February 8, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
Principal's Message
Last week, I was lucky enough to participate in a small group workshop with Tina Seelig, author of several books including What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20.  As a kick-off to the discussion, she had us fill each quadrant in a matrix with a life activity.  In this matrix, the y-axis represented confidence and the x-axis represented passion.  Things we do but don't love fell into the high-confidence/low-passion quadrant; things we love to do but don't do enough fell into the high-passion/low-confidence quadrant, and so on.  

It was an appropriate frame for a discussion about professional creativity and innovation, but it also got me thinking about our students.  Sequoia has achieved tremendous success in maintaining a strong college-going culture.  In SUHSD "dashboard" data presented at a recent meeting of the Board of Trustees, it was revealed that 74.1% of 2015 Sequoia graduates met the UC/CSU A-G requirements (the district average is 65.1%).  In addition to the UCs, our students are accepted each year at high profile out-of-state and private universities as well as top tier liberal arts colleges.  

Among the things that keep me up at night: while we are preparing our students academically for college, what becomes of them when they get there?  Are they mastering a vocabulary for personal reflection?  Have they developed a framework for identifying their passion?  

Attitude determines so much about our success.  Crucial to success beyond adolescence for our kids: engaging with what genuinely moves them, having the space and support to take risks, make mistakes, and switch pathways when needed.  America's top universities are increasingly enrolling students whose primary objective, up to that point in their lives, was getting into the top university.  Those students tend to struggle. 

I encourage families to take a shot at the passion-confidence matrix activity and use the results as a springboard to a larger conversation about the importance of imagination and creativity in making the most of your time at Sequoia and beyond.  It may even remind them that being 16, with the world at your feet, is a pretty amazing place to be.

Have a great week!

Click here for the latest issue of the Raven Report!  Additional stories in between issues are also available online at www.ravenreport.orgsuch as coverage of Friday's basketball game.  Check it out!

LabQuest Enhances Physics Learning
Physics teachers Ben Canning, Allison Stafford and David Garcia-Ortiz report on their Fall 2016 Mini-Grant:

The Physics team at Sequoia HS is extremely grateful for the ability to add three LabQuest 2s to our classrooms thanks to the PTSA Mini-Grant. The LabQuests are small tablets that work with a variety of data collection probes, ranging from motion to temperature to radiation. One of our favorite activities is when students use them to match a position-time graph. We find that physically seeing how their movements show up on a position-time graph dramatically increases their graph analysis abilities.

Having more LabQuests enables us to run three classroom setups at the same time, making collaboration on the Physics team much easier. It enables us to do more hands-on activities without worrying about there being enough lab equipment to go around.
Physics students utilize LabQuest in the classroom.

Thank you to the SHSEF for helping to make the Mini-Grants Program possible!  

Reflections Entry Moves to State Level
reflections art program In the PTA 17th District, Adam Melamed's photo "Free Choice" earned an Award of Excellence in the Reflections Program and has advanced to the state level.  Sequoia's district-level entries from Bryce Stephens (literature), Emma Leeper (visual arts), Lena Yasui (music composition), and Samantha Hoch (film production) earned Awards of Merit.  Congratulations to these students!  

All the artwork that went to the 17th District PTA will be displayed on February 27 at the 17th District 2016 PTA Founders Day Luncheon, at Dominic's in Oyster Point, South San Francisco.  Viewing is free from 11-11:30, or from 11:00-2:00 if attending the entire luncheon (cost $25).

Robotics Team Wins Tournament
Congratulations to Sequoia's Purple Pi robotics team, who won first place on Saturday at the FTC Qualification Competition in Roseville!  Both of Sequoia's teams -- Purple Pi and Purple Reign -- demonstrated exemplary teamwork and perseverance in solving technical issues and working under pressure during the tournament.  Purple Pi and Purple Reign have qualified to advance to the NorCal Regional Championship on Feb. 28.

Caada Middle College Info Meetings
Caada Middle College is a unique opportunity for juniors and seniors from the Sequoia Union High School District to experience an exciting alternative to the traditional high school setting.  Middle College High School classes are taught by SUHSD teachers on the campus of Ca�ada College.  Students also take 3-5 college classes each semester.  These college level transfer courses appear on both their high school and college transcripts. 

Information meetings will be held:
  • February 17, 6:30-7:30 PM, Ca�ada College, Building 2, Room 210
  • March 1, 6:30 -7:30 PM, SUHSD Board Room, 480 James Ave, Redwood City
RSVP here to attend a meeting.  Applications are due March 19. For more information, click here

Sequoia Winter Play Coming Soon!
The Sequoia Winter play "Rehearsal for Murder" performs in Carrington Hall February 19 and 20 at 7 PM, and February 21 at 3 PM. In this famous Levinson and Link mystery, a noted playwright is devastated by the apparent suicide of his fianc�e after her Broadway debut in one of his plays. On the first anniversary of her death, he arranges a reunion of cast and crew to read for parts in his new play, but in reality he believes that his fianc�e was murdered, and his new script has been written as a trap for her killer. 

The Sunday matinee is a scholarship performance, with all proceeds from the February 21 show going to Sequoia High School drama scholarships. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and are available from the SHS treasurer, at the door and online (

Experience France in Your Own Home
Sequoia High School will be hosting our sister high school, Lycee Pierre d'Aragon, from Muret, France from April 15 to April 24.  We are currently recruiting host families to welcome these students into their homes!  No French language is necessary as the students are all learning English.  Sharing a bedroom is totally fine, but each student must have their own bed.  Exchange students will come to school every day with your student and should be considered as part of the family instead of a guest so that they can have a true Bay Area experience!  If you are interested or know someone who might be interested, please contact Karina Chin as soon as possible a[email protected] for an application.  If you have never had an exchange student stay with you, it is a rewarding experience for all involved!

Sequoia Students in RWC Climate Magazine
Redwood City Climate Magazine (free) featured past and present Sequoia HS students in two recent issues.  The December issue included the dedication of the Sequoyah Statue (page 28) and also the presentation of a Girl Scout Gold Award to Sequoia student Emma Johnston (page 29, in an article by Sequoia student Beatrice Bugos).  In the January issue, Sequoia alumni Kenny Ortega was featured in a lengthy article (page 20).  Check out the issues of Climate here!

Booster Club Crab Dinner: March 12
Get tickets here
Shout-Out: Class of 2017 Basketball Concessions
The Class of 2017 has been busy the last three weeks with basketball concessions for their Safe & Sober Grad Night fundraising.  Shout-out to organizers Donna Fiore, Karin Lubeck and Pam Scannell; key helpers Gigi Casey, Angel Becher, Rita Morin, Jennifer Marino and Christine Peterson; and the many other parents (too many to list!) who donated time and food items to make the concessions a success!

Grad Night Tickets: Early Bird Price Extended to February 14
The early bird price of $65 for Class of 2016 Grad Night tickets has been extended to February 14.  The last day to buy them on campus will be this Thursday at lunch time; tickets may also be purchased anytime at the Sequoia PTSA store.  The price will go up to $80 after February 14, so buy now and save money!

Photo Scavenger Hunt
Sequoia is proud to be an IB school! Have you seen this logo on our campus?

Last week's answer: The jellyfish is in the mural next to the school entrance on the Jefferson parking lot.
In This Issue
Monday, Feb. 8
Block B Day

Tuesday, Feb. 9
7 PM - Title I meeting, MPR

Friday, Feb. 12
No school - Lincoln's Birthday 

Monday, Feb. 15
No school - Presidents' Holiday

Tuesday, Feb. 16
6 PM - Spring Sports Info Night

Thursday, Feb. 18
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education, Finding the Right Fit / College Search, MPR

Feb. 19, 7 PM
Feb. 20, 7 PM
Feb. 21, 3 PM
Winter Play - Rehearsal for Murder, Carrington Hall (tickets here)

Friday, March 11

Saturday, March 12
6 PM - Booster Club Crab Dinner, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel (tickets here)
Quick Links
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Community News
Sophomores: Applications for Facebook Summer Academy
The 2016 Facebook Summer Academy Internship application is now available. This is a six-week internship program at Facebook for currently enrolled local high school sophomores. 

For more information and an application, please visit: The application deadline is Monday, February 15, 2016.

Sophomores/Juniors: Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program
The Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program is a FREE seven-week introduction to computer science for current 10th and 11th grade students. The program is designed for beginners, which means no previous coding experience is necessary! Additionally, we offer need-based scholarship and transportation stipends for those who qualify.  During the 7 weeks you will:
  • Connect code to your passions -- Whether it's medicine, fashion, or gaming, we'll teach you how code ties to all industries.
  • See coding in action -- Meet female engineers and get an inside look at technical roles in the world's top companies.
  • Join the sisterhood -- Make friendships with a supportive and diverse community of other Girls Who Code alumni.
Applications are due March 1; more information is available at:

Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
"Finding the Right Fit - A Conversation about the College Search" - with Maria Furtado, Executive Director, Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL)
Thursday, February 18, 2016, 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Carrington Hall, Sequoia High School
1201 Brewster Avenue, Redwood City

Join Maria Furtado, Executive Director of Colleges That Change Lives, for a conversation about helping your student find the "right fit" for college. Colleges That Change Lives, Inc. (CTCL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement and support of a student-centered college search process. CTCL supports the goal of each student finding a college that develops a lifelong love of learning and provides the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life beyond college.

Maria Furtado has worked in higher education for over 20 years. Maria speaks all around the country to students, parents, and counselors about college rankings and popular misperceptions about college admission, the strength and worth of a liberal arts education, and offers tips for students and parents on how to manage the college search.

Parents, students, faculty/staff and community members welcome! Free admission.
Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be available.
 Sequoia Parent Education Series events are sponsored by the SHSEF, the Sequoia Healthcare District, and the Sequoia Union High School District.
Questions? Contact Charlene Margot, M.A., Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or (650) 868-0590. For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, at (650) 369-1411 Ext. 63105.