Students clean up historic cemetery and install signage

A group of students from Bob Geiser’s sixth, seventh and eighth grade history classes visited the historic Mexican Cemetery located on U.S. Highway 310 west of Lovell last week and made improvements while they were there.

Eighth grade student Sierra Montanez called upon her classmates at Lovell Middle School to help clean up the historic Mexican Cemetery located on U.S. Highway 310 west of Lovell last week.

The students made and installed a sign marking the historical site and spent part of an afternoon clearing debris and weeds from the old gravesites and adjacent areas. The sign is decorated with the colors and national symbol of Mexico.

The idea to take on the project came from eighth-grade student Sierra Montanez, who heard about the old cemetery from her father Angel Montanez. A few gravestones at the site bear the name of her family and the site is the burial place of some of her family’s ancestors.

The old cemetery is believed to be a resting place for agricultural workers from a bygone era when many Mexican nationals came to the area looking for agricultural work. The need for agricultural workers has diminished over time due to modern agricultural methods that require less labor. As a result, some of the people buried in the cemetery no longer have relatives in the area.

The new signage is bold and designed to help the public to find the site, which, without signage, has been hidden in plain view for many years. Montanez hopes that marking the site will encourage others to remember and respect those buried there. She and her family have also placed barrels painted with the colors of Mexico and a cross marking the spot, which can easily be seen from the highway now because of the improvements.

By Patti Carpenter