September 28, 2015

Celebrating Sequoia High School's 120th Anniversary!
Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
For those of you who attended the Sequoia-Woodside football game two Fridays ago (and there were A LOT of you), I hope your experience was as positive as mine.  Nothing brings a community together quite like a high school football game, and looking up into our stands after Coach Poulos's team tied it up with a late fourth quarter touchdown, I had goosebumps watching our students' cheers, hugs, and mile-wide smiles.  What a night!

Behind the cheers and tears, an event like this is the coordinated effort of many groups of dedicated people.  The coaches and players, supervising staff, cheer, dance, band, leadership, and administration all prepare for days, weeks, and months to make a Friday night football game run smoothly.  Perhaps most important among these groups is the Boosters.

Identifying the concrete ways Booster support makes possible the world of Sequoia athletics is easy enough: uniforms, transportation, equipment, coaches stipends -- to name a few.  The ancillary effects of a strong Booster club are more difficult to measure.  How do you quantify lifelong memories for a stadium or gym full of kids cheering on the big game?  How about the feeling of pride for a first-year swimmer breaking her personal best in a meet against mighty Menlo-Atherton?

Contributions made by the Boosters, ultimately, come down to volunteer hours and funds.  I'm ever grateful to the parents and family members, some of whose students have already graduated, selling snacks, sodas, and spirit wear.  I talked to parents who were volunteering in lieu of watching their kids compete because they believe so strongly in the mission of the Boosters.  I encourage folks to volunteer for a shift at the snack shack this season - the view might not be as good as the bleachers, but you can't beat the ambience!

As critical, however, as snack shack volunteers, are the two major fundraisers which fund the bulk of the Booster budget: the Sequoia Stampede 5k and the Crab Dinner & Auction.  Through these two events, the Boosters raise $70-90k each year.  Currently, the status of both events is in limbo due to a lack of committee members to organize over the next several months.

Because both events have been in place for several years, there is a template for putting them on - no new wheels need inventing.  Reaching out to sponsors/donors from previous years is a big task - the earlier the better.  Logistics around ticket sales and entry fees requires work up front.  Coordinating volunteers for the day of the event is also crucial.  If you feel this kind of work is in your wheelhouse in terms of time and skillset, I strongly encourage you to join efforts to keep these two events alive and strong in support of Sequoia athletes.  See the link for volunteering in the Boosters article below.

Have a great week!

Sean Priest
Sequoia High School Principal
Want to Keep Up With the Sports News?
You don't have to have a student athlete to be a sports fan. Find out when to come and root for the home team! Click here to sign up to receive emails about Sequoia sports and related events.

And, if you enjoy helping at these events, click here to volunteer!
Freshman Parent Welcome - Oct. 9 Home Football Game                       
Freshman Sequoia parents - please join us at a Football Welcome on Friday, October 9 starting at 7:00 PM when the Sequoia varsity football team takes on Menlo-Atherton at our own Terremere field.  Join us in the Freshman/New parent section of the stands and meet other new parents (look for the purple balloons).  We'll be handing out spirit items so you can help us to cheer on the Cherokees.  Don't forget to wear purple!
A shout-out to all of the volunteer "Baristas" at the Sequoia vs. Woodside game a little over a week ago.  We had a great night in sales, and we could not have done it without our volunteers.  Also a big thank you to Lisa Pokorny who has been coordinating our hot beverage stand for the Safe and Sober Grad Activities Committee.  You are all fantastic!!

reflections art program
Students - Enter the Reflections Art Contest!
20th century photographer Paul Strand once said, "The artist's world is limitless. It can be found anywhere, far from where he lives or a few feet away. It is always on his doorstep." Over the past several years, Sequoia students have explored the artist's world and gained local and state recognition for their efforts by entering the PTSA Reflections competition.

Why enter?
Students' winning work have been publicly displayed at the PTA Annual Convention and viewed by hundreds of delegates.  Students have been able to show prospective colleges their artistic abilities through their Reflections submissions. The process of preparing a piece of art provides students with the chance to use their imagination and independence in ways that they often cannot do in everyday life.  There are so many reasons to encourage your student to submit an entry.
This year's theme is "Let your Imagination Fly," and entries are being accepted in categories ranging from visual art and literature to musical composition, dance and more. The scope of these entries can be as wide or narrow as the artist sees fit.
How to Enter?
The complete details can be found on Sequoia PTSA's website, and the deadline for entries is 3 PM on Thursday, November 5.  Teachers for English, Journalism, and Visual and Performing Arts classes have been notified about this contest and have been encouraging students to enter.

If your student is at all interested, please have them consider submitting. Who knows where it will take them!
October 8 Events 
The PSAT Information Meeting will be at 7 PM in Carrington Hall.

The Candidates Forum for the Redwood City Council, Redwood City School District, and the Sequoia Union High School District will be held at 6 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room.  

All About Grad Week 
A senior parent recently asked, "How come I am being asked to volunteer at different fundraising events?  Shouldn't my senior student be doing this instead of me"?
Senior year at Sequoia is an active time both academically and socially.  Two very big social events are Prom, which is financed by student fundraising, and Grad Week, which is sponsored by the PTSA. 

One Grad Week activity is a Grad Brunch, which is held just before the last graduation practice.  The PTSA, through support of the SHSEF, funds the Brunch. The two other Grad Week activities are a BBQ/Pool Party and Safe & Sober Grad Night, which benefit from funding by parent initiatives.  This parent fundraising helps keep Safe & Sober ticket prices affordable for all students.  Safe & Sober Night, held on the evening of graduation day, is a Hornblower cruise this year, but the choice is decided on by the graduating class parent committee from year to year.


Parents create class committees beginning freshman year that seek to raise funds throughout the four years in order to "lighten the load" senior year.  As always, volunteers are needed to launch these initiatives.  Different parent activities by class include:

  • Sophomore: Evergreen sales
  • Junior: Basketball concessions, concessions on graduation day
  • Seniors: Love Bag sales, holiday tree sales, and beverages/popcorn at football games

In addition, the International Festival offers another opportunity for fundraising and community building for all four class groups.


Throughout the school year at different events, you will see students selling candy and baked goods to raise funds. These are sales organized by the student class committees and Sequoia's ASB, who are raising money for Prom.

During all four years, both parents and students pitch in to help make senior year a safe and fun time. Please support these grad week fundraisers in any way you can during your time at Sequoia!

In This Issue
Monday, Sept. 28
Collab Day
Picture Retake Day

Monday, Oct. 5
Collab Day
Tuesday, Oct. 6
Freshman College Day
7-8 PM - PTSA meeting, MPR

Wednesday, Oct. 7
6 PM - 10th Grade College Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Oct. 8
6 PM - Candidates Forum, MPR

7 PM - PSAT Info Meeting, Carrington Hall

Friday, Oct. 9
7 PM - Freshman Parent Welcome at the Sequoia/M-A home football game

Monday, Oct. 12
No School - Staff Development Day

Wednesday, Oct. 14
8:30-12:10 - PSAT, 10th & 11th Graders

Thursday, Oct. 15
7 PM - Fall Music Concert, Carrington Hall

Wednesday, Oct. 21
6 PM - 9th Grade College Info Night, Carrington Hall

Friday, Oct. 23
Homecoming Football Game

Wednesday, Oct. 28
6:30-8:30 PM - 8th Grade Information Night
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Parent Education
Woodside Parent Education Series
"Helping Young Athletes Reach their Potential" - with Steve Smith, PhD, Palo Alto University

Thursday, October 1, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
Woodside High School, Multi-Use Room (MUR)

How can parents support their children toward healthy participation in sports to encourage a lifelong healthy lifestyle and to reach their potential? The balance between sports, academics, and downtime can be challenging-come learn how best to prepare your young athlete for the future. 

In this workshop, Steve Smith, PhD, psychologist and professor of clinical psychology in the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium of Palo Alto University, will review current research and provide guidelines for parents and coaches to consider for healthy sport participation. 

Prior to joining the faculty at Palo Alto University, Dr. Smith served as the consulting psychologist for the Division I Department of Intercollegiate Athletics at UC Santa Barbara. He maintains a private practice, Sport Psychology and Research Center (, where he works with school, club, and professional teams and athletes of all ages from across the nation.   

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Free admission. Spanish interpretation will be available.  Register here.
Woodside Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the Woodside PTSA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or 650.868.0590. For Spanish, contact Maricela Lopez, Bilingual Parent Liaison, 650.367.7263 Ext. 45323.

M-A Parent Education Series
"Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs" - with Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD

Thursday, October 8, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
M-A Performing Arts Center (PAC) Cafe
Menlo-Atherton High School
Just say no or say nothing at all? This is the question that many parents face with regard to drug use in their teens-whether alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs. Most drug education programs are aimed solely at preventing drug use. After instructions to abstain, the lesson ends. No information is provided about how to avoid problems or prevent abuse for those teens who do experiment. How can you help your kids stay safe? 
Join us for an interactive workshop with Marsha Rosenbaum, PhD, founder of the Safety First drug education project at the Drug Policy Alliance and author of "Safety First: A Reality-Based Approach to Teens and Drugs." Dr. Rosenbaum earned her doctorate in medical sociology at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She is the author of numerous scholarly articles about drug use, drug treatment, and drug policy. Her opinion pieces have appeared in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Jose Mercury News. In addition, Dr. Rosenbaum is a proud graduate of Menlo-Atherton High School. 
This event is open to parents, students, faculty/staff, and community members.  Simultaneous Spanish translation will be available.   Register here.

M-A Parent Education Series events are free, sponsored by the M-A PTA, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District. 
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or 650.868.0590. For Spanish, contact Lilly Qui�onez, Parent Center Coordinator, at 650-322-5311 Ext. 5255

Community News
Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas will hold informational meetings for interested students and parents on the dates listed below. Come learn about the exciting opportunity for high school students to train with the AMIGOS Peninsula Chapter and then spend next summer leading youth in community service projects throughout Latin America.  Go to for more information.

Tuesday, September 29:  Mountain View High School Library
Sunday,  October 4:  Hillsdale High School Cafeteria
Thursday, October 8: Carlmont High School 
Sunday, October 11:  Gunn High School Library

Write Your Best College Application Personal Statement
2 Saturday sessions: October 3 and October 10, 1-4 PM
College of San Mateo Community Education Program

College of San Mateo offers its annual workshop for Bay Area high school students who want to write dynamic personal statements for their college applications. Admissions are competitive. As you know, a strong essay can give a student the important edge. But many students feel ill-prepared for doing their best job on the essay.
"Write Your Best College Application Personal Statement" is a low-cost, information-packed workshop that covers choosing a strong topic, organizing for impact, making the writing style sparkle, and more. Students draft portions of their application essays and get valuable feedback.