Questa native graduates NMMI with high honors

By Jesse Moya
jmoya@taosnews.com
Posted 5/16/19

Questa native Fabian Martinez is headed for big things after his graduation from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell this year.After six years studying at …

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Questa native graduates NMMI with high honors

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Questa native Fabian Martinez is headed for big things after his graduation from the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell this year.

After six years studying at NMMI, Martinez will graduate Saturday (May 18) as regimental commander, one of the highest honors awarded to a cadet at the school. The decision to go to NMMI for school was one that Martinez took early in life at only 14 years old and has carried him to his associate's degree in political science.

"It was something I felt would be a cool experience," Martinez said. "My family has a really long line of military history and I thought it would be something to look into."

From an early age, Martinez wanted to have a military career and he knew that Taos County wasn't going to be the avenue to achieve that in the ways he wanted. He made the choice to go to NMMI and said he would not trade his experiences for anything.

The first week was the hardest, but Martinez said he quickly adapted to life at the school.

"I did not like being yelled at," he said laughing. "Academically, it was difficult. No one babies you and says 'Hey, you need to go to tutoring and do this.' It's pretty much left up to your own devices."

NMMI focuses on military discipline and instills that in their students at a young age. This was something Martinez said he really didn't have a problem with during his time there.

Martinez will be graduating as regimental commander of the school and will receive the Superintendent's Medallion. As regimental commander, he was responsible for over 900 students and their daily activities such as uniforms and was also the planning director for any community events the school participated in.

"It's a lot of responsibility," he said.

Leaving home was easy for Martinez, but he said he occasionally missed his hometown. NMMI allows family to visit once per month in the fall and winter months and sporadically throughout spring.

"He's just superseded all of our expectations in so many ways, just being so bold to leave home at such a young age," said Martinez's mother, Debra Martinez.

Martinez is the second youngest regimental commander in the history of the school, and the third person to hold the honors from Taos County.

During his high school years, Martinez also played basketball and baseball for the school on top of his military and academic duties. He was also involved in the Civil Air Patrol, ROTC and sat on the Honor Board at the school. This list of accolades spearheaded him to the top of the class, where he said he is now focusing on a future in politics.

"I wanted to take a different road but still be able to serve publicly," Martinez said. "Politics influences everything we do in life, and I wanted to bring some positivity to people in New Mexico."

Martinez is currently working on the campaign for Republican Yvette Herrell, who is running for New Mexico's second congressional district. The next step for Martinez is to head to New Mexico State University to complete a degree in political science. He said he is no longer pursuing a career in the military and instead has his eye on a congressional seat in the future.

Debra said she and her husband, Jose, are extremely proud of their son and will be there Saturday to cheer him across the stage.

"I know the road has not been easy, but he decided to follow his dreams," she said.

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