Middle school students celebrate Day of the Dead with colorful art projects

Nov 2, 2017

Wareham Middle School was decorated with colorful skeletons, intricately painted skulls and altars to dead loved ones on Thursday in a celebration of Day of the Dead, a holiday that originated in Mexico and is now celebrated throughout the world.

El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is dedicated to remembering friends and family who have died. The middle school’s art, music, gym, health and Spanish classes did projects focused on learning about the holiday and doing projects relating to it, which were displayed on Thursday for the whole school to see.

“It’s a different way to do Halloween,” said Amanda Zac, who teaches Spanish at the middle school. “It makes it happier and not so creepy.”

Zac said the Day of the Dead art show is now in its fifth year at the middle school. It connects students from different classes, bringing them together to work on one project.

Students displayed shoebox altars for parents, pets or celebrities who passed away, clay skulls, painted pots and skeletons and large paper flowers.

Sage Kidder, a seventh grade student, made a project in music class centered around Spanish composer Manuel de Falla. She made him a gravestone and represented him with a skeleton.

Students loved the opportunity to present their artwork from the first term, said art teacher Cynthia Gedraitis.

“No matter what they made, they want to show it off,” she said. “It’s great to focus on Mexico for a little bit.”

Gedraitis said the project takes some focus off Halloween and teaches students about a different cultural holiday. She said the theme of honoring ancestors and loved ones who have died is one the kids connected with.