COPPERAS COVE, TX — In the past 6 years three Copperas Cove students have won the Texas Educations Agency’s Student Hero award. It’s a prestigious honor highlighting kids helping kids, only 12 out of 5 million students get.
The idea sparked at home with her sister Samantha, who is on the spectrum and nonverbal. Romella Spitzer said she saw how much painting helped her sister and wanted to extend that opportunity to other kids with special needs.
“My sister actually she is actually autistic and she loves to paint. So, I wanted to give the other kids who have autism or other disabilities that opportunity too," said Romella.
Her initial idea, eventually turned into Chocolate Fantasia.
Romella said, “I know some kids are allergic to it but I really like chocolate!”
From the beginning Romella Spitzer was hands on working hard to make her chocolate themed event a reality. She raised the initial funds with a lemonade stand and ultimately raised over 3,000 dollars with the help of grants too.
"I was expecting to raise like a few like $1000,” said Romella.
The sold-out extravaganza featuring art from local children who have special needs. Romella's mother, Chandra Spitzer said "I feel, just overwhelming proudness. It’s really amazing.”
Mrs. Sptitzer said Romella's advocacy for her sister Samantha is a gateway to educate kids he age, spread awareness about autistic kids.
"I just want people to understand that, regardless if they're a child or an adult, like my daughter, everybody should be treated the same," Spritzer said.
Romella's selflessness will soon help special needs children at her school, Williams Ledger Elementary. Romella's principal Lori Hensley said, “Romella exemplifies all that we like to see in our students. With the sensory room on campus the benefit of that is that we can take those short breaks that we can spend that individualized time with the student. The money that Romella raised is going to buy equipment to support those rooms and the needs of those students.”
The plans for next year's chocolate fantasia already in the works.
“I felt like really proud of myself. Like I won that award. I didn’t think I was going to win it but I did! I just want people to notice how autistic kids can do things they might not think that they can do it but they actually can’t they can do as much of things as they put their mind to," Romella said.
Next years 2nd Annual Chocolate Fantasia Event will benefit the districts Special Olympics.