The school was based on a philosophy that believed that children learn best when working together on a project. Desmond's class had chosen to investigate which animals lived in the plains and which lived in the jungle. All of the traditional academic subjects were tied into this project. Above and beyond this format of learning, Des had several opportunities to learn and be a part of traditional Oaxacan culture. For example, one day we went to see him perform as a "zanahoria" (carrot) in a school play. In that same performance, he had to sing the Mexican anthem along with his Mexican classmates.
For the days leading up to Dia de Muertos, his school organized a comparsa (similar to a 2nd line parade you would see in New Orleans) and a lunch for family. The morning of, we all donned costumes and walked down to the school. We followed his classmates along behind a Mexican band playing traditional Mexican Day of the Dead music. We walked for about 2 miles around our neighborhood and then back to the school.