PORTALES, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a long-standing tradition in Portales, the Maypole Dance, is a right of passage for seniors at the high school. This year, the Maypole Queen is breaking barriers, proving she’s more than her disability.
For the past 92 years, Portales High School has been the home of Maypole, an annual tradition used to celebrate the graduating seniors. Things have changed a bit over the years, now instead of a tree the participating students dance around a pole at the high school.
Front and center will be Cynthia Martinez’s daughter, 18-year-old Amanda Martinez, this year’s Maypole Queen who was recently voted in by her peers. “I’m really excited, I am really proud of them that they have voted Amanda in,” said Cynthia Martinez.
To their knowledge, Amanda is the first ever Maypole Queen with down syndrome. As queen, Amanda has a big responsibility. She will pick the ribbons that will decorate the pole during the dance choosing her favorite colors, pink and purple, of course. “Kids tend to keep the special needs kids out of things and so I was really proud of this class that they were able to vote Amanda in,” said Martinez.
An opportunity Cynthia Martinez wasn’t sure her daughter would ever have. Following in her family’s footsteps. “I winded for Maypole and my three sons also winded Maypole,” said Martinez.
Now, she gets to watch her daughter shine in the spotlight just like everyone else. Maypole takes place at the high school on May 19th.