May 21, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
2018 McKinsey Schoarship Recipients Jeremiah Hargraves and Julie Ahmed
Scholarship recipients Jeremiah Hargraves and Julie Ahmed pose with Principal Sean Priest and McKinsey and Assoc. representatives  
Last week we held our quarterly "Big 4" meeting in my office.  Volunteer leaders from the Sequoia High School Athletics Boosters, Visual/Performing Arts Boosters, PTSA, and Education Foundation discussed topics ranging from next year's Crab Feed to the summer Welcome Desk.  

Cooperation among parent organizations like we have at Sequoia is rare.  It's one of the things I like to brag about to other principals who lament rivalries and drama in their communities more suited to an HBO series than a place of friends like Sequoia.  Among the agenda items was an update on our new Sequoia Business Sponsorship Program . This initiative builds on the goodwill we've established over the last several years, seeking to maximize our volunteers' time, energy and talents, and engage the greater community in the mission of our school.  It has long been the case that the SHSEF underwrites the PTSA at Sequoia.  Through the new program, we will begin to supplement arts and athletics in new and exciting ways.

McKinsey and Associates, our new neighbor in downtown Redwood City is one of our first partners in this new program.  In addition to a generous gift to the SHSEF Annual Campaign, the global management consulting firm will provide scholarships and mentoring to two graduating seniors.  Congratulations to Jeremiah Hargraves and Julie Ahmed (pictured above) for being named this year's recipients.

We know the impact our organizations have on kids in providing opportunities for all kids to reach their potential -- to not only attend a four-year college but also to thrive and lead as students and beyond.  Funding high-impact professional learning for staff, technology for the classrooms, support staff for our College and Career Center, and staffing to reduce class sizes are just some of the things helping to open pathways for all our kids.  

On behalf of the school staff, I want to thank those of you who have stepped up in this year's annual fundraising campaign ( not too late -- just over a month to go!) and recognize the hundreds of hours logged by our SHSEF Board, the PTSA Executive Board and volunteer corps, and the athletics and sports boosters.  We are excited about expanding our impact in the years ahead. 

Have a great week!

Varsity Boys Track and Field Athletes Win PAL Championship 
The Sequoia Track and Field Team continued their dream season on Saturday, May 12th at the PAL Varsity finals.  Our girls' team had a very strong showing finishing 6th out of the 17 schools competing at the meet.  And our boys team won the league meet championships by a single point over Menlo Atherton, remaining undefeated over the entire season.   The overall team lead was traded back and forth several times during the meet and the final standings were not determined until the last event of the day - the 4x400 relay.  
This is the first time that Sequoia boys have won both the dual meet championship and the league meet championship in the same season.  Read a recap of this tight race in the San Mateo Daily Journal

Track and Field
2018 Pacific Athletic League Champions - Sequoia Varsity Boys Track Team
Kudos to Sequoia's National Merit Scholarship Winner and Finalists 
Zachary Lo was recognized as a recipient of the prestigious National Merit Scholarship this May. Each year, winners are selected based on "the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies."  Read more about Bay Area National Merit Scholars in this Mercury News article.

Our other finalists included:   Nathaniel Burrill, Karsen Culverhouse, Clara MacAvoy, and Hannah Marcus 
Serena DeTata received the National Hispanic Recognition Program honor. Congratulations to these students!
A Big Congratulations to the 2018 PTSA Junior Scholarship Recipients! 
We would like to congratulate all of the 2018 recipients of the Junior Scholarships.  We received almost 70 applications this year, and 20 students have been given awards to recognize their academic success and commitment to their communities. 

2018 Scholarship recipients with Principal Sean Priest
The 2018 recipients are:
Cindy Ajvix Bac ,  Sydrah-Al-saegh,  Daniela Alvarado ,  Leslie Buenrostro,  Beatrice Bugos ,  Martin Cabello,  Shannon Coan ,  Diego De Nault,  Maya Donovan ,  Katherine Hansen,  Karen Houyin Xu ,  Myriam Leon,  Natali Petani ,  Landon Pierce,  Rio Popper ,  Marco Pretell,  Ximena Sanchez Martinez ,  Bradley Schulz ,  Anthony Tanzillo,  Ashley Valdovinos Rodriguez

Also, a big thank you to the parents who reviewed the many applications:  Viki Young, Ann Scholes, Allison Ledbetter, Elvie Tomacder, Meg Fitzpatrick, Sarah Pederson, Stacy Huisman, Karen Latina, Janette McAfee, Betsy Parkhurst, Carolyn Arbuckle, Rachel Levine, Sandra Barnett and DeeDee Clarke.
PTSA Junior Scholarships are funded by the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Celebrate our IB Success!  
Seniors and their families are cordially invited to the 2018 Senior IB Ceremony. Mark your calendars! All seniors in the Class of 2018 who took one or more IB classes and their families are invited to the IB Ceremony on  Tuesday, May 22, 2018 at 5:30 PM in Carrington Hall . Spanish translation will be provided. No RSVP needed.  Come and celebrate your student's success.
Thank you for spreading the word and please contact Jamila Williams (, IB coordinator (650-367-9780 x63103), if you have any questions.
Pamoja Online IB Course Opportunity for 10th Graders
Is your current 10th grade student interested in taking an IB course online through Pamoja next year?  Not enough room in their schedule for everything they want to take or want to access an IB course like IB Film, Economics or Philosophy that we do not offer at Sequoia?  
Pamoja is the only online IB course provider approved by the IB organization.  IB electives on Pamoja can be used to fulfill up to a Group 6 IB Diploma elective requirement.  Students do NOT need to be a Diploma candidate to take a Pamoja course.  Both IB Diploma and Course students are welcome.  All courses are two years and therefore, this opportunity is open to only 10th graders for enrollment in junior and senior years.  Scholarships are available for students qualifying for free/reduced lunch.
For information and application, visit or email Jamila Williams in the IB office this week!  Applications are due by Friday, May 25th to the IB office in room 130.
Enjoy a Night Out on the Bay! 9th, 10th and 11th grade Parents:
Are you interested in a fun night on the SF Bay?  Grad Night chaperones have almost as much fun as the graduates themselves.  No, these students may not want to see you out on the dance floor, but you get a free midnight dinner, all the coffee you need to stay awake and best of all, you get an inside view of what your student will be doing on their own Grad Night.  The event is June 8.
We have 6 wonderful chaperones so far and we need 4 more volunteersIt truly is a fun event.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact Jayne Sungail at  Please sign up here! 
Help Bring in the Books!
As always, the end of the year means the library is busy collecting and organizing books. If you can, please sign up here to help our wonderful Media Center Duo - Ms. Snow and Ms. Schadler!
And while you're there, you just may get the inside scoop on the exciting renovation plans for our new media center.
Contact Betsy Snow for more information:  
Interested in Decision-Making? Site Council Seeks You! 
The Sequoia Site Council is looking for a parent representative from both PTSA and ELAC to join our group.  Site Council is a joint decision-making body of students, parents, teachers, and the principal.  
We meet once a month (day of the week is TBD) for about an hour and half.  We discuss and vote on new initiatives, the site plan, and other issues and concerns brought up about teaching and learning.  Having parental representation is so important as it gives us a different perspective on so many topics. If you are interested, please email Beth Peters (   
Friends For Youth is Looking for Mentors - Could that be You? 
"A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself," said Oprah Winfrey about her mentor Maya Angelou. Mentors help each of us realize our full potential but 1 in 3 youth lack the support of a consistent mentor figure.
Friends for Youth strives to provide quality mentorships for youth facing obstacles to academic success, health and wellness.  In its second year at Sequoia, Friends for Youth provided mentorship to 60 freshmen and 20 sophomores from the Sequoia Aspirations Advocate Program (SAAP).
Friends For Youth Outing
FfY Bowling Outing
Friends for Youth and SAAP work to build a foundation of caring adults, support services and opportunities, so that our students gain hope and tools to excel in high school and beyond.   
This cannot be done without our amazing mentors and supporters!
To get involved or contribute to this cause, please contact Sarah Norman (  
Class of 2019, It's Time to Help with Concessions at the 2018 Graduation 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. 8:00-10:30 AM
    2. 10:00AM-12:30 PM
    3. 12:20-2:30 PM
Email Lisa Hane ( with any questions. Thank you for your help!

~ Class of 2019 Grad Committee 
Get a Glimpse of Germany In Your Own Home
"Education and cultural exchanges create prospects and open new horizons."
2017 German exchange students
In 2009, Sequoia High School and Kopernikus School in Freigericht, Germany, agreed on a German-American partnership for students of both countries -- with a total of nine German-American encounters already having taken place.

This coming October a group of motivated German students and their two teachers from Kopernikus School will be visiting the Bay Area again.  While their first week will deal more with seeing the famous sights in and around the Bay Area, the second week is focused on attending pre-arranged visits with a variety of companies and organizations on the SF Peninsula while living with Sequoia's host families (October 22-29).  The German students range in age between 15 and 16 years and are carefully screened by the German school staff.  They are interviewed, and must submit a teacher recommendation to be awarded a spot on the program.

The main objective of the partnership is the integration of students into the everyday life of host families to provide them with a coherent intercultural experience.  That's why we are now looking for Sequoia High School students and their families who will give European high school students the true cultural experience that only a homestay can provide.  Hosting and being hosted is an enriching opportunity for both the student and the family!

If you are interested in becoming a host family , email Thorsten Weitzel (
In This Issue

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

Wednesday, May 23
Lunch - Mandatory IB Meeting for 10th Graders interested in the IB Diploma (students only), Carrington Hall.

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

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

Friday, May 25
IB Online Course Applications due for 10th Graders, Room 130

Monday, May 28
Memorial Day - No school

Tuesday, June 5
Spring Finals Bell Schedule in Effect

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

Wednesday, June 6
Spring Finals Bell Schedule in Effect

Thursday, June 7
Spring Finals Bell Schedule in Effect - Last Day of School!

Friday, June 8
10 AM  - Graduation,
Terremere Field
  Mandatory IB Meeting for Class of 2020
Current sophomores interested in pursuing the IB Diploma, you are required to attend a mandatory meeting that will be held in Carrington Hall on Wednesday, May 23, during lunch.  If you are sick and unable to attend, you must email Ms. Williams ( immediately to set up another meeting to review the presentation and obtain the summer CAS assignment. 
This meeting is not optional.  If you are undecided about pursuing the IB Diploma, we strongly encourage you to attend to have any questions you may have answered.   This meeting is for students only.  A separate meeting will be held for parents in the fall.  We look forward to seeing you there!
- IB Coordinator   
Be Entertained by Sequoia Musicians
This year, the Pops Concert will be on the baseball field at
7 PM on Thursday, May 24 . It's an outdoor free concert featuring the combined music groups (bands, orchestra, and choir). Everyone is welcome and don't forget to bring blankets/chairs to sit on - and maybe pack a meal and enjoy an evening of music under the stars!
Last Week to Update Your  Info for the 2018-19 School Year
Don't forget to update your info to ensure your child is registered for the 2018-19 school year. The mailed info packet contains instructions on how 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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Parent Education

Community Cannabis - How Does It Affect Your Child? 
Learn how cannabis can impact a young person's development. Find out what you can do to prevent underage use.  Hosted by San Mateo County Youth Commission.


May 21 - 6:30 to 8:30 PM

Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School

1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City


May 30 - 6 to 7:30 PM

Cunha Intermediate

600 Church Street, Half Moon Bay

Community News
"Get a Leg Up" This Summer on the #1 Primary Executive Function Skill: Working Memory
Working Memory requires a symphonic network of pictures, sounds, text, experiential connectors, executive  functioning & pragmatic language skills so that information truly is categorized and remembered the right way.  Otherwise "poof" it's gone after the test.  This is especially key for individuals who are great at rote memory for facts but struggle in other areas.  This affects our academic performance, problem solving, social interactive skills, motivation, impulse control, etc.

WORKSHOPS SUMMER 2018: 1x-weekly all summer or intensive 5-days a week (2 wks)
Please email: .  Early Registration (save $150.00 by May 1st.)
Text:  650-678-9769.

SHS parents receive a complimentary assessment & session before June 1.  
How to Start Your College Essays  
Learn what goes into essays; brainstorm topics for the UC and Common App essay prompts; practice writing; get planning tips -- all in a small, supportive environment. This  helpful workshop for juniors will be given by essay advisor Heather Woods of Heartwood Editing on May 30, 7:00-8:30 PM at the Redwood City Main Library, $35 Sign up and see more dates at 
The meeting space is provided as a community service by the City of Redwood City. The City neither sponsors nor endorses this event nor the presenting individual or organizations.
Alpine Strikers Fall Soccer Tryouts 
Is your child excited to play soccer and wants to try out for club soccer and receive coaching from our professional soccer coaches? Consider our local club serving our Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Woodside communities.  Making new friends with like-minded soccer enthusiasts, training and working on soccer skills within a high energy team environment.
Tryouts are at different times for each age group toward the end of May. For details and registration, please visit
Free Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra (PACO) Spring Concerts  
Enjoy a series of Spring concerts (May through June) featuring winners of this year's PACO Concerto Competition. These talented young string players will perform music by Haydn, Bruch, Saint-Saens, Ravel and more. Don't miss the collection of works from Bach to Bernstein with violin soloist Robin Sharp in Senior PACO's last program of the season. If you do, you'll have a second chance on June 15 before they bring this winning collection on tour of Spain and Portugal. All concerts are ADMISSION FREE and for the entire family to enjoy. 

Sat, Jun 2, 7:30 PMCubberley Theatre  (Benjamin Simon, conductor) Sinfonia Orchestra  
Sun, Jun 3, 12 PMCubberley Theatre  (Natasha Makhijani, conductor) Superstrings Orchestra 
Sun, Jun 3, 4 PMCubberley Theatre  (Benjamin Simon, conductor) Debut Orchestra
Fri, Jun 15, 7:30 PMCubberley Theatre (Benjamin Simon, conductor) Senior PACO  
For more information about  PACO and concert details, please visit or email