Joshua Sessa: “More than a teacher”


Leonardo Flores

Joshua Sessa teaches psychology and U.S. History.

On a Tuesday morning, a man arrives at room 513 and is ready to have a great first year. Wearing a sweatshirt and jeans with white shoes, he begins to go over the warm-up in the beginning of class.  

Joshua Sessa is a U.S. history and psychology teacher at La Quinta High. 

His hopes for this school year is that a sense of “normal” is achieved by the end of the year. He also hopes to make an impact on his seniors when they graduate. 

“I admire how hard the students are working with the current circumstances,” he said, “and also my department and how close we are.” 

His philosophy of education is that all students belong. 

“All students have the ability to join,” Sessa said, “but it is the teachers’ job to get them motivated and make sure that students know they belong.”  

After graduating from Riverside Poly High School, he then attended UC Riverside.

When he was in high school, he was a really quiet person. He wasn’t the best student, but he had good grades. He was in band and played the baritone saxophone. 

In his free time, Sessa likes to go hiking, play golf, go on road trips and get out of his house. His favorite hike is the Thousand Island Lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

And if Sessa could go anywhere in the world, he would go to Greece again because he loves the history there and the Greek culture. 

“I have been fascinated with Greece because of how the people treat you while they are doing poorly economically. The food there is good and the people are nice,” Sessa said.

Sessa lives in Riverside and has to drive to La Quinta for work—a fact that many of his students are aware about and even more so, in awe of. 

For that reason, if he could choose to be a superhero character, he would be Superman so he can fly instantly to the desert from Riverside—which would surely ease his commute to work. 

Sessa’s favorite food is sushi and his favorite dessert is banana cream pie. He likes banana cream pie, but he wouldn’t go out of his way to buy it since he is not a dessert type of guy.

His favorite TV show is “The Office,” especially the “Fun Run” episode, and like many, his favorite character is Dwight Schrute. 

A fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, his favorite sport is basketball because “it’s fast-paced and there is always something going on.” 

Sessa knew early on that he wanted to work with young adults. Growing up, his mother single handedly raised him and his twin brother (who also went into teaching).

“I knew that I could be more than a teacher and a mentor,” Sessa said. 

As a teacher, he strives to have his students put things into perspective.

“I try to get them to realize that their mental health is important by asking them what I can do better to help ease the stresses of school and act more like a big brother or mentor,” he said.

Sessa’s first year here is only the beginning.