themselves in a psychiatric facility."
Everyone invited to see this entirely student-produced project!
Help Us Get  to 100%, Now's Your Opportunity
IB Exams have officially started and we still have 12 open spots fill for exam proctor volunteers this year! Click here to sign up and get us over the finish line!   Spots are available on May 2, 8 and 9.  

If you helped out last year but haven't gotten around to signing up, now's your chance.  If this is your first year at Sequoia, we'd love to have you on board.  Proctoring is easy and is a great way to help our kids and school.  You will get an insider view of the the IB test process and no special training is needed.  If you have questions, please contact Wendy Mandujano.
SHS Junior Nicholas Abraham Guest Hosts KQED's "The Do List"!
Nick Abraham and Cy Musiker (photo credit: KQED, Nadia Voynovskaya)
Check out last week's episode of "The Do List" on KQED to hear Cy Musiker and Sequoia's Nicholas Abraham round up the Bay Area arts and culture scene! 

Here's how it came about according to Nick:   Basically, my middle school math teacher told my mom about an opportunity to be on KQED's Youth Advisory Board a couple years ago. When I first applied as a sophomore, I unfortunately didn't get in, but I reapplied the next year and got to be part of the program! They asked me to be on this podcast because they knew I love music and the arts and were looking for young people to be on the show for Youth Takeover Week. On top of that, we worked on producing an episode of KQED's original YouTube series "Above the Noise." For that, I wrote the accompanying article on "The Lowdown" with Gabe Alves De Lima from Lowell High School.
Junior Parents: Candy Donations and Lei-Making, Are You In?
Each year junior class families raise funds for their own students' Grad Night. This year it's our turn!  We are making and selling graduation candy leis to incoming 8th grade families, and we need your help.  Please sign up to donate candy by May 13 or help make leis on Friday, May 18.   Please contact Susie Vick ( with any questions.
Seniors: It's Almost Graduation and It's Time to Complete Cyber High Coursework! 
computer-class.jpg If your student still has outstanding credits to make up, don't delay! The Cyber High lab is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 PM and Wednesdays from 4-5 PM in Rm 246. 

Please do not procrastinate in making up courses needed for graduation or A-G. The deadline to complete all Cyber High coursework is June 1st.  Please contact your counselor if you have questions.
Update Your  Info for the 2018-19 School Year
This past week, you should have received in the mail an information packet for the 2018-19 school year. This packet contains instructions to submit your online information update - please do so by May 25, 2018.

The packet also contains information about summer school, summer reading requirements (see also the English department webpage), and fall athletics.   Click here for the SUHSD 2018-19 calendar.
Sequoia Community Extends Unaliyi Welcome to Our Newest Members
On Wednesday evening, April 25th, the SHSEF hosted their annual Incoming 9th Grade Information Night - and what a success!

The MPR was brimming with about 250 parents and students eager to hear the real inside Sequoia story from those in the know.  Principal Sean Priest gave an introduction followed by sports info from Ms. Schmidt, an activities update from Mr. Uhalde, and an overview of how to get involved presented by the Sports Boosters, VPA Boosters, PTSA, and SHSEF.  The highlight was the student panel who provided a student perspective - the good, bad and the ugly!
Incoming 9th grade families attend Sequoia's Information Night last Wednesday.

A shout out to students Dana Nguyen, Mackenzie Clarke, Shasta Sholes, Clara Epelman, Paul Graf, Abby Taylor and David Pech; to parent volunteers; and to the whole SHSEF leadership team for providing such a warm welcome and informative experience to our rising 9th grade families.

At right: Student panelists with Principal Sean Priest.
Sequoia Dancers Rock the House for the 49th Year
Once again, Carrington Hall was packed to the brim as friends and family came to watch Sequoia's annual Dance Show this past weekend. Scores of dancers prepared for countless hours, arriving early to school each morning and making a huge sacrifice for something they love - and it paid off! The collection of parents, students, and teachers who worked back stage, front of the house, and in support capacities is too long to list but they all deserve a huge CONGRATULATIONS!  

Thank you to Ms. Lauren Reibstein for her work with the dancers and a special Shout Out to Sequoia's Dance teacher extraordinaire Ms. Taylor White who makes it all happen year after year!

We can't wait for the 50th annual Sequoia Dance show next year - stay tuned!

Above - The entire cast of Dance Show 2018, including students from Advanced Dance, Intermediate Dance and the Dance Team.   Below - Senior boys get a workout during their annual performance.

In This Issue

Tuesday, May 1
7 PM - PTSA Meeting, MPR

Friday, May 4
7 PM - Student-produced play "Purple Flowers," Carrington Hall

May 18-19
Spring Play:  The Brothers Grimm , Carrington Hall

Tuesday, May 22
5:30 PM - IB Ceremony, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, May 23
4 PM - AVID Graduation, Carrington Hall

Thursday, May 24
7 PM - Pops Concert (Bands, Orchestra, Choir), Sequoia baseball field

Monday, May 28
Memorial Day - No school
Quick Links
About Us 

Submit news to the Sentinel: For instructions, click here.

Find past issues of the Sentinel: 

En Español
¿Quieres traducir este boletín ahora? Siga estas instrucciones para obtener una traducción:
1. Haga clic en "Click here" en la parte superior del correo electrónico: "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
2. Mantenga presionada la tecla Control (PC) y la tecla A para seleccionar toda la página, a continuación, mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla C para copiar la página entera.
3. Abra una página nueva del navegador web y vaya a
4. Coloca el cursor en la caja y mantenga presionada la tecla Control y haga clic en la tecla V para pegar el boletín completo en el cuadro de traducción.
5. Asegúrese de seleccionar "To: Spanish" en la parte superior de la página. Haga clic en el botón Traducir. La traducción al español debe aparecer en el lado derecho.
SUHSD Parent Education Series - All Are Welcome

Leah Weiss, PhD, Stanford University, Author, How We Work
Mindful Parenting: How to Raise Kids While Reclaiming Your Sanity
Tuesday, May 8, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM  
Sequoia Union High School District Office, Birch Room
480 James Avenue, Redwood City

Join us for a lively discussion about what parents can do to remain mindful -- and not go insane! -- while navigating the ups and downs of raising kids. Using self-compassion methods and tips and tricks to stay mindful on any given day (yes, even the hectic ones!), Leah will lead attendees towards a calmer and more purposeful parenting path.

Leah Weiss, PhD, MSW,  is a teacher, researcher, and meditation expert at Stanford University. Her first book, How We Work, launched in March 2018.

Jess Shatkin, MD, MPH, Author, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist (NYU)
Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe 
Thursday, May 17, 7:00-8:30 PM 
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC)

Acclaimed adolescent psychiatrist and educator Dr. Jess Shatkin brings more than two decades' worth of research and clinical experience to the subject, along with cutting-edge findings from brain science, evolutionary psychology, and other disciplines -- plus a widely curious mind and the perspective of a concerned dad himself.
Jess Shatkin, MD, MPH , is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine. His new book, Born to Be Wild, is a winner of the 2017 National Parenting Product Award. 


Parents, students, educators, and community members welcome! 
Free admission and light refreshments.
The Parent Education Series events are sponsored by Carlmont PTSA, M-A PTA, SHSEF, Woodside PTSA, Sequoia Healthcare District, and Sequoia Union High School District. Special funding from Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF).
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series.