Regis celebrates Dia de los Muertos with local high school students

Kennedy High School senior Guadalupe Ramirez was inspired by the life of singer Jenni Rivera, who was known for her music in the genres of Banda, Mariachi and Norteño. So, on Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, Ramirez and her class partner showcased an ofrenda, or altar, in her honor, complete with photos of the singer, candles and red flowers.

“The red represents how bright she was. To us, it represented how inspirational she was to a lot of women,” Ramirez said. “It was really interesting to get to know more about her and get to show her off within our culture and be able to express our culture.”

From artists to actors and from singers to authors, Regis University’s Main Hall and various spots on campus were lined with ofrendas celebrating the memory of iconic figures in honor of Dia de los Muertos.

Under the leadership of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Excellence, the Regis College Language Department, Regis University students, faculty and staff, the Northwest Denver Campus welcomed more than 150 students from Denver Public Schools to showcase ofrendas they created in honor of Dia de los Muertos. Regis students led the way as the campus hosted this day of celebration and remembrance, which included displays of ofrendas on campus, a showing of Coco, and Mass, offered both in Spanish and English. On Dia de los Muertos, the Indigenous peoples of Mexico celebrate the lives of departed family members and welcome their return. Read more about the holiday.

Eva Marquez, a teacher at North High School, said the event gives her students the opportunity to showcase their research, crafting and presentation skills. As part of the project, the students were required to research an iconic figure, create an altar in their honor and speak about their significance. 

“This is a big cultural party,” Marquez said. “They are happy and excited to do it.”

Abraham Lincoln High School teacher Elena Calvo said the high school students worked on the ofrendas as part of a class research assignment. For Calvo, the assignment is a way to honor the heritage of many of her students. She said students could choose to honor a famous figure or an ancestor for the project.

“This is an event that we do every year to celebrate and honor our students’ culture,” Calvo said. 

Kennedy High School senior Kevin Tique said his altar honored Ricardo González Gutiérrez, a singer, TV host and actor best known as Cepillín, a clown. For Tique, Cepillín was a favorite childhood character. His altar included candles, bread and a red hat, similar to the one Cepillín was known for. 

“Throughout my childhood, I looked up to him,” Tique said. “He was everyone’s childhood favorite. He’s inspirational because he was always happy. That’s what I liked about him.”

View more photos from this day of remembrance and celebration.


Kennedy High School senior Kevin Tique's ofrenda, center, honors the life of one of his favorite childhood entertainers, Cepillín.