On Nov. 1, staff and students of Williams High School put talent on display, intended to honor the dead. 

Dia de los Muertos is a beloved holiday stemming from the ancient Aztecs and is still celebrated. According to tradition, the gates of heaven are opened at midnight on Oct. 31 and the holiday is observed from Nov. 1 “All Saints Day” through Nov. 2 “All Souls Day.”

“I find it to be a really fun holiday but also very meaningful and a time to reflect,” said Williams art teacher Sally Hedley, who spearheaded the celebration. “It is a nice tradition because the kids get to learn how to do something that’s significant but also an art standard.”

Still life drawings of sugar skulls and handmade paper flowers decorated the Williams High School multipurpose room and gave splashes of color, representative of the lively spirit of the holiday.

The celebration was put on through a grant that offers an after school program called ASSETS. 

Ines Duenas, ASSETS director, said the program helps to bring in a variety of skills for students, such as cooperation, leadership, and coping skills. The event was a collaboration with others, including Anime club, yearbook class, art club, and the mariachi music class.

The high school’s mariachi band played traditional songs, “El Rey” and “La Lorona,” led by Idbin Acosta, the school’s music teacher. 

Acosta said he also teaches traditional dance and said that music is a part of the narrative of celebration. 

“Instead of sadness, it is a time to pass on stories from generation to generation,” he added. ■