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Proviso Township High School District 209 is hosting its first annual Día de los Muertos celebration on Oct. 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Proviso Math and Science Academy (PMSA), 8601 Roosevelt Rd. in Forest Park. The event is open to the entire Proviso Township community.

Día de los Muertos, “Day of the Dead” in English, is celebrated in some areas of Latin America, particularly Mexico and Central America, and in the United States and focuses on remembering and honoring friends and family who have passed away.

According to Cynthia Moreno, director of community outreach and public relations for District 209, the event stemmed from conversations she had with a PMSA Spanish teacher, Superintendent Jesse Rodriguez and board member Rodney Alexander.

“Each school celebrates Día de los Muertos in its own way. I thought it would be a great idea to remember our loved ones together as one,” said Moreno.

Moreno added that the district-wide event has several goals, including promoting multicultarism, encouraging student pride in their heritage, fostering inclusion, and remembering and celebrating loved ones who have died.

Art students from all three schools, Proviso East, Proviso West and PMSA, are creating art to decorate the community altar and the PMSA cafeteria, where the event will be held.

Food and drink will be available, including Mexican pastries, hot chocolate and coffee as well as an elote bar. Participants can help make a community altar and are invited to bring mementos of loved ones. Students will perform authentic dances, face painting will be available, and guests are invited to tour a student art exhibit.

In a statement, Alexander expressed his excitement regarding the upcoming event and its significance to the students and community.

“I firmly believe in culturally relevant education and its importance in supporting our students. Through the acknowledgement and celebration of cultural traditions we teach our students that they matter and are valued.”

More information about the event is available online at bit.ly/2JbrNuK.