Twenty years ago, on the cover of the Osprey Observer’s first FishHawk edition, we covered a story on a new school that had yet to be fully established, for which a name had been decided: Joe E. Newsome High School. It was named in honor of Plant City resident Joe E. Newsome, who had been a board member of the school district of Hillsborough County for 24 years, and he still lives in Plant City.
Since that time, the school has made a name for itself. Some of its most memorable moments include the Newsome Marching Band participating in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, its softball team being the first Newsome team to win a state title, its flag football team participating in the Super Bowl Experience Exhibition and having homecoming dances at Raymond James Stadium, and much more.
The school is currently home to 150 teachers, 50 staff members and 3,139 students. What’s more, of those faculty and staff members, there are nine individuals who have been there since the opening of the school: Jim Govreau, Kevin Sharpe, Paul Lindstrom, Erich Herrmann, Joanne Grogan, Lisa Maiello, Kathy Dodd, Julie Hiscock and David Peters.
“We make sure we take care of the whole child and that there is a place for every child to flourish here,” said Sandra Misciasci, Newsome’s literary coach. “And every teacher is opening up their class, staying after school—they’re searching for opportunities to serve and partner in the community, and partner with other schools.”
“It’s a blessing to work with such a great faculty, students and community. Truly, they are the ones driving the great work of Newsome High School,” said Principal Katie Rocha.
Rocha has been at Newsome for four years now, with one and a half of those years being spent as the school’s principal. Before then, she was the assistant principal for curriculum, working directly with the previous principal, Carla Bruning. Rocha has done so well as principal that she was named Outstanding Administrator of the Year by the Florida PTA last year.
About Newsome’s faculty, staff and students, she said, “The first word that comes to mind is family, and hardworking! They inspire me every day. I am honored to work with such dedicated and compassionate educators. Newsome High School has a rich legacy of success built on the foundation of extremely dedicated, loving and compassionate teachers, staff, students and community.”
Many outstanding students have graduated from Newsome, with some going on into fields such as journalism, entertainment, football, cheerleading, CEO/entrepreneurship, education, medicine, firefighting, dentistry, the military and even Secret Service.
“What I believe is the pride of Newsome High School is providing the top quality education for all of our kids and getting them the foundation to go on and pursue their dreams,” said Rocha.
She added, “It takes a village to raise a child, and this is just a wonderful, wonderful place where everyone works together to ensure their kid is successful, that their child is provided with future opportunities.”
Rocha is also glad to be in such a supportive community where their involvement is such a great part of the kids’ success, saying that’s what makes Newsome so beautiful. It’s a school backed by a great community and ran with teachers who will ensure their students are getting the education and support they need.
This year marks Newsome High School’s 19th anniversary. Newsome will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of its opening sometime during the 22-23 school year. Its official plans will be announced at a later time.
For more information about Joe E. Newsome High School, located at 16550 Fishhawk Blvd. in Lithia, visit www.hillsboroughschools.org/newsome or call 740-4600.