A new tradition: Foothill Tech’s second annual Día de Los Muertos celebration represents Latinx culture and community


Kami Kada

Profe Ortiz and Mrs. Eulau present the Dia De Los Muertos celebration to the school.

Caroline Hubner, Reporter

Following the Halloween holiday and Ventura Unified School District’s (Ventura Unified) fall break, students at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) and the Be Heard club hosted a colorfully diverse Día de Los Muertos celebration to honor the culture of the local Latinx community. 

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 2, 2021, the event included a variety of fun activities such as dancing competitions, fiesta music and Loteria games. The club also announced that the event would offer free admission with snacks, refreshments and gifts available for purchase to allow for more community involvement and participation.

“It helps Hispanic people feel connected to and represented in the school while also teaching other students about Mexican culture.”

— Vanessa Rosales '22

The quad was lively with colorful decorations and excitement as students, parents and faculty gathered to celebrate the significant Mexican holiday focused on commemorating loved ones who have passed into the afterlife. Additionally, families were encouraged to bring photos and items of deceased family members as offerings for the large ofrenda located at the front of the stage.

The Be Heard club hosted their first Día de Los Muertos celebration in November of 2019, and while they planned to make the event an annual occurrence, the COVID-19 shutdowns delayed their plan for 2020. Be Heard club co-president Vanessa Rosales ‘22 added that, “because of the pandemic, we had to basically create this event from scratch, but hopefully members will have more to build off of in the future.” 

The Latinx community makes up a large portion of Ventura County’s overall population and Foothill Tech’s student body, so the Be Heard club was created by students dedicated to representing minority groups on campus. 

“We want to create spaces for other cultures and students so they feel more at home. It’s important to showcase holidays like Día de Los Muertos because of our local demographic,” explains Alberto “Profe” Ortiz, one of the three Spanish teachers at Foothill Tech. 

“This type of representation is fabulous!”

— Angelina Gray Reyes '22

Traditional Latinx culture was emphasized by the presence of skulls, candles, attire, cempasuchil (marigolds) and Mexican flags adorning the surrounding area. Families of all ethnicities and sizes could be spotted roaming throughout the quad prior to the opening speech given by Rosales and Profe Ortiz. Guests also had the opportunity to participate in a Caballo Dorado dancing competition, and the first-place winner was awarded a $50 gift card to Aloha Steakhouse. 

The positive impact of the Day of the Dead festivities on cultural representation in the Foothill Tech community did not go unnoticed. “I would definitely like to see more events like this one!” exclaimed Mikela Clavaugh ‘25. 

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