Classmates say special teen makes a big difference at Va. Beach school


by LaSalle Blanks

Posted on February 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 1 at 2:20 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH – A young man with special needs is inspiring everyone he sees in school.  

Antonio Spruill is always helping others at First Colonial High School, whether it’s serving coffee from the coffee shop or making the rounds to drop off orders.

Antonio also is homeless, but that struggle doesn’t get him down.

"It’s been real tough because we've been from one place to another place, but he always keeps his smile," his mother says.

The coffee shop at FC is part of a program that gives students the skills they need to be independent when they grow up.

"I like to take orders and pick up deliveries and every time we go out, I like to make deliveries and when we come back, I like to do inventory," he admits.

His mother hopes things will turn around and get better for them. First Colonial students are doing their part to help. During the holidays, they collected food and gifts for them.

Recently, Antonio got another gift -- a surprise visit from pro football Hall of Famer and Norfolk native Bruce Smith.

His mother says it’s good to know people care so much for her son.

"He's sweet, he's honest, he has a big heart for other people," she says.

For now, Antonio and his mom are staying with a friend, but they’re looking for a home of their own.

We learned about Antonio when 13News viewers went to the Rachel's Challenge page on and nominated him.   Let us know of anyone involved with Rachel's Challenge program in school who you think deserves special recognition.