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Bringing Dumbledore’s Army to Silverdale
Olivia Sullivan has ice cream-stained copies of the Harry Potter books at home.
The Central Kitsap High School senior read each of the seven books in the much-loved fantasy series at least 10 times each. She didn’t have to think twice to join the Harry Potter club at her school.
“Harry Potter is my childhood,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s just really nice to be with other people who have the same obsession or insanity.”
The school’s student-run club is called Dumbledore’s Army and is named after an organization started by student wizards in the series. Seniors Rheanna Johnston and Stephanie Balk started the club earlier this school year. They revived a club that ended a few years ago after the seniors that organized it graduated. Johnston and Balk said the club is a way to bring students who share a love for Harry Potter together.
The club meets every Fridays to discuss the beloved boy-wizard series by British author J.K. Rowling or to participate in activities related to it. Last Friday, it was wizard’s chess — a life-size version of chess where club members acted as chess pieces and played the board game on a larger scale.
“We just want to keep our love of Harry Potter alive — and just have fun with it,” said Johnston, 18.
Because the final movie in the Harry Potter franchise was released last summer and the book series was made complete in July 2007, Johnston said she and Balk wanted a way to keep Harry Potter present in their lives even though there would be no new books or movies to look forward to. Many of the students in the club said they saw the last movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 2, at midnight when it was released.
“I just like the stories — the whole world J.K. Rowling created. We’re just bringing it out to Silverdale,” said Balk, 17.
The club’s activities have included taking part in tea leaf readings like the characters in the story perform in their divination class as well as dividing the club’s members into houses, just as new students at Hogwarts — the school of witchcraft and wizardry that Harry Potter attends — participate in. The club plans to recreate other classes from the books as best as they can such as a potions class, said Johnston.
The club also plans to have a Yule Ball, similar to the winter dance in the fourth book, and will hopefully fundraise money for charities through ticket sales, Johnston said. In addition, the group hopes to play — or recreate playing — quidditch, which is the ficticious sport involving throwing balls through rings while flying on broomsticks.
Most of the students in Dumbledore’s Army — ranging from grades 10 to 12 — said they like Harry Potter because they grew up reading the books and watching the movies. The series became a staple during their childhoods and they aren’t planning on out-growing it any time soon. At the club’s first meeting in September, at least 30 students joined in.
Sophomore Breanna Barrick said the fantasy world of Harry Potter is an escape from the real world. The book series’ protagonist, a teen wizard, has “normal” teenage struggles that they can also relate to, Barrick, 15, said.
For 17-year-old Geronimo Mirano, a senior in the club, it’s about being part of a group that can relate to him.
“I love Harry Potter,” he said. “All my Harry Potter references are understood here.”
Not only are some students making frequent references to the magical world, but others, like Sullivan, make connections between Harry Potter’s world and her every day life. Sullivan, who is secretary of the club, said she remembers that the U.S. Constitution contains seven articles because Voldemort — the story’s villain — split his soul into seven parts.
Although the students have other activities or sports they are involved in — for instance, Barrick dances ballet, tap and jazz and Jonhston fences and plays lacrosse — for one afternoon a week, their undivided attention is on Harry Potter.
Johnston and Balk said they hope other students will continue organizing and running the club next school year after the two of them graduate.
They don’t doubt it will be a problem.
“Harry Potter has been a part of our childhood and we’re completely loyal to it,” said junior Holly Chan.