RANGELY I When the Preciados commit to something, they go all out. Like last Halloween, when mother Marisela and father Jose dressed up as Minnie and Mickey Mouse before taking their kids, 8-year-old Xavier and 6-year-old Jasmine, out trick-or-treating. Or this Halloween, when the whole family will dress up as the Flintstones.
Last Friday’s “Night at Hogwarts” fundraiser was no different. Marisela showed up at Parkview Elementary School—or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—as Hermione, Jose was a Muggle, Xavier clinched Harry Potter and Jasmine came as the Golden Snitch.
“It’s a night we all look forward to,” Marisela Preciado said. “It’s magical and such a fun idea for a fundraiser.”
The family fit right in with the approximately 300 other wizards-in-training, magical creatures and Muggles, who attended the second annual Harry Potter-themed event to raise money for teachers and classrooms. Attendance doubled compared to Hogwarts’ inaugural year, organizer Cheri Smith said, raising more than three times the income from last year—around $4,400.
Besides the community buzz about Hogwarts’ success last year, Smith believes other factors—from a longer timeframe to food options and more shopping in Diagon Alley— got people in the door and spending their Galleons.
Still, while she and co-organizer Vicki Douglas were elated at Hogwarts’ success, working closely with approximately 40 other staff and faculty was the highlight of their experience.
“We have fun together, and that’s the best part, I think,” Smith said. “The money’s nice, but the way (Hogwarts) pulls the staff together is huge. We laugh, we giggle, everyone’s exhausted. It’s just a lot of fun.”
From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand just how much work goes into the three-hour event. Faculty and staff gathered after last year’s fundraiser to determine what worked, what needed work and what to add. Over the winter and spring months, organizers and those committed to being involved again made preliminary preparations.
In August, plans firmed up as staff began work on their booth, game or class. Each Wednesday, people got together for more inclusive projects like wand- and poster-making.
Starting in October, the four Parkview wings were “sorted” into Hogwarts houses, with classes earning points for behavior, hall decorating and involvement. (At Monday morning’s school assembly, the first-graders, Slytherin House, clinched classroom trophies as this year’s house winners.)
And last Friday morning at 8 a.m., the group convened for a brief meeting before spending the day transforming their respective areas into some element of Hogwarts, from the Great Hall to a Quidditch pitch.
“I think it’s worth it,” said first-grade teacher Angelia Simpson, who ran a Potions class in which kids made “ghost bubbles” from dry ice. “I see parents at parent-teacher conferences or helping in the classroom, but it was nice to see them having fun with their kids and just socializing,” she said. “At the end of the day, the finished product is what we look forward to, what makes it all worth it.”
Now, with another year under her belt, Douglas is dividing up this year’s funds and looking ahead to next year. It’s unclear yet whether teachers will pool resources or use them individually.
Either way, a portion of the money will go back into recreating Hogwarts next year.
“We’re not to the point that we can’t do more,” Smith said. “At our debriefing, we were asking, ‘What are we doing next year to make it even better?’ Now we need input from the community. What do they want to see us bring in? It’s hard when you’re in the middle of it to see what would work better.”
Marisela Preciado has one idea.
“Rangely seriously needs a Quidditch team,” she said.