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Celebrating Culture in our Community

Tim Betzala

Mission Principle: Community's Inclusivity and Diversity

If you had the opportunity to step foot in the lobby of Mullady Hall in the first days of November, you would have been welcomed by an absolute explosion of color. 
Throughout the week, the world language classes, the Latinos Unidos affinity group, and the Visual Arts classes, along with the help of some very industrious PRS parents came together to celebrate El Día de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. In order to better understand this tradition from Mexico and Central America, we created our own “ofrenda” for students to place pictures and belongings of their own loved ones and pets who are no longer with us.  
World Language classes and groups participated by creating traditional crafts that families in Mexico create to celebrate El Día De Los Muertos, including sugar skulls, “calacas,” or mini skeletons, and “cempazuchtl” or marigold flowers, which are the considered the "flower of the dead.” Students also crafted “papel picado” by cutting out traditional images in colored tissue paper, which are strung together and hung to sway in the wind and remind the living of the return of the "spirits” who have passed on.  
Advising the project was one of our newest affinity groups on campus – Latinos Unidos. Students in Latinos Unidos were able to speak to their experience with the holiday and share it in a personal way with the other students participating in the project.
Affinity groups on campus provide a safe space for people who have a common goal, bond, identity, or cause to come together for a specific purpose. Our affinity groups, such as Latinos Unidos, help us connect with other perspectives, experiences, and cultures, so that we can come to understand ourselves and our larger community better. The involvement of the Latinos Unidos group made the ofrenda project more personal and meaningful for everyone.
The ofrenda was a fun and colorful way to put us in touch with a holiday celebrated by many people, both in and near our school community. Visitors and students crossing the lobby in early November were encouraged to take a moment to soak it all in.