Robinson High mourns death of cheerleading coach

Students sign a banner Thursday in honor of Tina Maiorana. “It’s pretty devastating,” Robinson principal Laura Zavatkay said.

Robinson High School

Students sign a banner Thursday in honor of Tina Maiorana. “It’s pretty devastating,” Robinson principal Laura Zavatkay said.

TAMPA — She was never late and she always answered her phone, administrators said.

So when no one could reach Tina Maiorana, 34, Robinson High School's cheerleading coach, a school police resource officer was sent to her South Tampa home.

Tampa police said she was found dead, lying in her bed Thursday morning.

"We've had an amazingly strong reaction," said Laura Zavatkay, the school's principal. "It's pretty devastating."

The principal said Maiorana had a medical condition her family was aware of. Police said they didn't see any signs of foul play.

But none of that consoled students and faculty members Thursday as the news spread across campus and grief counselors were called.

Maiorana came to Hillsborough schools in 2001 as a teacher at Seminole Elementary. She became Robinson High's competitive cheerleading coach before she was hired to teach business education at the school in 2005.

The Robinson squad made it to the finals in its division of 2010's competitive cheerleading state championship.

Zavatkay said Maiorana's commitment to the school extended much further than cheerleading.

She tutored. She mentored. She volunteered, and she filled in.

Thursday morning, she was supposed to fill in for Robinson's student government adviser to take students to a meeting at another school, Zavatkay said.

"She's truly going to be missed," she added.

Grief counselors are expected to return to the school today, and football players are planning to dedicate tonight's game and the rest of their season to Maiorana's memory.

Her cheerleaders have vowed to press on through the game and their season, too, though no replacement has been chosen.

"She's our coach. We haven't gotten that far yet," Zavatkay said.

Robinson High mourns death of cheerleading coach 09/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 24, 2010 1:06am]

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