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South San Antonio ISD Students Collaborate to Construct their First Altar at Muertos Fest

On the weekend of October 28, San Antonio hosted their 11th Annual Muertos Fest in celebration of a cultural holiday, Dia de Los Muertos. This two-day event encompassed a variety of activities and entertainment ranging from live music, ceremonial procession, and over 60 vendors that prepared cultural dishes that represent hispanic traditions. Additionally, Muertos Fest featured an Altar Exhibition that showcased personalized altars dedicated to honoring departed loved ones, with participation open to businesses, organizations, schools, and local communities.

As their first year participating in Muertos Fest, students from the South San Antonio High School's (SSAHS) Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Fine Arts Department collaborated to craft a multimedia-style altar that serves as a memorial to their past loved ones. Spearheaded by Guadalupe Torres, Chair of the Fine Arts Department and Theatre Arts Teacher at SSAHS, was the driving force behind creating the altar and described how it took a village to complete this project. 

“Our Art Teacher, Mr. Waters, created the altar shape, his student’s created a papier mâché bobcat head, and the art classes created different art for the altar,” Torres recounted. “The altar is a creation of love and hard work.” Torres also expressed that the student’s have been working diligently since the beginning of October to have their  three tier altar ready for the At Muertos Fest.

Painted in a vivid shade of yellow, the SSAHS students' altar featured a wooden canopy draped in colorful, Mexican banners. Each tier displayed hand-crafted picture frames displaying images of students from SSAHS and loved ones who have passed away. As a unique touch, student’s designed miniature personalized skeletons that enhanced their creativity to their altar. Aside from the altar, SSAHS students built a papier mâché bobcat head holding a torch to showcase their school pride. 

“We wanted to show our appreciation to our community and involve everyone in this beautiful project,” stated Torres. “This altar honors the lives of those who have passed while highlighting the rich traditions of Hispanic culture that thrive in San Antonio.”

This project not only demonstrated the importance of community outreach to SSAHS students, but it also facilitated teamwork and collaboration in a large-scale assignment. Torres summarizes their experience in building an altar in one simple, yet strong statement: SSAHS is about family and coming together to build a better tomorrow. 

Our district takes pride in being represented at Murtos Fest by South San Antonio High School and we can’t wait for what ideas are in store for next year’s Dias de Los Muertos celebration. SSAISD would also like to recognize Armstrong Elementary for representing our South San Community in the Muertos Fest by creating their one of a kind altar!