September 5, 2016

Sequoia PTSA's weekly eNewsletter in partnership with the Sequoia High School Education Foundation
President's Message
So... I just want to check in with you all.  How's everybody feeling after week three?  Yup, it's been thirteen days since this year's high school odyssey has begun and in addition to the Sequoia activities, I know many of you have been adjusting to younger kids' back-to-school needs as well as college life for the older ones. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and count to 10... Regardless of where you are on this path, I'd like to welcome you to my favorite place in Redwood City -- Sequoia High School!
During the first days of school (and even before school started), I and many other PTSA members had the pleasure of taking part in some of the preparations that make for a successful new school year.
  • We treated our staff to a delicious and festive luncheon and celebrated our new teachers with classroom grants of $150 (courtesy of SHSEF).
  • We staffed the Welcome Help Desk providing assistance to new and returning families.
  • We helped with student photos, assisted in the library, treated our teachers to breakfast and coffee, and we have already begun to sell the AMAZING iced mocha drinks available only at SHS home football games!!! 
I know I speak for all PTSA members when I say that we get involved because we are aware, and research shows, that kids do better in school when their parents are involved. And selfishly,  I am also involved because helping out makes me happy. There's research on that, too! 
But let's be clear, participation can take many forms.  As our lives seem to be increasingly crowded with work, school, and family obligations, it seems harder to be a part of life at Sequoia.  Never fear, there is a place for everyone's talents here.  If you only have an hour or two to spare, if you have a special skill, if you like to help out from home, we can help find you a way to be part of this wonderful community!
I hope to see many of you tomorrow evening at 7 PM in the MPR at the Principal's Welcome.  It is a great way to start the year, reconnect with friends, and make some new ones.  If you can't make it, don't be a stranger.  When you see me around school, tap me on the shoulder, I'd be happy to share with you all the research I have on philanthropy and stress reduction -- or if you like, I'll just say, hi!
Happy September!

Lisa Hane
President, Sequoia PTSA

Principal's Welcome Tuesday, Sept. 6
We hope to see you at our annual Principal's Welcome tomorrow, September 6 at 7 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room.  Hear Principal Sean Priest speak, followed by a question & answer time.  Also, meet other Sequoia parents and find out more about PTSA activities; it's a great way to start off the year!

Join Us!
Happy Labor Day! Please support the labor of your PTSA by joining today. In addition to the coffee cart, new teachers gift baskets, and help desk events mentioned in the President's Message above, we support many other events that benefit our students, staff and community. Show your appreciation for your PTSA by joining today -- your membership matters!

HOT TIP:  If you prefer to pay by check, we will have a membership table available to assist you tomorrow night at the Principal's Welcome.

PTSA Members: Stop by the PTSA table at the Principal's Welcome to pick up your certificate for a free scoop of ice cream.  You scream, we scream, we all scream for ice cream and say loudly, "thank you for your support!"

PTSA Reflections Arts Recognition Contest
reflections art program
Are you creative? Do you write essays or short stories or poems? Do you choreograph dances? Make videos? Paint? Take photos? Sculpt? Write music?
Then enter the PTSA Reflections Arts Recognition Contest, whose theme this year is "What Is Your Story?" An overview, the rules, and entry forms are available on-line at the California PTA website and also the Sequoia PTSA website under the Programs / Reflections tab.  You can also get the rules in the Guidance Office and the College and Career Center.  

The deadline is November 4, 2016.  For more information e-mail [email protected].

A Message from "The Big 4:" We Love Volunteers!
School is in full swing, so now it's time for YOU to get involved with our parent-run organizations. Here are contacts and links to help you find just the right job(s):

PTSA (link here):  We are the "helping hands" at Sequoia and have openings in both organizational positions as well as many opportunities for one-off events. Here is a list of our events. 
Contact Lisa Hane: [email protected]

Sports Boosters (link here): Our goal is to raise $100K to support ALL SHS athletes. We have an immediate need for volunteers to help with our upcoming Stampede 5K and Tot Trot and with selling concessions at football gamesWe are also looking to fill various team lead and specialty skills positions
Contact Susan Alley: [email protected]

Sequoia High School Education Foundation (link here):
Help us raise $375K and 450 donations this year to fund stipends and programs that enable ALL SHS students to reach their potential. We are looking for people skilled in databases, marketing communications, photography, event planning, finance and e-commerce. 
Contact Jennifer Webb: [email protected]

Visual & Performing Arts Boosters: 
Help us support and promote our musicians, dancers, thespians and artists with your time and talents.  
Contact Susie Gilbert: [email protected]

Thank you!

6th Annual Sequoia 5K Stampede
Saturday, September 24 at 8:30 AM

The Sequoia Stampede is more than a 5K race/walk -- it is a fun-filled, community event and one of the core fundraising events for Sequoia Athletics. This year we are adding a Tot Trot (two laps around the high school track) for kids 5 and under. 

Registration: available online at, or contact [email protected] to request a mail-in form.
Event Check-In: starts at 7:00 AM
5K Gun Start: 8:30 AM Sharp!
Tot Trot Begins: 10 AM on the track at Sequoia High School

The course starts and finishes on Sequoia High School's beautiful campus, beginning and finishing in the stadium. It winds its way through the redwooded neighborhood behind the school, over a few small hills, and over one 200 ft dirt path.

Coffee and Gratitude Are in the Air
null Last Friday morning, Sequoia's dedicated staff were treated to hot espresso drinks and a delicious breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, fruit, yogurt, and bagels & cream cheese, compliments of the PTSA. Breakfast was available for delivery or walk-up and helped brighten the day of teachers and staff, many of whom were at school until late the night before due to Back-to-School Night. 

Volunteers from the PTSA hospitality team set up a beautiful breakfast spread, and leadership students were on hand to help with the deliveries.  Thank you very much to everyone who helped make this event special for our staff, especially:
  • Parent Helpers - Jennifer DiGrande, Lisa Hane, Rachel Krueger, Patricia O'Connor, Laura Vella-Fukuji, and Hilary Paulson
  • Student Helpers - Sammie Ellard, Leah Kin, Lauren Schiff, Shayan Weera, and Alyssa Williams
  • Food Donors - Jan Benway, Jenn Bulka, Rosemarie Campos, Karin Culverhouse, Maria Eugenia Smith, Stacey Giles, Torri Horovitz, Sherri Horan, Barbara Jakoby, Deborah Kemper, Rachel Krueger, Diana Laguna, Susan Lier, Karin Lubeck, Gabriela Mendoza-Evans, Grace Mizutani, Shannon Murray, Laura Nibbi, Patricia O'Connor, Lauren Pachkowski, Betsy Parkhurst, Judith Ruhstaller, Bonnie Sachs-Fossenier, Pam Scannell, Caitlin Schneider, Jayne Sungail, Laura Vella-Fukuji, Andrea Westland, and Hilary Paulson
  • Coffee Cart - Carlos & Cathy from Espresso Lane!
Shout-outs to all who pitched in to make this a fun morning for our amazing Sequoia staff, all of whom were extremely grateful for the treats! 

Above - A beautiful breakfast including eggs dyed purple and with "hello" and "good morning" in Hawaiian, Finnish, Austrian, and Cherokee languages! 

Have the Smart Talk
Everyone knows about the inevitable "birds and the bees" talk between parents and their kids, but what about the "texts and the tweets?" Having the Smart Talk is rising in importance, especially during the back-to-school season as your kids -- whether high school or younger ages -- head to school with the latest gear and gadgets.  

This back-to-school season, the National PTA and LifeLock encourages families to set ground rules for technology use and have open, ongoing conversations about online safety and responsibility.  

In This Issue
Monday, Sept. 5
No school, Labor Day

Tuesday, Sept. 6
7 PM - Principal's Welcome, Multi-Purpose Room

Wednesday, Sept. 7
6 PM - 12th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Monday, Sept. 12
Collab Day

Thursday, Sept. 15
Deadline for Junior IB Diploma sign-up (submit CAS Activity Plan to IB Office)

Friday, Sept. 16
Lunchtime - Club Day

Monday, Sept. 19
No school, Staff Professional Development

Thursday, Sept. 22
7 PM - Sequoia Parent Education, "Distracted Driving Workshop," Carrington Hall

Saturday, Sept. 24

Wednesday, Sept. 28
6 PM - 11th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

Thursday, Sept. 29
Photo re-takes

Wednesday, Oct. 5
6 PM - 10th Grade College and IB Info Night, Carrington Hall

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Parent Education
Sequoia Parent Education Series
Impact Teen Drivers - Distracted Driving Workshop 
Kelly Browning, PhD, Executive Director, Impact Teen Drivers
Thursday, September 22, 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Sequoia High School, Carrington Hall 

Back by popular demand!  Automobile collisions are the #1 cause of death for our nation's teens. The overwhelming majority of crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking. This is a don't-miss presentation for parents, teens, and families!
Since 2007, Impact Teen Drivers has emerged as a leading nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the pervasive yet 100% preventable crisis of "distracted driving." Impact's mission is to change the culture of teen driving, thereby saving lives in this and future generations of drivers. 
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., Founding Director, The Parent Education Series, at [email protected] or 650-868-0590. For Spanish, contact Mayela Ramirez, Parent Center Coordinator, 650-367-9780, Ext. 63105

Community News
Media Rules: Healthy Connections in the Digital Age
Do you feel that media is all-consuming and rules your family life?  Navigating technology can feel like uncharted and unprecedented territory for parents.  How can we effectively manage media use when the rules of engagement seem to be constantly changing?

Challenge Success invites you to our annual parent education event on Friday, September 30th, 7 PM at Stanford University's Memorial Auditorium. This is our biggest public event of the year, and we encourage parents, educators, clinicians, and students from the surrounding community to join us to explore how adults and kids can establish healthy connections and positive relationships in the digital age. 

See this flyer for more information.  Tickets are $10 for adults, free for students, and may be purchased on our website.