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12-year-old girl killed in Whittier house fire remembered

January 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Students at Katherine Edwards Middle School returned to class on Monday for the first time since one of their classmates was killed in a house fire in Whittier.

Grief counselors were on hand at 12-year-old Jamiesha Newman's middle school to help the students cope with the loss.

More than 100 friends gathered on Sunday night to remember the young cheerleader. Loved ones said Newman touched a lot of lives and always had a smile on her face.

"Every time I would see her in the hallway or even in the parking lot, she'd always say, 'Good morning,' or 'Hello,' and so I do know I'll be missing that smile every day," said assistant principal Lisa El Sabbagh.

Newman was killed when her house in the 10500 block of Glencannon Drive caught fire Friday night. Her family said she screamed for help, but no one could reach her in time.

"It's amazing to me a 12-year-old touched people's lives like a grown person, you know, that means a whole lot to me. She'll always be in my heart," said father James Newman.

Jamiesha's family said she loved animals and wanted to become a veterinarian one day. The cheerleading team has dedicated the rest of its season to her.