Rio Rancho teen beats adversity by winning homecoming queen

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – A Rio Rancho teen with Down syndrome has a lot to celebrate this weekend. She just won homecoming queen at Cleveland High School.

The moment she was crowned homecoming queen was a moment her mom never thought was possible for her daughter.

“That just touches us because it’s changing how people look at our young people with Down syndrome,” said Christine Habersham.

Tianna was born with Down syndrome, but her mom says that didn’t stop her from treating her daughter just like everyone else.

“We grounded her the same way we did her sister. She had chores the same way as her sister, and we expected the same treatment in school when she got to school,” her mom said.

Special education teacher David Holland says he was so proud of the students at Cleveland High the moment Tianna was crowned homecoming queen.

“She earned this. Not based off of her disability, but because of her hard work and who she is on campus,” he said.

What her family and teachers want people to know is, she’s just a regular girl who has a few jokes up her sleeves. It’s also her good attitude that makes her a favorite among her classmates.

“Every time I work with her, she just knows how to make my day. When I’m having a down day, I just go to Tianna for a hug. You get a hug from Tianna, you can’t help but smile for the rest of the day,” said Joey Abeyta, a senior at Cleveland High.

So, how did the newly crowned queen celebrate her big night?

“I wanted to pick my favorite restaurant to eat my dinner, it’s called Chili’s,” she said.

After Tianna graduates high school, she plans on attending CNM to get her cooking certificate and eventually become a chef. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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