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Día de los Muertos: Community Education and Participation in a Virtual Setting
by Middle School LSA

At the beginning of November, Hispanic cultures have a unique and colorful way of celebrating the memory of loved ones who are no longer with us: Día de los Muertos. It is different from Halloween, where decorations are often placed outside of homes to keep spirits away. In many Hispanic cultures, it is a time to remember loved ones who have passed on, and to invite them to spend time with us. It is also a unique opportunity to talk about them to new generations and pass along family history. 

Each year, the Middle School Latino Student Association (MS LSA) creates a community Día de los Muertos altar and invites the community to add to their own ofrendas, or offerings, to the altar. This year, Middle School LSA students faced the question "How do we celebrate Día de los Muertos in a virtual setting?" Students decided that a website would best allow them to reach their goals of community education and participation. 

With the support of El Nido and the Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership (BCIL), the MS LSA students worked diligently alongside LSA advisors over several lunch periods to create their very own website. From the brainstorming and design stage, all the way to website building and publication, LSA students actively and enthusiastically shared their ideas and participated. This project showcases their fantastic leadership and teamwork skills. 

Divided into four main pages, the website educates the community about the Día de los Muertos, shares a number of countries’ traditions, displays community virtual altars, and highlights different Middle School class projects that took place this year. The virtual altars—one for people and one for animals—is a testament to the spirit of community that LSA students hoped to share. Both virtual altars display photographs and messages of love from LSA members, El Nido families, Middle School advisories, and Spanish class students. We invite all of you to celebrate this beautiful cultural tradition by visiting our website and helping us honor those who are no longer with us.

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