Compiled by Michelle Colesanti,

Newsome High School Chorus Earns Top Honors At Fiesta-Val Competition

The Newsome High School Chorus came home with the top awards from the recent Fiesta-Val chorus competition in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  The Men’s Choir, Advanced Ladies, Chamber Choir, and Elite Show Choir all earned the highest award, First Place Superior, in their respective categories. The Beginning Women earned second place Superior in their event.  If that weren’t enough to return home excited about, the Newsome High School Chorus earned the overall Grand Champion award for the entire competition. Newsome Chorus’ longtime director, Jeffry Bogue, earned the prestigious Director’s Award for Excellence.  Please join the chorus for its last concert of the 2016-17 school season, the Spring Concert on Tuesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. in the Newsome High School auditorium, 16550 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia.

Oh,The Places You Can Go When You Read A Book!
Artist, Laure Ferlita, will illustrate how to create and personalize a poster about a favorite book using watercolors or colored markers Saturday, May 6 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Bloomingdale Library, located at 1906 Bloomingdale Ave. in Valrico. Attendees will discuss how books have opened up new worlds for them. The class is free, and supplies will be provided. There is a 20 person limit. Please register at the library Ask Desk or call 273-3652.   
Cabot Creamery And The Florida Dairy Farmers Hosted The First Girl Scout Patch Day
In March, the Cabot Creamery and the Florida Dairy Farmers hosted the first ever Girl Scout Patch Day which included more than 100 Girl Scouts and their families. The free program was part of Cabot’s Scout Patch program that enables Scouts to earn custom-designed patches for various educational activities focused on health, community, business and social responsibility. Girl Scouts who participated and completed the two-hour program earned Cabot’s newest patch program “Fueling Head To Toe”, that helped Scouts learn about the importance of healthy eating and exercise in building a healthy body. The Scouts engaged in adult-led fun activities to learn how to build a healthy snack, how to do yoga to strengthen their body and why dairy is a healthy part of a balanced and nutritious diet.

New Summer Programs At The Florida Academy Of The Performing Arts

Children can learn to play violin this summer at The Florida Academy of the Performing Arts (FAOPA), which will be offering a new week-long camp this summer for children in grades 3-5. They will learn how to play a violin, how to read music, and learn music theory. Director Jeanne Machin said, “Our beginning violin camp will help first time students gain an understanding of the basics, learn proper technique and develop a solid foundation for everything from reading notes to budding musicianship.” The camp runs Monday to Friday, July 24-July 28 from 9 a.m.-12 Noon and children can stay for the whole day for more musical activities in the afternoon. The camp includes the use of a violin for the week.

Children who have already played the violin for a year can sign up for rock violin camp, which runs Monday to Friday, July31-August 4. Campers will play pop, rock, and jazz music, and learn to play with background tracks.
These are just two of the camps offered by the Florida Academy of the Performing Arts. There are musical theatre camps as well as week-long full-day music camps called Music and More for children ages 5 and up.
The Florida Academy of Performing Arts at Music Showcase is located at 402 Oakfield Dr. in Brandon. For more information on all summer programs or to sign up, call 490-2787 or visit

Sumo Robots Collide In Brandon
It was full-contact robotics at the Toys R Us in Brandon in April as six robots battled during a Sumo BrickBots event. The robots were designed, built, and programmed by area elementary and middle school students using LEGO bricks and Mindstorms software.

The sumo robots use sensors to navigate the arena like self-driving cars, except their goal is to crash into their opponent and push it out of the ring. The competition was friendly, however, with kids helping each other repair and debug each other’s robots.

“Sumo robotics is an exciting STEM activity, and using LEGO bricks and software makes it accessible,” said Eric Brosch of Bloomingdale who organized the event with Bill McCoin of Riverview. Participating in the competition were three community FIRST LEGO League teams—the Porygon Programmers, Master PikaLunas, and Tornadoes—that participate in SuncoastFLL robotics events.

For anyone interested in learning about LEGO robotics or creating and testing their sumo bot in battle, there are free monthly Sumo BrickBot events scheduled at the Hive at the John F. Germany Public Library downtown on Saturdays: May 20 from 2- 4 p.m., June 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon, and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 12 Noon.
For more information, visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.