Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California)

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Sequoia High School
USA-Redwood City-Sequoia Union High School-3.jpg
1201 Brewster Avenue


Coordinates37°29′04″N 122°14′15″W / 37.4845761°N 122.2374441°W / 37.4845761; -122.2374441[1]Coordinates: 37°29′04″N 122°14′15″W / 37.4845761°N 122.2374441°W / 37.4845761; -122.2374441[1]
School districtSequoia Union High School District
SuperintendentJames Lianides
NCES School ID063639006198[2]
PrincipalSean Priest (2014—present)
Teaching staff110.27 (FTE)[3]
Key peopleKristin Stout (Instructional Vice Principal), Gary Gooch (Administrative Vice Principal), and Sophia Olliver (Administrative Vice Principal)
Grades9th-12th grade
Age range13-19
Number of students2,040 (2019–20)[3]
Student to teacher ratio19.34[3]
Color(s)   Purple and White
SloganUNALIYI: Place of Friends
Fight songGo Get 'em Cherokees
Team nameRavens
RivalWoodside High School
NewspaperThe Raven Report [5]
YearbookUnaliyi Edit this at Wikidata
Sequoia Union High School
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California) is located in San Francisco Bay Area
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California)
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California) is located in California
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California)
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California) is located in the United States
Sequoia High School (Redwood City, California)
Area35 acres (14 ha)
Built1923; 99 years ago (1923)
Architectural styleMission/Spanish Revival
NRHP reference No.95000389[6]
Added to NRHPApril 7, 1995

Sequoia High School (established in 1895) is a high school in downtown Redwood City, California, United States. Today, it is one of the few schools to offer the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme within the San Francisco Bay Area.


Sequoia High School is part of the Sequoia Union High School District. Most students attend middle school at Clifford School, Kennedy Middle School, McKinley Institute of Technology, or North Star Academy in Redwood City, or Central Middle School in San Carlos.[7] The school maintains a vast array of clubs, extracurricular activities, and sports teams, in addition to a student newspaper, Yearbook team, and student government program.

The school grounds, located on 35 acres, include a Japanese Tea Garden which was built in 1929 by students,[8] the performing arts venue Carrington Hall, and a number of historical trees, including the Giant Sequoia, Monkey-puzzle tree, Australian Tea tree, Ginkgo biloba trees, Cork Oak tree and many others. Classrooms are spread out among five main wings, including the newest "M" (music) wing, completed in 2018.[9]


Established in 1895, Sequoia is the oldest high school in San Mateo County, and was founded as a preparatory school for Stanford University.[10][11] When the school was founded, it was the only high school on the Peninsula between San Francisco and Santa Clara.[8] Initially when opening, the school occupied the third floor of the Redwood City Grammar School, with the two lower floors of the building for elementary and middle school students.[12]

The present-day campus is located on the grounds of the former estate of Horace Hawes, author of the legislative bill that created San Mateo County.[10] The present day campus, purchased for $80,000, was constructed in the 1920s and opened in 1924, in a Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style.[13] The original campus buildings were designed by architects Coffey and Werner.[8] The Argo Bell Tower campanile was built in 1923, and named after the former principal (from 1921 to 1948) Clarence Argo.[13] Carrington Hall , the school auditorium, was named after a former music and art teacher at the school, Otis M. Carrington.[8]

Remnants of the site's earlier owners, from over 115 years ago, are still visible on campus today, including an original set of concrete benches and walls on the eastern expanse of the school, built prior to 1905. The gazebo in the Japanese Tea Garden has been recently renovated, but remains in an identical location to a similar structure placed in the "rock garden" (today, the Tea Garden) in 1905.[14]

The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 1995, under its former name Sequoia Union High School.[6]

On September 13, 2007, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Sequoia High School to sign bill SB 35, which prohibits persons who are under the age of 18 years from using a wireless telephone or other mobile service device while operating a motor vehicle.[15]

Team name and mascot[edit]

In the fall of 1925, Sequoia's mascot and athletic team names were selected as the Cherokees, in honor of the creator of the Cherokee language, Sequoyah. The foreword of Sequoia's 1926 annual referenced the change, noting it was intended to "honor. . .the Cherokees, both past and present."[16] In 2001, following presentations from students, teachers, and the school's Alumni Association, the Board of Trustees voted to change the mascot, while still retaining the Cherokees team name. The student body voted on the new mascot, with Ravens capturing the most votes, and the Scorpions second.[17]

Beginning in 2018, several students, along with a faculty member and a few Sequoia parents, formed the "Ready for Ravens" initiative, arguing that continuing to use the Cherokee team name was hurtful to Native American tribes and perpetuated stereotypes about native people.[18] Although many students and community members supported the change, others argued that the Cherokee name was, in fact, honoring the Cherokee tribe. The student group organized surveys, presented to the Board of Trustees, met with the Alumni Association, and produced an informative video capturing both sides of the issue. In early April 2019, after collecting survey responses from over 1,200 students, parents, faculty, and community members, the students presented to the Board of Trustees, who voted in favor of switching the team name to the Ravens.[19]

In the months since, the administration has undergone efforts to replace references to the Cherokees on campus, including painting a new Ravens mural inside a gym and outside another gym. The 2020 Yearbook, commemorating Sequoia's 125th year, officially acknowledged the change and paid homage to the 1926 annual with an updated foreword reflecting recent changes to the team name and mascot.[14][non-primary source needed]

Specialized programs[edit]

Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID)[edit]

Sequoia provides classes, in partnership with the nationwide Advancement Via Individual Organization, to offer support for students related to taking advanced classes, time management, college applications, and more. The class is taught for one period every day, typically 7th period, as Sequoia operates on a schedule where only 0 and 7th period classes meet daily, a requirement for the AVID program. Students involved in AVID remain with the same teacher and classmates all four years of high school, and are expected to take notes in class daily, complete all college-preparatory classes with a "C" or higher, and meet with their teachers for progress reports.[20][non-primary source needed] As the program is designed for students "in the middle" who could benefit from extra support, most students come from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in post-secondary education, or who are the first in their family to attend college.[21]


Designed to prepare students for careers in business and entrepreneurship, Sequoia offers a BUILD elective to 9th grade students, typically taken as a seventh class. With support from the BUILD organization, students learn business techniques and apply them to a small product that their team has engineered. In some years, the student teams sell their products to Sequoia students at lunch, and learn social media marketing strategies as they publicize their products digitally.[22][non-primary source needed] (The school formerly offered a business/information technology program, with classes in computer repair, computer-aided design, and IB Information Technology in a Global Society, but due to low enrollment, the program ended after the 2017–2018 school year.[23])

Digital Arts Academy (DAA)[edit]

Offered as a small school-within-a-school to students, the Digital Arts Academy provides students the opportunity to explore careers within technology. Students apply in the spring of their 9th grade year and enroll in the program for their 10th through 12th grade years. The program is funded through a grant from the State of California that is matched by the District and industry partners, allowing classes to be capped at 25 students and providing teachers with resources that can be used to infuse the curriculum with technology and provide extra support to students.[24] Within the Academy, students take four classes per year: English, Science, Social Studies, and a technology elective (Digital Filmmaking, Multimedia I, and Multimedia II). Besides gaining experience with professional software, students are also paired with a mentor that works in Silicon Valley, allowing them to learn job skills and business etiquette through one-on-one activities, workshops, job shadows, and mock interviews.[25][non-primary source needed]

Health Careers Academy (HCA)[edit]

Similar to the Digital Arts Academy, the Health Careers Academy is a small learning community for 10th through 12th grade students at Sequoia, focused on preparing students for college-level education in health care fields or a career in the health care industry following graduation. Teachers "loop" with students and move with them through their years in the program within a specific subject area, such as English, Science, Social Studies, and Career Technical Education. The program provides students real-world experiences in health care fields through professional mentors, certification programs, and internships at local companies.[26] In the 2019–2020 school year, students attended a field trip to the Redwood City Fire Department, where they practiced Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) skills and performed mock emergency situations.[14] Through partnerships with local organizations, students in the Academy also host various events on campus, including an annual Health Fair and a youth heart screening. On March 4, 2019, the HCA was recognized by the California Department of Education at a conference in Sacramento, where it was selected as one of seven distinguished academies in the state, out of nearly 400 other programs.[27][non-primary source needed]

International Baccalaureate Programme (IB)[edit]

Sequoia High School began offering the International Baccalaureate Programme in February 2002, under Principal Morgan Marchbanks.[28][29] Although the official IB curriculum does not begin until junior year, students can take ICAP ("International College Advancement Program") classes in freshman and sophomore year. Sequoia High School offers a wide range of IB classes for students in English, history, math, science, electives, and languages. Students can choose to take one or several IB classes to pursue an IB certificate, or they can choose to partake in the full IB Diploma, which includes taking an IB class in each of the six main subject areas, taking an additional Theory of Knowledge (TOK) class, writing a 4,000-word Extended Essay (EE) research paper, and completing Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) hours. The International Baccalaureate Programme allows the students a wide range of opportunities because the course material is worldwide. It prepares them for college as the course is rigorous, but helps each student adapt to the work load. At the end of the last year, similar to the AP test, the students take IB tests which go on throughout the month of May. As of the 2020–2021 school year, Sequoia offers 18 unique IB classes.[30]




  • 2,143 students: 1,096 Male (51.1%), 1,047 Female (48.9%)
Hispanic White Asian Two or More Races Pacific Islander Filipino African American American Indian Not Reported
1,273 629 66 62 47 32 28 5 1
59.4% 29.4% 3.1% 2.9% 2.2% 1.5% 1.3% 0.2% 0%

Standardized testing[edit]

SAT Scores for 2019–2020 [32]
Evidence-Based Reading

and Writing Average

Math Average
Sequoia High 575 588
Statewide 531 524
2013 Academic Performance Index
2009 Base API [33] 2013 Growth API [34] Growth in the API from 2009 to 2013
740 801 61

Notable alumni[edit]


Arts and entertainment[edit]



Scholar and education[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sequoia High School". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 19 January 1981. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Search for Public Schools - Sequoia High (063639006198)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Sequoia High". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  4. ^ "Sequoia High replaces Cherokee mascot with raven". The Daily Post. April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ <Newspaper section
  6. ^ a b "National Register Information System – (#95000389)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  7. ^ "SUHSD Boundary Policy and Exceptions" (PDF). Sequoia Union High School District. 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  8. ^ a b c d "Historical Blog Series: Sequoia High School". Redwood City History. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  9. ^ Beth (2018-02-18). "Newly Remodeled M-Wing Officially Opened!". Sequoia High School Education Foundation. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  10. ^ a b "Historical Blog Series: Sequoia High School". Redwood City VOICE. City of Redwood City. 2016-07-18. Retrieved 2018-04-06 – via Medium.
  11. ^ "Timeline". Redwood City History. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  12. ^ Veronico, Nicholas A.; Veronico, Betty S.; McGovern, Reg; McGovern, Janet (2010). Redwood City, Then and Now. Google Books: Arcadia Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 978-0738580388.
  13. ^ a b McGovern, Janet; Veronico, Betty S.; Veronico, Nicholas A. (2008). Redwood City, Images of America. Arcadia Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-0738559247.
  14. ^ a b c Mancini, Andrew; Bray, Eileen; Sequoia Yearbook staff, eds. (2020). 2020 Unaliyi (Yearbook). Redwood City, CA: Sequoia High School. p. 4.
  15. ^ "Schwarzenegger to sign bill at Sequoia high school". The San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  16. ^ 1926 Sequoya (Yearbook). Redwood City, CA: Sequoia High School. 1926 [1926]. p. 8.
  17. ^ Lynem, Julie N.; Writer, Chronicle Staff (2001-02-23). "Cherokee Mascot Goes, Sequoia Keeps Nickname / School district bans all visual symbols of tribe". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  18. ^ "Sequoia High replaces Cherokee mascot with raven". Palo Alto Daily Post. 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  19. ^ "Redwood City high school drops Cherokees nickname from team sports". The Mercury News. 2019-04-19. Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  20. ^ "Sequoia High School - AVID". Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  21. ^ "What is AVID for Higher Education?". 2015-02-21. Archived from the original on 2015-02-21. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Sequoia High School - Academic Development". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Sequoia High School - Business Info Tech". 2017-07-06. Archived from the original on 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2020-09-05.
  24. ^ Hood, Robert (2008-04-01). "Unique Partnership Helps Sequoia High School Students Learn About Video Game Art And Prepares Them To Transfer To A University". Cañada College. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  25. ^ "Sequoia High School - Digital Arts Academy". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Sequoia High School - Health Career Academy". Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  27. ^ Carpinelli, Madeline. "Health Careers Academy wins award for providing challenging curriculum, real-world opportunities". Raven Report. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
  28. ^ "Sequoia High School". International Baccalaureate®. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  29. ^ Buchan, Judy (March 2007). "Changing the face of Sequoia High: Morgan Marchbanks Looks Back and Ahead". The Spectrum Magazine. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  30. ^ "Sequoia High School Program Planning Handbook" (PDF). June 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  31. ^ "Enrollment by Ethnicity for 2015-16: Sequoia High School". California Department of Education. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  32. ^ "Sequoia HS 2019-2020 School Profile" (PDF). Sequoia High School. June 2020. Retrieved August 20, 2020.
  33. ^ "2009 Base API School Report - Sequoia High". California Department of Education Assessment, Accountability and Awards Division.
  34. ^ "2013 Growth API School Report - Sequoia High". California Department of Education Analysis, Measurement, & Accountability Reporting Division.
  35. ^ "Sequoia High spotlight: Beban remains UCLA's lone Heisman Trophy winner". The Mercury News. 2015-09-02. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  36. ^ "Peninsula Hall of Famers Nyberg, Woods Bury Hatchet". San Mateo, CA Patch. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  37. ^ a b "USAWATERPOLO.ORG - Home of Champions". Archived from the original on 2013-08-24.
  38. ^ Barney, Chuck (January 8, 2021). "Pro wrestler, East Palo Alto native Will Hobbs out to be one of the greats". Mercury News. Retrieved July 5, 2021.
  39. ^ "Dick Sharon Baseball Stats". Baseball Almanac, Inc. 2018-02-23. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  40. ^ "6th ANNUAL PICNIC – ANOTHER GREAT YEAR!" (PDF). Sequoia High School Alumni Association. 2012.
  41. ^ "Plaque commemorating Bob Svihus". The San Mateo County Historical Association Online Collections Database. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  42. ^ a b c d Bishop, Shaun (2009-03-27). "Sequoia High School alumni inducted into Hall of Fame". The Mercury News. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  43. ^ "Lydia Pense: hot sounds with Cold Blood". The Mercury News. 2015-10-07. Retrieved 2017-06-29. In 1963, while at Sequoia High School, she joined her first band, The Dimensions." "“That was, like, ’66. I’d just graduated from high school. So you can do the math,” Pense says
  44. ^ Michelle Durand (April 10, 2013). "Former Redwood City mayor, congressman dies". The Daily Journal. Archived from the original on June 19, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2013.

External links[edit]