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Two Classrooms, One Visit

We were able to spend time in both Mr. Elizondo and Ms. Milazzo’s classrooms at Humboldt High School this week, checking out the impressive work done by all of the students.

Many of Mr. Elizondo’s students have chosen to work in groups.

Many of Mr. Elizondo’s students have chosen to work in groups.

In Mr. Elizondo’s classroom, students have taken the opportunity to work in groups to create ofrendas honoring deceased celebrities, and in some cases, mutual family members. Two young ladies, both the same age, are actually aunt and niece to one another. These girls have chosen to honor their grandfather, whom neither had the opportunity to know, but certainly had an impact on their large family. They have had to speak with their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents to get an idea of just how they should honor him.

Students in Ms. Milazzo’s class working to decorate their ofrendas.

Students in Ms. Milazzo’s class working to decorate their ofrendas.

There are several students in both Humboldt classrooms whose families celebrate Dia de los Muertos and are very familiar with the traditions. These “resident experts” are able to help out their fellow students and shed some light on why people celebrate Day of the Dead and how traditional shrines are decorated. One of the girls who I spoke with thinks the ofrendas project is really special because she can honor her deceased grandparents in her own way. It may be confined within a fruit crate, but this opportunity is an incredible way for students to make their own personal connections to family history.

Having completed their painting, many of Ms. Milazzo’s students have reached the point of decorating their ofrendas. As many more of Ms. Milazzo’s students elected to work independently and honor a family member, the items they are placing in their crates hold close personal meaning. Each student is at a different point in his or her ofrenda, but with each day the fruit crates transform further into Dia de los Muertos shrines.  

 

Students have gone beyond the basic coat of paint to honor their ancestors.

Students have gone beyond the basic coat of paint to honor their ancestors.