Joliet Central Spanish class partners with local businesses to celebrate Day of the Dead
November 6, 2017 11:44 AM
Joliet Central High School Spanish teacher Jeff Grimes’ AP Spanish Language & Culture students are taking their Spanish lessons to the next level by partnering with local businesses to celebrate the Day of the Dead for the entire week of October 30th to November 6th.
In addition, teacher Tim Grygiel and his “Construction Occupational” class built an “Altar de Muerto” (altar for the dead) for Club Puentes, which was displayed near the entrance of the cafeteria in the Student Center.
Day of the Dead, or “Día de Muerto” in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage living in other places such as the United States. The holiday is usually celebrated from October 28 – November 2nd, during which families and friends gather to pray for loved ones who have passed away and celebrate their memory.
Grimes’ AP Spanish students wrote letters to local Mexican business owners to display an “Altar de Muerto”, or an altar for a loved one who has passed away, at the entrance of their business in order to keep the tradition alive.
In their letters, written completely in Spanish, the students describe this collaboration as a “movimiento comunitario”, or a cultural movement, that celebrates family, community, and culture.
In his letter, student Carlos Montes wrote in Spanish, “My AP Spanish Class has the mission to give life to the community and encourage its residents to elevate our culture and represent it well. To have an altar benefits both us students and the local businesses by grabbing people’s attention and demonstrating our love and commitment to our roots.”
Not only did the students invite the business owners to set up an altar; they also offered to assist in constructing and designing in order to better learn about and help preserve this Mexican tradition.
Participating businesses included:
La Panadería Sanchez
Las Delicias de Michoacán
For many of the students of Mexican descent, this was a positive way for them to reconnect with their heritage. All participating students benefited by applying their knowledge while also connecting to the local community and cultures.