AHS Teachers Familiarize Students with the Day of the Dead
Teachers introduce students to the Day of the Dead with creative activities and to celebrate a culture dear to them.
Even though October ended with Halloween, it was immediately followed by the Day of the Dead, also known as el Día de los Muertos. This holiday is about “honoring our past and the dead,” Spanish teacher Ms. Campos said. Aztec in origin, the event embraces death rather than fearing it. Wanting to support MEChA club, celebrate Latino culture, and bring awareness to this holiday, Ms. Campos had all of her students complete a related assignment and presentation.
“In level one, we do a simple tombstone,” Ms. Campos said. “In level two, it’s a little bit more elaborate and in levels three and four, they had to do research and bring in things that their person liked.”
However, Ms. Campos’ Spanish classes were not the only ones who celebrated as art teacher Ms. Olsen also introduced this holiday to her students, demonstrating the pervasiveness of the event.
“People think it’s only from Mexico,” Ms. Campos said. “It’s in other Spanish-speaking countries, art, and French cultures, too.”
Ms. Olsen gave her students one day to create a drawing inspired by the sugar candy skulls that are frequently connected to the Day of the Dead, integrating the lesson into art even more by discussing such Mexican artists as José Guadalupe Posada, Frida Kahlo, and Diego Rivera.
“This year, for the first time, we did 3-D pumpkin carving,” Ms. Olsen said. “An alternative was the Day of the Dead [assignment]. I talked about the history, tying together the Aztec and Mexican [cultures].”
Nevertheless, Ms. Olsen feels that students still tend to be disconnected from the Hispanic heritage.
“Geographically Fremont is really close to Mexico and even closer to San Jose, but culturally it’s really far away,” Ms. Olsen said. “People are not always totally aware or embracing [of it].”
Still, the teachers efforts seem to have an effect on students as junior and Spanish 3 student Sean Jossy, whose group chose to make a display of actress Rita Hayworth, enjoyed the experience.
“Ms. Campos told us a lot of things,” Jossy said. “I learned about her [Hayworth’s] life and learned a lot about how the holiday works. It was fun to make [the display] and decorate it with lights and flowers.”