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Jefferson Celebrates Day of the Dead

Fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School were transported South of the border Thursday as they celebrated The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a major holiday in Mexico. Hispanic volunteers from Pepperidge Farm came to the school on Thursday morning to teach the students about this festive day when people remember family and friends who have passed away.

"There's a perception that the holiday is something scary," says Brenda Castaneda, president of a Hispanic alliance at Pepperidge Farm. "We want to show the kids how it is really celebrated in Mexico -- with parades, face painting, food and flowers at cemeteries of loved ones."

As part of the event, 12 volunteers organized a mask-making station and an educational lesson explaining the history and tradition around the holiday. The activity ended with a parade in the hallway with Mexican music playing. Castaneda, an Assistant Marketing Manager at Pepperidge Farm, says the group chose Jefferson because it has a large Hispanic population. "We want to reintroduce part of our culture to the kids and want them to be proud of it," she says.

For Javier Lopez, a fifth grader, the Day of the Dead celebration felt familiar. "It really feels like I'm in Mexico with my family."

Pepperidge Farm is also partnering with Jefferson on a year-long program addressing the importance of good nutrition and reducing childhood obesity.

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