A Bellaire High School graduate described by her friends as "passionate" and "strong" was among those injured when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protestors at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, her mother said on a fundraising page.
Natalie Romero, 20, was one of at least 19 people hurt when a driver sped into a crowd in a pedestrian mall, according to this GoFundMe page. It shows Romero with a bloodied face and bandaged head.
At least one person, 32-year-old Heather Heyer of Virginia, died after the driver of a Dodge Challenger sped into the crowd.
Those who know Romero said they weren't at all surprised to hear the rising sophomore was out at the counter-protest.
"She's so strong, bold, and fierce," said fellow University of Virginia student Yaselly Sanchez, who served as Romero's mentor through a UVA peer mentoring program for Hispanic and Latinx students.
"I wasn't at all surprised that she was there defending her own beliefs and those who are unable to attend such events. She's been very active and is grounded in her beliefs. She becomes iconic to everyone she touches, and she's a true gem who's only just beginning to shine."
Alex Garcias, a rising junior, described Romero as "full of conviction" and the "most passionate girl I know."
Victoria Giron, another UVA student, praised her classmate as "very outspoken about issues affecting minority students."
As news of Romero's injury spread, Houstonians rallied around her, too.
"Natalie was there because of the person she is and to support the rights of everyone," Bellaire High Principal Michael McDonough wrote on Twitter. "Natalie has always had a strong spirit for being an active citizen. She was always a fervent rights advocate and her peers found her inspiring."
The GoFundMe campaign to cover medical costs, raised more than $6,000 in the first 12 hours.
"The EMERGE family in Houston is sending love, and praying for your speedy recovery," wrote one donor. "You inspire us."
Others called her a "rock star" and a "hero," praising her for taking a stand for her beliefs.
Romero balanced a college-prep workload while serving as a leader in the school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. She was named Outstanding JROTC cadet for Houston ISD in May 2016.
She participated in HISD's EMERGE program, which helps low-income and minority students get accepted into Ivy League schools. She earned the Harlan Andrews Founding Principal Scholarship for leadership, character and commitment to excellence, McDonough said.
The following is an update from BHS Pricipal Michael McDonough about the rebuild of Bellaire High School.
The Bellaire HS Project Advisory Team (PAT) formed in September 2013 as a result of the Houston ISD voters approving a $1.89 Billion Bond Project. Bellaire was originally slated to have a new building program design for 2800-3100 students, and an original budget of $106 Million. The project has faced challenges throughout as we worked closely with our school community, the larger city of Bellaire, and the HISD Bond Office. All three factions remained committed to both constructing a new building while maintaining school. It's been tough for sure. Yet I have an update that gives me the most confidence that we are finally on our way. Below are some bullets to try and bring you up to speed.
I hope that you have a renewed optimism regarding our project. I am thankful for the time & energy put into this effort by everyone - and I do mean everyone. I have always relied upon the Bellaire Community remaining participatory, and that commitment is what led to us finally getting a plan that will produce a top notch 21st Century facility while keeping our kids on campus!
I will continue to keep you informed as the site plan progresses with the City of Bellaire and I expect a larger community meeting in the early 2017 fall semester. In the interim, please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Enjoy the day,
Thank you WestPoint Lincoln for being the Title Sponsor for the 4th Annual Scramble Fore Scholarships! Register Today at www.bellairehighschoolalumni.org
Class of 1986 establishes a scholarship in honor of Becky Bollfrass Springer.
BHS Class of 1986 is establishing a one-time scholarship for a graduating BHS Senior who has overcome hardship. This scholarship is in honor of Becky Bollfrass Springer. Becky has been an inspiration to many people after losing all four limbs after a brief illness 5 years ago. More of her powerful story HERE.
Don't miss out on the fun!! It's not too late to sign up for the
3rd Annual Scramble for Scholarships this
Monday, April 18th at Sugar Creek Country Club!
Our very own Coach Roper will be out there!
Register TODAY at www.bellairehighschoolalumni.org
Individual as well as team spots are available.
Sadly, Bellaire High School mourns the passing of two of our own. While returning from a spring break trip to Corpus Christi, 17 year old Senior Jade Robinson and her sister, Brianna Robinson (BHS Class of 2015) were killed in an auto accident. Jade was a stellar volleyball player and had earned a scholarship to play volleyball at Tennessee Wesleyan in the fall.
A GoFundMePage has been established at https://www.gofundme.com/2vv6egx to help the Robinson family as they deal with the deaths and funeral arrangements of their two daughters. Once again, the Bellaire PTO urges the community to help during this very difficult time and to keep the Robinson family in their thoughts and prayers.