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Sandy Journal

Silver Mesa transforms into Hogwarts as reading comes alive

May 30, 2022 05:09PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

For one night only, Silver Mesa Elementary teachers were OK to let students make objects fly.

The charm, wingardium leviosa, was one of many spells students could try with wands they created that night at the school’s Harry Potter-themed literacy night.  

The hallways and classrooms were jammed as families came to try their hand learning about potions, magical creatures, defense against the dark arts, transfiguration, divination, wizards’ duel and many others, all, of course, focusing around the works of J.K. Rowling.

“It’s just so fun to be back in person and to see so many happy people here and taking part in it,” Principal Julie Fielding said. “We didn’t have any parent volunteers helping last year and with new families, some of our parents haven’t even seen the inside of our building.”

In the kiva, families learned about taking care of magical creatures such as the red-footed tortoise or snapping turtle or knowing when the hairs stand up on the spiders, “it’s a bad day for all of us,” according to the Scales and Tails presenter.

Second-grader Aria Nelson opted to paint her wand with her favorite colors of dark pink, gold, teal and green after that time.

“I think it looks nice, but I want to use it to make the snapping turtle disappear,” she said. “Then, I can use it to scare my sisters with it.”

Fourth-grader Blake Butler loved the magical creature presentation, said his mother, Ashleigh.

“The kids loved it and they loved this night with all the activities,” she said. “They’ve really done a lot of extra reading this week because they’re sorted into houses and when they turn in the minutes, the house with the most minutes gets a prize.”

Parents Libby and Nate Grigg brought their kids, Charlie, Thomas and Dottie to take part in the activities, including visiting Honeydukes (a wizarding sweet shop) and sampling butter beer.

“All our kids are huge readers, and they know Harry Potter, so this has been so much fun,” Libby Grigg said. “We’re learning Parseltongue (snake language) now, but it’s been amazing to see the school transform. Literally, it’s a huge undertaking for the decorations alone.”

She also said it was a great opportunity to see her kids’ classrooms since they were new to the school last year.

The Harry Potter theme, first introduced by parent volunteer Mary Ann Curtis in 2017, has been built upon at each literacy night as now families and presenters often wear robes, hats and scarves of house colors and wanted posters of faculty and staff are posted in the hallways. There were even opportunities to learn the magic of green screen newscasts, learn about photography and get a picture with Dumbledore or try a writing activity with invisible ink.

Terra Hutchings dressed up in her cloak to conduct a station in the divination room. She volunteered for the love and passion of reading.

“I feel like books can guide our students,” she said. “Books are the great equalizer for any person of any ability for them to relate to or escape into the world they read. Reading gives students an opportunity to gain an understanding and appreciation for personal life experiences and can help enlighten and give us perspective. This is a way for students to immerse into that world of reading.”