Kevin Zelaya

Hoctavio Aguilar, a junior at Lexington High School, wears the Manny the Minuteman suit during football games. Aguilar said one of the favorite parts of his job as Manny is interacting with young children, who often give him high fives and hugs.

LEXINGTON – You’ve probably seen him dancing and twirling around alongside the Lexington High School cheerleaders during football games, the big Minuteman Mascot in a black uniform known as Manny.

But who is the student behind the Manny the Minuteman mask?

After asking various Lexington high school staff and students (some of whom had no idea who donned the Manny suit) the mystery was solved when a sweaty Hoctavio Aguilar took off the Manny mask after the home game against Alliance last Friday, which Lexington narrowly lost by a 28-21 score.

Aguilar, a junior is involved in various school clubs such as the student council, FFA and the Majestic Theatre Project club, said the possibility of wearing the Manny the Minuteman suit appealed to him early on.

“I wanted to be Manny since last year, I talked to some teachers and they OK’ed it,” Aguilar said.

Dancing around in front of people is nothing new to Aguilar, who said he practices with his own crew of friends in a separate dance crew and although his effort to try to make it on the Disney Channel as part of a talent competition fell short last summer, clearly he has a bit of the performer in him.

Before each football game, Aguilar said he stretches out his legs and muscles to prepare himself for the long stints in the Manny suit.

“It’s hard work, it gives me a lot of pain,” Aguilar said about wearing the Manny suit, which can lead to back pain because he has to arch his back up extra straight to be able to breath through the opening from the mouth on the head piece.

Even though the suit causes him to sweat a lot during hot days and his back aches some on the day after the game, Aguilar said he plans to continue wearing the Manny outfit next year as long as he doesn’t decide to go out for the football team.

One of the favorite parts of his job as Manny the Minuteman is interacting with the young children, who light up and often ask to have their pictures taken with during the games, Aguilar said.

“It’s really fun, lots of kids give me high fives, hugs, I like making them smile.”

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