Students learn culture, celebrate the dead


By Andy Winemiller - [email protected]



Haley Keck shows off her ofrenda for actor/stuntman Ryan Dunn.


Andy Winemiller | The News

Austin York and Emily Slate show off their ofrenda for actor Paul Walker.


Andy Winemiller | The News

Sydney Edwards explains the meaning behind her ofrenda for musician Bob Marley at North Surry High School.


Andy Winemiller | The News

Spanish students at North Surry High School created projects to celebrate El Día de los Muertos Español, The Day of the Dead.

The students are learning more than just the language. Juniors and seniors in a Spanish II class said their studies involve a deep look at the culture in the more than 20 Spanish-speaking countries in the world.

Sydney Edwards said those in Spanish-speaking cultures prepare ofrenda, memorials of a sort, to honor their loved ones who have passed on to the next life on Nov. 2 of every year. The ofrenda usually include a picture of the deceased and items which celebrate their lives.

“On that day, loved ones come back from the dead,” explained Sydney. “Oftentimes they visit their graves. It helps them feel close to their loved ones who have passed on.”

The classes prepared their own ofrenda. Spanish I classes made ofrenda for their own loved ones, and Spanish II classes memorialized celebrities who have died. The ofrenda have been on display at the school for about a week.

Haley Keck showed off her ofrenda for Ryan Dunn, a star in the Jackass movies and television series.

“The day is a celebration of death — embracing the lives of the passed on, rather than mourning their loss,” said Haley.

Other ofrenda included memorials for Bob Marley, Paul Walker and various professional athletes who are deceased.

Emily Slate said the Day of the Dead project, which will be a large portion of the students’ grades in the class, is only one example of the in-depth curriculum taught in the class.

“There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries in the world,” explained Emily. “We learn about the cultures in each of them.”

Emily said their studies include learning about the food in the various countries, music and even dancing.

“Somebody came in and taught us Latin dances,” added Emily.

Haley Keck shows off her ofrenda for actor/stuntman Ryan Dunn.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_DayOfDead1.jpgHaley Keck shows off her ofrenda for actor/stuntman Ryan Dunn. Andy Winemiller | The News

Austin York and Emily Slate show off their ofrenda for actor Paul Walker.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_DayOfDead2.jpgAustin York and Emily Slate show off their ofrenda for actor Paul Walker. Andy Winemiller | The News

Sydney Edwards explains the meaning behind her ofrenda for musician Bob Marley at North Surry High School.
http://mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/web1_DayOfDead3.jpgSydney Edwards explains the meaning behind her ofrenda for musician Bob Marley at North Surry High School. Andy Winemiller | The News

By Andy Winemiller

[email protected]

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.

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