A Different Kind of Halloween Festival: BVT Students and Staff Organize 3rd Annual Día de los Muertos Festiva

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 Senior Multimedia Communications student Bridgette Donelan of Upton carefully applies decorative beads to a miniature skull in celebration of the cultural holiday

The Halloween holiday brought refreshments, costumes, and a cultural learning experience to students at Blackstone Valley Tech. BVT students and staff organized the third annual Day of the Dead festival to kick off the Halloween weekend.

The Day of the Dead festival is an interdisciplinary event centered on the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos. The holiday is a celebration that brings families together to honor those who have passed on.

Students took part in traditional Day of the Dead activities and cultural touchstones, including sampling of pan de muerto (the bread of the dead), creating traditional crafts out of papel picado (tissue paper cutouts) and sugar skulls, and contributing to a Day of the Dead alter.

In true Valley Tech spirit, the program was produced collaboratively by the Spanish, Visual Arts, Cosmetology, Culinary Arts, Construction Technology, and Painting and Design Technologies programs.

The fair displayed the talents of each program as Spanish students taught others the historical and cultural relevance of the holiday, while the Visual Arts program demonstrated the holiday’s traditional crafts. The Cosmetology students offered their expertise in face painting, and the Culinary Arts program made traditional Mexican foods. The Construction Technology students contributed to the event by building the centerpiece altar, and the Painting and Design Technologies students created a graveyard for the event.

“This project is all encompassing. It is truly an integrated effort between academic departments and vocational departments on a school-wide level,” said Rebecca Swasey, Director of Curriculum and Instruction at BVT. “This is considered another example of our District-wide best practices, in which our instructional staff created an authentic hands-on learning experience and opportunity for all students.”

The day-long event was highly successful bringing a multitude of compliments from students and staff. In response to the feedback, planning is already underway to continue the event in 2017.

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Senior Cosmetology student Kaelin Garrison of Mendon used her steady hand and artistic talent to paint a celebratory pattern on the face of freshman student Skylar Manyak of Douglas. 

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