The Current Crisis: From a Teacher’s Perspective

It is hard to express how much the Foundation's food support has meant to students and staff in recent weeks. I think when we first started shelter in place many of us were focused on trying to transition content from our classes to on-line. We were all trying to stitch together ways to cope with this sudden event. It quickly became obvious to our Admin team that our students were experiencing food insecurity at alarming rates. Job losses and increased number of meals being served from home were quickly stripping household resources.

Administration reached out to the Foundation and you immediately rose to meet this crisis. This in turn activated many of the staff to contribute and to start our own fundraising efforts. I am so proud that together we have helped over 100 students and their families. I wish you could hear a student say to you directly things like "you are my savior because my family is eating through our food too quickly". Just know this help is the ultimate expression of compassion and acknowledgment of how necessary it is for those of not in survival mode to watch out for those that are. Thank you again for opening a door for all of us to deepen our connections to community.
Kai Lee
Redwood Teacher June 2020

RHS Scholarships

Friends of Redwood scholarships support Redwood High School graduates with financial support and personal mentorship as they continue their education in college or trade school.

Each FOR scholarship recipient is paired with a mentor from Friends of Redwood who periodically checks in with their assigned student to make sure the student's classes are going well, and to help the student resolve any issues that are impeding their academic success.

New scholarships are awarded twice a year, in December and June. Students can reapply for a scholarship each semester they are enrolled in college or trade school, assuming they maintain a 2.5 GPA.

RHS Students interested in applying for a FOR scholarship should contact RWHS guidance counselor Katrina Rubenstein

Miguel is a recent RHS graduate

and recipient of a $1,000 scholarship donated to Friends of Redwood by the Redwood City Optimists. Here are some excerpts from his February 2020 thank you letter:

“Before I started Redwood high school, I wasn't the scholar student I strive to be today. . . With the help of my English teachers at Redwood High, I now have a huge commitment to learning. I had to overcome many struggles that had interfered with my learning life. I moved around Redwood City and E.P.A. many times. I have lived in shelters, in my dad's mechanic shops, some nights we had nowhere to go so we had to stay in my mom's truck. We have had cps called on our family and had many problems and issues.. Growing up was very hard (for my three siblings and me) which made it difficult to pay attention in school. Our struggle brought me to conclude my biggest role model is my mother. But all those struggles made me who I am today. It made me determined to be somebody in life so I would never have to experience anything like my past ever again. I'm proud of who I am today as I approach the world with a positive attitude. I'm a high school graduate so far. I'm enrolled and attending [Canada] college, and strive to be fit. My short term goal is to be successful in my classes this semester but my long term goal is to transfer to a U.C.“


Graduate of the class of 2020, scholarship recipient

Jessica has been through many challenges. The loss of her dad when she was five months into her pregnancy at age 17 was life-changing. During this stressful time she felt like her world was ending. As a result of her dad's passing, the rest of her family had to leave the Peninsula. She describes her mom as not just a parent but also her friend. She had to prioritize her own new family and made the difficult decision to stay so she could also finish high school. Now, on her own without her family she has to worry about being financially stable for her and the baby. She has two part-time jobs now. Her dream is to teach cosmetology classes. She feels passionate about making people feel beautiful. She knows education will change the trajectory of her family. Being the best mom she can keeps her motivated.


Graduate of the class of 2020, scholarship recipient

Kita, along with her six siblings had to navigate what she describes as a hole. This hole was years of homelessness - living in cars, tents, churches and shelters. During this time, it felt like the family was always dealing with something. It got worse when her mom died at age 37 of a heart attack while they were in shelter. Since then she and all of her siblings have been split up. She misses them and one of her dreams is to get a house big enough for them to all be reunited under one roof. Her long-term plan to become a cardiothoracic surgeon. Her short-term goal is to become a registered nurse. As the oldest child, she feels her mother raised her to show her other siblings to never give up and always lead.

Nicole’s Success Story

The support and guidance I received at Redwood High enabled me to graduate high school (2011), which was previously uncertain. If it weren’t for Redwood, I wouldn’t have attended Foothill Community College and graduated with two AA’s and Dean’s list status. If it weren’t for Redwood, I wouldn’t have interned at Stanford University for three years. If it weren’t for Redwood, I wouldn’t have graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a Bachelor’s Degree in the top 10% of my class. If it weren’t for Redwood, I wouldn’t be actively applying to Ph.D programs at top tier universities. I often reflect on how my adverse history contributes to my academic trajectory, and it is Redwood High where my success story begins. Redwood High truly facilitates upward social mobility and I could not be more grateful for all of the support and guidance I received here.