Only two days separated the deaths of Romo’s close friend and her grandfather, leaving her in a state of shock that ultimately gave her life. She began seizing every opportunity she could handle from taking classes that were too difficult to joining clubs and sports she thought would strengthen her character. The result: a well-defined goal.
“In middle school, I did what I could to get A’s and it was never really more than that,” she said. “After that week (of losing her friend and grandfather), which was one of the hardest weeks of my life, I kind of realized that life is a gift and there is no time to put it on the sidelines. We shouldn’t waste time with anything.
“If you are wanting to do something with your life then you shouldn’t take any time just to sit there and do nothing because there could be a day where it’s all over and all gone. So I am spending every moment I have now to reach my dream. Losing them was painful, but it was a huge catalyst to me being successful today.”
The ever-growing motivation Romo developed opened opportunities for her to excel in Advanced Placement courses, student government, cross country, musical theater, speech and debate, drill team and ROTC. The 16-year-old said high school was the perfect place for her to “put everything in one basket” in order to be a part of as many things as possible.
Romo said her role as Company Commander in the ROTC program at Spanish Springs High has helped her develop leadership and motivational qualities she plans to use later in life. She said she leads about 60 students each day, who have have been more than just people following her orders.
“Being a Company Commander teaches you to be really calm with people, because when you get angry at them, they are not going to listen to you. So it teaches you to work with people and how to get your point across,” Romo said. “It is kind of hard getting people pumped up, but you learn different techniques. You learn that if you have an upbeat personality, and you are willing to show people that you are there for them, then they will do everything in their power to be there for you.
“Not only am I leading those 60 people, but those 60 people are all individually helping lead me. That is what has been really great about it is that I have learned so many different things from the people in my company. It is not just them learning something from me. We work really well together and I enjoy watching that unfold.”
Romo said her experience during three years of being on the school’s drill team, which will attend nationals in Kentucky for the first time in school history, has been essential to her success. Though seasons were not always worth mentioning, she said the overall value of being a member of the team was worth suffering some defeat.
“It just reminds me how important hard work is,” she said. “Sometimes you forget and procrastinate, and I have done that so many times, but we have to remember to keep our heads up. We have had our losses before at drill meets and we have gone to meets knowing we didn’t try our hardest, but what we didn’t do was let that keep us back.
“We have worked really hard with our kids and there are times when we want to mess around with each other because we are all so close, but we also have those people who are going to put their foot down and get everyone’s attention and get them to work. We have had a good balance of good attitude and stern leadership to keep us on track.”
Romo has established a post-graduation plan which begins with applications being sent to service academies across the country with hopes of landing in Colorado Springs, Colo. at the Air Force Academy. She said any service academy provides a “great opportunity” and she plans to complete a major in aeronautics during college in order to pursue a career in state politics and government.
“I see the benefit and importance of having good leadership,” Romo said. “Right now I know our nation is going through a tough time so why not make it better? Why not help it get better and and be a part of that?
“My dad was in the Navy and my uncle is now in the Air Force, so they are a huge inspiration to me with all the work they have done. I have always had an interest in flying and I want to be a prominent figure in that area so I can help design new things that are going to go up into the sky.”
Romo said Nevada is definitely a place she would come back to for her government career, but said she wouldn’t mind being a part of a new state if the opportunity was presented to her.
When she is not participating in school-related activities, Romo is actively involved in the student ministries at Summit Church in Sparks. She holds a leadership role amongst her peers, sings for the worship team and is one of about 30 people who will travel to Kenya this summer to strengthen the church’s community overseas.
“I love to travel so getting involved in my world around me and not just here in my high school is important to me. I will get to experience a lot of different things I have never experienced before,” she said. “If I didn’t have my church, I don't know if I would be able to handle everything that I have been dealing with. It is a good place to go and not think about anything else.”