Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Helena Rodriguez
PORTALES—Eastern New Mexico University will observe Cinco de Mayo next week with an outdoor fiesta featuring live music and piņatas and an evening banquet featuring singing mariachis, a ballet folklorico, a guest speaker and awards.
The third annual Cinco de Mayo celebration begins at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5, with an outdoor fiesta at the Dallan Sanders Memorial Plaza behind the Campus Union Building. Lambda Theta Phi is sponsoring the event. Local Christian rap band, Divine Destiny, along with Spanish Christian singer, Lucero, will perform. During the fiesta, the public is welcome to participate in the breaking of three piņatas. There will also be a guest
speaker and free sopapillas.
The third annual Cinco de Mayo Recognition Banquet is also slated for Wednesday, May 5, at 6 p.m. in the CUB Ballroom. Tickets are $15, with reservations due by Thursday, April 29. A Mexican buffet will be served. In additional, applications for the Monica Martinez Memorial Scholarship are being accepted through Wednesday, April 28. The scholarship is named after an ENMU student who recently died in a car wreck. Martinez was active with the Office of Hispanic Affairs, who is sponsoring the banquet, and was a founding member of the ENMU Ballet Folklorico. Two scholarships will be awarded to students based on academics as well as leadership. There will also be a dance from 9 p.m. to midnight. The dance is sponsored by up-and-coming fraternity Lambda Theta Phi.
Like other ethnic holidays in the United States, such as St. Patrick's Day, Cinco de Mayo has become more popular in the U.S. than where it originated. The event commemorates the May 5, 1862, defeat of French troops by a Mexican army in Puebla, Mexico. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence Day, but according to Nancy Varelas, student director for the Office of Hispanic Affairs, Cinco de Mayo is important to the United States ecause thanks to the Mexican army defeating the French, France was not able to advance and defeat the United States as well. When they later invaded the U.S., the U.S. had built up a strong army by then.
Besides celebrating the historic defeat, Varelas said, "It is important to celebrate Cinco de Mayo to represent out culture. It helps us keep our Hispanic heritage alive and allows us to share the beauty of our culture with others."
During the Cinco de Mayo banquet, 20 outstanding Hispanic students will be recognized, one from each academic department, and will be presented with medals. The students were chosen by chair people from each department. In addition, five more students will be named Outstanding Hispanic Students for exhibiting leadership roles in helping with on-campus Hispanic activities.
In addition to this, 10 awards will be presented to ENMU faculty and staff that have helped Hispanic students succeed in college. These honorees were chosen from the various academic colleges at ENMU.
During the banquet, El Mariachi Aguilar de Juanita Jaquez of Odessa, Texas, will perform, and Dr. Mary Ayala of ENMU will be the guest speaker.
The first 200 students who sign up will get in free to the Cinco de Mayo banquet. To make reservations or for more information, contact Office of Hispanic Affairs at 505.562.245.