June 11, 2018

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
That's a wrap, Sequoia! Thanks to the students, staff, families, and community partners that made 2017-18 such a success. Thanks for tuning in to this channel every Monday for the best PTSA newsletter in California. Here's to a restful and joyous summer!

Below are my remarks from Friday's commencement ceremony as written (I may have strayed slightly from script in my delivery -- I do that sometimes):

It is tradition at our graduation to acknowledge groups within this graduating class who, through their choices, grit, confidence, curiosity, discipline, and passion have embodied the best of what Sequoia High School does.  As the students stand tall, please join me in applauding their accomplishments.

  • If you have enlisted in the United States Military, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you are enrolling in college this fall, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you have played a sport while at Sequoia, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you danced or participated in a performing art while at Sequoia, stand tall, shake it one time, and be recognized.
  • If you have held a job to help support yourself or your family during high school, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you are the first member of your family to graduate from high school, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you are the first member of your family to attend college, stand tall and be recognized.
  • If you showed Sequoia Pride by wearing purple on Fridays; if you know how to defend your claims with evidence, test a hypothesis; if you can show an inequality by using mathematical reasoning or by citing a primary historical source; if you can run these straights-and-curves with your eyes closed; if you stood up tall for something or someone you believe in; if you pledge to carry Unaliyi in your hearts with you; if you have EARNED the right to receive a diploma from Sequoia High School, stand tall and be recognized!
I've been so impressed by the talk from our speakers today of community and having each others' backs -- I stopped counting after the 47th time I heard the word the word "we" and "our." I'm so glad that has been your experience. But Class of 2018, today marks the last time we stand together -- out of many, one. And the path that lies before you does not yet exist. The poeta Antonio Machado dice, Caminantes no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar. Son sus huellas el camino y nada más. The path is yours to make, travelers.

So before we hit the road, I want to give you three things to help you along the way. Please repeat after me: WHOAAAAA!!! WHAAAA?!?!?!? YESSSS!!!

Those words are my graduation gift to you -- they hold in them eternal youth and freedom from the burden of "being cool."

This is the sound of amazement. It's going back to read a paragraph a second time just to appreciate its eloquence. It's noticing, after eating under the same tree all year, it's covered in blossoms today. The queen of hearts on the short side of nothing, lookin' out your back door with a smile on your face: WHOAAAA!!! May you say it often. May your minds and hearts be open to the amazing things surrounding you every day.

This is the sound of your curiosity asking for a second opinion. Turn that rock over. Question your sources, think critically, keep an open mind. Most importantly, Keep Asking Questions. Follow-up questions. Clarifying questions. Big questions. What are the BIG questions you want to answer with your life's work? There are plenty of them waiting to be answered -- big, difficult questions. We need you, Class of 2018, to answer them. We need you. Caminantes no hay camino. The path is yours to make.

This is the sound of you on the mountaintop with the wind howling, of you finishing a difficult project -- crushing it! An academic degree, a promotion, a first kiss -- but also a disastrous attempt at doing something great. People staring at you on the dancefloor...let them stare! May you say it often whether you make the shot or not -- may you say it often because you took your shot. 

The path is now yours alone to make. Caminantes no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar. WHOAAAAA!!! WHAAAA?!?!?!? YESSSS!!! Together these three words can be your compass, your shining armor, and your jet fuel as you make your path.  I offer them as a gift because I believe them to be both the key to eternal youth and the key to a more just, prosperous, and beautiful future for us all. By the way, I'm giving these words BACK to you. I've have seen how you've internalized the virtues of empathy, optimism, and growth mindset over the past four years. I've been inspired by how you've walked this walk. Your WHOA!!! WHA???? YES!!! keeps us young, safe, and joyous.

Seniors...caminantes, you made it this far. I am proud of you. Take one last deep purple breath. You made it -- congratulations!

Is This Your Last Year at Sequoia?   
For families who will no longer be at Sequoia -- we will miss you!  If you no longer wish to receive the Sentinel or PTSA emails, please unsubscribe using the link  at the bottom of this newsletter or email us at

Note that if you have additional children who will be attending Sequoia in  the future , it is preferable for you to email us to remove you for our email lists. This way we can automatically add you back again later.  If you unsubscribe, you will have to sign up again manually. 
Grad Week a Resounding Success!
Sequoia seniors enjoyed several PTSA-sponsored events last week: a BBQ on Wednesday, a brunch on Thursday, and a Grad Night cruise on the SF Bay on Friday night.  A huge thanks to everyone who helped with the week's events as well as all the fundraising activities over the past 4 years!
Special thanks to  Alisa MacAvoy for spearheading the BBQ on Wednesday. The Seniors enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by parents and played games on Sequoia's front lawn.  Dorith Dooley and her team put on a gorgeous spread at the Senior Brunch on Thursday.  The deepest gratitude for my partners in crime (co-chairs)  Rachel Krueger and  Heather Weber for the many hours behind the scenes to make this memorable week a success. We were absolutely amazed how many students wanted to attend Safe and Sober Grad Night for which at the last minute we were able to add another bus to accommodate the 270 students who went. This is the largest group in years or maybe ever! Lastly, thanks to all the parents who helped by donating food, gift cards and/or time for all the events. Shout out to those parents who chaperoned the Grad Night Cruise! We couldn't have done it without you. 
-- Jayne Sungail, Grad Night Co-Chair
Above - A festive Grad Brunch before graduation practice last Thursday.  Below - Students and parent volunteers enjoy the Grad BBQ on Sequoia's front lawn.
Reports from Class of 2019 - You Can Never Start Too Early Raising $$ for Grad Night, Can You?

This year's candy lei sales were a smashing success! 

Our donors and doers include Anne Weaver, Barbara Jakoby, Carol Sato, Catherine Heller, Cynthia Banfield, Diane Holman, Dina Acreman, Erika Pretell, Grace Schulz, Jane Taylor, Jasmine Kuramoto, Johana Renteria, Laura Vella-Fukuji, Meredith Armienti, Michelle Futornic, Patti Miller and Susan Lier.

By donating sweets or assembling festive leis, these amazing volunteers lent their support to Safe and Sober Grad Night 2019. This effort wouldn't have been possible without them and we are grateful for their time and generosity.  

The Candy Lei Team:  Susie Vick, Patricia Eisenberg, Jen Sharratt  and Sam Woodward (who very kindly stayed on for a second year to offer her mad skills and invaluable guidance).

And from this year's graduation concession sales lead, Susie Gilbert:

It was a gorgeous day, but then it started getting hot and by the end, we had lines of people wanting something cold to drink.  The football stadium was packed - definitely a full house!  It got a little crazy for a while with the long lines and running low on drinks, but everyone was understanding.  

It was a huge crowd on a beautiful day, celebrating a wonderfully happy occasion!  There was no shortage of noisemakers, balloons and confetti.  
All of us Junior moms working the concession booth got choked up as soon we saw the grads processing in to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance. 

Here are the names of those who helped sell and clean up:  Grace Schulz, Elvie Tomacder, Jane Jackson, Jenn DiGrande, Patricia Eisenburg, Carol Sato, Jacqueline Tumalan, Kash Donovan,  Sian Davies.

And THANK YOU to all those families who donated food and drinks to sell!  We couldn't have done it without you!
Farewell Staff Appreciation Lunch
Last Wednesday Sequoia teachers and staff enjoyed delicious, festive foods and drinks at the end-of-year luncheon hosted by the SHS Parent Center and the PTSA.  
Much gratitude to Mayela Ramirez for leading the amazing luncheon and all of the families who prepared and served delicious homemade foods and tasty drinks, including:    Marias Churape, Victoria de las Cruz, Maria De Leon, Delmi Escobar, Maria Guzman, Araceli Huerta, Francisca Luna, Rocio Martinez, Dolores Moreno, Nubia Pech, Sandra Perez, Telma Ramirez, Dulce Rosales, Reyna Vicente,  and Martha Zavala
Many additional families helped by contributing food, drinks, or time in helping set-up, serve, or clean-up to help make the luncheon a huge success. Thank you to:  Noreen Abad, Judy Adams, Gail Blomstrom, Mary Carroll, Telma Cruz, Sian Davies, Susie Gilbert, Marlena Griffin, Lisa Hane, Kristin Hendricks, Diane Jacobson, Barbara Jakoby, Rebecca Joslin-Davis,  Julie Juergens, Rachel Krueger, Chiyomi Kuroki-Hirano, Patty Leeper, Susan Lier, Jessenia Linares, Sara Mancini, Holly Matsuo, Janette McAfee, Sarah McCaughey, Cheryl Mejia,  Gabriela Mendoza-Evans, Erica Metro, Lisa Miller, Lauren Pachkowski, Hilary Paulson, Jasmin Peccei, Liz Pruhsmeier, Caitlin Schneider, Grace Schulz, Jen Sharratt, Jane Taylor, Elvie Tomacder, and Viki Young.

Thank you also to Jennifer DiGrande for organizing the luncheon and for leading the Hospitality Committee this year!
A Thank You from Ms. Snow 
First, thank you all for your patience and solution-oriented thinking during this challenging library move. Everyone at school has been lending a hand to help with library renovation preparations. Laura Larkin turned half of her classroom into storage to accommodate math needs-- we love you, Laura!  The PTSA volunteers packed, and packed, and packed. The pay-off in the fall will be huge and we are sincerely grateful.
For those of you wondering about fall book distribution, we will repeat the process in reverse.  Look for details early August.
Finally, if you want to see the remodel in progress, follow us on Instagram @shs.mediacenter  or take a quick look at the photos here. 
Looking forward,

At right - The textbook storage room.  Below, from top to bottom - The main Media Center area, fiction area, and paperback novel storage room.

12th Annual Alumni Association Picnic: Aug. 18th, 2018 
Be sure to save the date for the 12th Annual Sequoia High School Alumni Association's "Celebrate Sequoia" picnic, catered by Emergency BBQ.  The picnic will be held on Saturday, August 18, from 10:30 AM to 3 PM on the beautiful Sequoia campus.  Activities include campus tours, performances by Sequoia's choir and cheerleaders, and vintage car displays.
All Sequoians are welcome (alumni, students, parents, staff, PTSA, Boosters, Education Foundation, and community members).  Tickets are $35 per person.  A limited number of tickets will be available at the door for $40 per person.  Reservations are due by August 14 and may be made online, calling (650) 592- 5822 or e-mailing
In This Issue

Have a wonderful
Monday, August 13
PTSA Freshman Family Ice Cream Social

Tuesday, August 14
Freshman orientation

Wednesday, August 15
1st Day of School

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