The Day of the Dead may sound like something to avoid, but according to Isaac Newman-Gomez, principal at Ranchero Middle School, it’s actually a time for friends and families to come together in jubilant celebration.

Newman-Gomez said the holiday revolves around gathering together to pray for and remember loved ones who have passed away, which he believes is an important ritual to bring about healing and closure.

With that in mind, Newman-Gomez and his staff have planned their own Day of the Dead celebration by way of a 5K run. It will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday on Ranchero Middle School’s campus, 17607 Ranchero Road in Hesperia.

“The Day of the Dead is a big thing in Los Angeles where I grew up but I’ve noticed there aren’t many celebrations that go on in the High Desert,” said Newman-Gomez. “It’s such a positive holiday for celebrating the lives of those we’ve lost, as well as all the good things going on in our lives.

“We believe our 5K run is a perfect tie-in and are looking forward to bringing the community to celebrate the holiday in this unique way.”

Newman-Gomez said that along with honoring the deceased, the Day of the Dead 5K Run also aims to promote fitness among youngsters. His school is highly committed to fighting childhood obesity and spreading the message that exercise is not only important but also fun.

“We are open to doing whatever we can to promote fitness among our students,” said Newman-Gomez. “And we also want the whole community to get involved in our fitness movement.”

The 5K run does not require pre-registration, Newman-Gomez said. Medals will be awarded to participants in various age categories, including adults. The event also will feature face painting and information booths manned by various community groups.

“We will be giving away trophies for first-, second- and third-place winners,” said Newman-Gomez. “There will be categories for adult males and females over 18, as well as for males and females under 18.”

Those interested in being a part of the 5K run can register at or in person at Ranchero Middle School. Registration is $20 up to one day before the event and $25 on the day of the run.

For more information, call 760-948-0175.