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RANGELY | At Rangely’s Parkview Elementary School the annual fall Harry Potter-themed fundraiser has quickly become both a tradition and a community favorite. With the butterbeer brewing and the Sorting Hat ready to work, this year’s “A Night at Hogwarts” is destined to be another success.
On Friday, Oct. 27 muggles and magical creatures alike will gather at the elementary school from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Families will be sorted into Hogwarts houses as they enter the transformed school where they will be able to experience the unique treats at Honeydukes Sweet Shop, check out the Owlery and Dragon’s Lair and spend some galleons in Diagon Alley. According to inside sources, visitors will be sure to want to experience the Forest of Creatures exhibit where a new member of the slithering variety will be on display.
The Hogwarts entry fee is $10 per family or $3 per individual and can be purchased ahead of time at the school. Galleons are also available and will be the currency accepted for various treasures and treats. This year galleons will not be refundable for U.S. currency, therefore attendees should be prepared to only purchase what they will likely use.
Five years ago A Night at Hogwarts was introduced at the elementary school as a way for staff to raise additional classroom funds for teachers. But for organizer and Parkview Secretary Cheri Smith the magical night is really about more than that. “We also wanted a community event that would bring families together in our school. We achieved that, but in the process have learned that it is also a great team-building event for our staff. We transform Parkview into the School of Hogwarts in one day and this requires staff members to work very hard together and the amount of laughing that is heard in that one day, makes all the hard work worthwhile,” she said.
In addition to the fun times for community and staff, the event brings in some serious cash for teachers. According to Smith, last year Hogwarts raised more than $6,000. The funds go directly to the classrooms of participating teachers who purchase a wide variety of items. “Teachers are able to use their share for anything they choose for their classroom. Some buy items for their treasure boxes, some use it for class party items (like popsicles), some use it to buy something like a beanbag chair for their room, some buy classroom magazine subscriptions. The wonderful part about it is that they can buy whatever they choose and it doesn’t come from their own pocket. The Education Market Association reported in Time magazine that the average amount a teacher spends on their classroom of their own money is over $500, so we hope this helps out our teachers a little,” said Smith.
This year Smith anticipates as many as 20 staff members will participate in the fundraiser. However, not all of them will receive funds. “Some of us, like Mike (Kruger, Parkview principal) and I participate, but we don’t take any of the money earned, so it can go back to the teachers,” she said.
Smith and the staff at Parkview hope that fans of the fun and magic found in Harry Potter will gather on Friday, not just to experience the whimsical joy, but to help support the classroom needs of local teachers.