May 7, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Once upon a time, pomp and ceremony for the declaration of intent to attend college was reserved for high profile athletes in big money sports such as football or basketball.  Media, coaches, family, friends, and school officials would gather, donning jerseys and waving pennants to celebrate the achievements of an individual whose hard work and athletic gifts set them apart from their peers.      

In 2015, First Lady Michelle Obama declared May 1 National College Signing Day as a way to recognize that for all students the accomplishment of officially declaring intent to attend college is worthy of the kind of attention and praise once reserved for elite athletes.  Earning and committing to the pursuance of a post-secondary pathway demonstrates discipline, focus, and grit. Any opportunity to celebrate these virtues reinforces the best in our young people and strengthens our community.

Sequoia High School celebrated National College Signing Day this year in grand fashion.  In addition to the AVID Celebration (see below), students took to the front of school on Wednesday at lunch with several boxes of colorful chalk to draw and sign the logos of the colleges they'll be attending next year.  Enforcement of electronic device usage rules were temporarily suspended as students took group pictures dressed in their college shirts.

The sidewalk was brightened by a broad representation of college logos: big schools, small schools, private schools, community colleges, California schools, Virginia schools, you name it.  The students who will attend UCLA stood a few feet away from the students who will attend USC, apparently still oblivious to the intensity of the rivalry between the two schools. "I'll hold off on telling them what we used to say the U, S, and C really stand for," joked our IVP Kristin Stout, a proud Bruin.     

To me, the shift from National College Signing Day being less about the achievements of the individual to the celebration of the community feels particularly appropriate at Sequoia.  We all share in the efforts to prepare students for success after graduation.  Their confidence and understanding of the opportunities available to them through discipline, focus, and grit begins with a commitment from our teachers and parents.  Support for 9th Grade College Day, the PSAT for all 10th and 11th Graders, support staff in the College Center, and other initiatives from the SHSEF speak to how high we prioritize all students having the opportunity to succeed in college among our school goals.

In other words, hats off to the students -- but, also, hats off to the community of parents and staff whose hard work, emotional support, and dedication over the years to these college-bound 2018 graduates made May 1st so special this year.  I know the 9th, 10th, and 11th graders were watching

Have a great week!

AVID Scholars Achieved 100% College Admission
Last Tuesday, 50 AVID seniors celebrated National College Signing Day and announced to the whole audience of friends, family and their Sequoia community where they would be attending college this Fall.  

This year, 100% of our AVID seniors were accepted to a four-year university.  Our goal for seniors in AVID is to
get to April with academic choices for their upcoming year.  We are thrilled that all of our seniors had choices and every single one of them got to make the the best decision for themselves based on a variety of factors.

None of this would be possible without the support of their AVID families, including senior teachers, Karina Chin and Jessica Magallanes, guidance counselors, Melissa Perez and Cynthia Wilde, college counselor, Teresa Ignaitis, and the loving support of their families and friends.

Finally, let us not forget a big Shout-Out to Ms. Teresa Yeager for her tireless work year after year with our AVID students and their families! 
2018 AVID Signing Day
2017-18 Seniors with their college pennants on AVID National College Signing Day.
Sports Signing Day - Congratulations to our NCAA bound Sequoia Athletes
On May 1st, Sequoia recognized student athletes who have committed to play a sport next year in college.  These young people have represented Sequoia well during their high school years, and we are very excited to watch them continue their athletic pursuits at the next level.  They are: 

Mackenzie Clarke, Macalester Coll. - Softball
Michela Imperiale, Occidental Coll. - Water Polo
Annika Krueger, Macalester Coll. - Water Polo
Ziggy Lauese, Cal Poly Pomona - Basketball
Jared Mejia, Pomona Coll. - Soccer
Kyle Pruhsmeier, Fresno State - Baseball
Ben Smith, Chico State - Baseball
Duncan Stewart, Univ. of Rochester - Football
Mia Woo, Oberlin Coll. - Basketball
2018 Sports Signing Day
2018 Sports Signing Day Athletes
Attention Class of 2019: Grad Night Fundraising Help Needed!
It's hard to believe that our students are just over a year away from graduating! Plans for Grad Night 2019 are already underway, including fundraisers that help keep ticket prices affordable for students. Please consider helping with one or both of these projects that are happening over the next month; they're a fun way to get to know your fellow parents!

Candy Leis
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
  • Help make leis on Friday, May 18     
Email Susie Vick ( with any questions.
Concessions at the 2018 Grad Ceremony
Get a peek at what Graduation is like! Click here to volunteer for the Graduation Concession Stand: 
  • Donate food - donuts, muffins and beverages
  • Help at the Concession Stand on Friday, June 8 - shifts are from:
    1. 8:00-10:30AM
    2. 10:00AM-12:30PM
    3. 12:20-2:30PM. 
Email Lisa Hane ( with any questions. Thank you for your help!

-Class of 2019 Grad Committee 
'Tis the Season For IB Celebration!
Do you Have an Hour or Two to 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! 
Sequoia's "Chicago" a Finalist in Rita Moreno California Musical Honors!
Last fall, Sequoia's musical production of Chicago was  considered for the Rita Moreno California High School Musical Honors, which is part of a National Awards Program that recognizes excellence in student performance.  We are pleased to announce that Sequoia has been selected as a finalist for Best Production, and Sequoia junior, Nicky Dovydaitis, has been nominated for Best Lead Actor!  

The nominees will present a brief excerpt from their performances on May 21 at 7:30pm in the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts - tickets are available here!

Winners of the Best Lead Actor and Actress categories from that evening will then have the honor of performing on a Broadway stage in New York City in June.

Read the full press release here. Congratulations to Mr. Danny Broome who directed Chicago, and all those who were involved in the show.
The cast performing "Chicago" in Fall of 2017
Senior, Dez Frazier, Youth of the Year Finalist, Wins Kevin Durant Sponsored Scholarship!! 
Dez Frazier wins Kevin Durant scholarship
Dez Frazier courtside with Kevin Durant. Photo courtesy of Shannon Potrello (copied from Merc. News)
A recent article in the San Jose Mercury reported that Sequoia's own Dez Frazier, along with 3 other local seniors was presented with a financial gift from Warriors' Kevin Durant through our local Boys and Girls Club to help them pursue their college dreams.   Click here for the link to the article and video.
Congratulations Dez, or should we say, Mr. Prez?!
Nobel Prize? Academy Award? No, it's a GOLDEN BARBIE!
On May 1st at the last PTSA meeting of the school year, members gathered to acknowledge and celebrate parents who will be saying goodbye to Sequoia following their last child's graduation in June. These parents have spent hundreds of hours at
Sequoia volunteering with the PTSA, sports Boosters, VPA Boosters, and SHSEF events.

The following parents have worked publicly on boards and committees, as well as quietly behind the scenes. In each case, Sequoia owes a debt of gratitude to these individuals for their efforts to make Sequoia a great school.

Sue Anderson, Marianne Amaya ,Tammy Bene, Carol Elliott, Elizabeth Gomez, Janet Hart, Rachel Levine, Alisa MacAvoy, Lauren Pachkowski, Hilary Paulson,
Liz Pruhsmeier, Susan Strehlow, Jayne Sungail and Chris Woo.

If you know any of them, take some time to say, "thank you". They will be missed! 
Badminton Athletes Win Big! 
Congratulations to Sequoia's Badminton Team for finishing in 2nd place with a
strong 12-2 record for the season.  Special congratulations go to senior, Jack Zhong, and freshman, Prerna Sharma, who played strong in last week's Ocean Division Tournament.  Both placed 2nd in singles and moved on to the PAL Championship Tournament.
In This Issue
URGENT! We Need 6 More IB Proctors This Week 
Awesome Sequoia Community, you have already signed up to fill 125 proctoring spots, which is absolutely amazing.  We need just 6 more proctors for three very important IB exams this week.  If you can help out, please SIGN-UP now! 

Tuesday, May 8, English, 7:40-11:45 AM (2 proctors)

Tuesday, May 8
, History, 12:40-5:15PM (3 proctors)

Wednesday, May 9
, History, 7:40-11:45 AM (1 proctor)


Wednesday, May 9
All day - Stand Up for Public Schools! DONATE to SHSEF today and Sequoia will receive a matching grant!

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

Wednesday, June 6
6:30 PM  - Senior Awards, Carrington Hall

Thursday, June 7
Last Day of School!

Friday, June 8
10 AM  - Graduation,
Terremere Field
Update Your  Info for the 2018-19 School Year
This past week, you should have received in the mail an info 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.
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SUHSD Board Elections - Get Involved

District Elections - It Matters to You!
The SUHSD Board of Trustees held a public meeting on the election process for their Board under a new by-district voting plan, which should make the Board more representative and reduce the cost of running.  Many Sequoia families live in what is now area A, the neighborhoods in San Carlos, Redwood Shores, and Redwood City to the northeast of the Sequoia campus. 

Many other Sequoia families live in area D, south of Roosevelt Ave. toward Menlo Park.  Trustees for both areas A and D will be elected on November 6.  August 10 is the filing deadline.  To see which area you live in, check the districting map found the election site.

For information on how to file to run, visit the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division site.  For preliminary questions on the Board election process, please contact SUHSD Superintendent Mary Streshly (
Community Education Workshops - All Are Welcome
Voter's Choice Act - Education Workshops
The San Mateo County's Registration & Elections Division is hosting public workshops for non-Eng lish speakers, seniors and the disability community to discuss the Voter's Choice Act a nd hear feedback from members of the public.  The Voter's Choice Act fundamentally transforms elections to an All-Mailed Ballot/Vote Center Model.

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed this landmark law on Sept. 29, 2016.  See the list of upcoming events and if your organization would like to host a Voter's Choice Act event, contact us at 

Please click here for a listing of Voter's Choice Act information events, held by the League of Women Voters. For more information on the Voter's Choice Act, go to
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.