Emilee Edwards and Brooke Bennett at a Harry Potter-themed table during last week’s Harry Potter Week at Unicoi County High School. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by RIchard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

During the week of Oct. 29 through Nov. 2, the Unicoi County High School Library transformed into Hogwarts, the School of Wizardry in the Harry Potter universe.

Normally the library was reserved for Muggles and other non-wizards, but last week only wizards were allowed as the school and the UCHS Book Club held their 3rd annual Harry Potter Week. This annual event, which included several games and activities, came about shortly after the release of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

“I had a group of students that was really excited about the film and said we should have a Harry Potter Week event,” librarian Karla Keesecker told The Erwin Record.

The events that ran all week long included Wand Making, Activity Table, Craft Table, Escape Rooms, Horcrux Hunt, O.W.L. (based on the O.W.L. test in the Harry Potter Universe) Trivia Tournament, Harry Potter Games, Photo Booth, Face Painting, Bake Sale, Harry Potter Store and Potions Class.

The events took place during Success Period and after school. The students competed and were grouped into houses. The houses were Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin – just like in the books and films. The students had their houses sorted by completing an online questionnaire. Once the houses were divided, the teams worked on getting house points. House points were earned during the afterschool activities. Students received a house ticket upon completing tasks. These tickets were used to count towards house points

The activity table included the game “Would You Rather?”, crossword puzzles, word searches, puzzles and coloring book pages. These activities were worth five house points after school.

At the Wand Making table, all the materials and supplies to make your own wand were provided.  Each wizard gained 10 house points for this event.

The craft table allowed each student to make their own owl or Harry Potter ornament. Book owls were free to make. The charge to make the ornaments was $1.

The O.W.L. Trivia Tournament took place all week during success period and Oct. 29, after school in teacher Caitlyn McKinney’s room. Each student that entered the tournament received 10 house points after school. The winning student received 50 house points after school. 

Participants played a game of corn hole on specially made Harry Potter themed boards. The students then moved to the Ministry of Magic Memo game played with paper airplanes. The corn hole boards were raffled off at the end of the week.   

Photo booth props were available for students to take pictures with. Students that took a photo at the photo booth and posted it on social media received five house points after school. 

Teacher Chad Roller created a challenging set of riddles for the Horcrux Hunt. Roller offered daily prizes to the individual or team that solved the riddle. Daily winners were entered to win a grand prize at the end of the week. The Horcrux Hunt winner was Sabrina Todd.

There were two escape rooms available to challenge the students.  This event was also a great way to rack up on some house points. The escape rooms were worth 10 house points for participating and 15 house points for winning after school.

Students received 10 house points for dressing up. The costume contest winner was Toby Tipton.

Face painting was available every day during success period and after school. This event was worth five house points after school.

Potions class was an exciting event for the participants. Potions class with Professor Dilys Thickey, a.k.a. Teacher Diana Tucker, was held in room 2041 daily.

“This is a great way to get the students to read and understand labs,” Tucker told The Erwin Record.

The class made Magic Mud, Wormwood-Comes-to-Life, Liquid Enemies, Exploding Filibusters, Dancing Unicorn Milk, Exploding Elixir, Fleeing Spiders and Mandrake Restorative Draught Potions. Other more advanced potions included Felix Felicis, Drought of Peace, Skele-Gro, Veritaserum, Polyjuice, and Wolfsbane. Participating in these potions classes gained the students 10 house points after school. 

Honeydukes Bake Sale was open every day during success period to those students who had registered for activities. Great baked goods were sold such as butterbeer, chocolate frogs, chocolate wizard wands, cockroach clusters, exploding bonbons and more.

The Harry Potter Store was open every day. Items included, vinyl decals, Christmas ornaments, and tote bags.

The winning house was Ravenclaw with 350 points. Second place was Slytherin with 310 points. Coming in third was Hufflepuff with 225 points. And last, but not least, Gryffindor finished with 205 points.

The UCHS Book Club is always looking for new members. Most of the members share in the love of reading.

“I truly love reading,” said UCHS Book Club member Shelby Miller.

Students interested in joining the book club should see Keesecker in the library. The UCHS Book Club meets usually around every three weeks, according to Keesecker. Harry Potter Week isn’t the only event that the book club participates in.

“Our book club actually takes a trip yearly to the Southeastern Young Adult Book Festival in Murfreesboro every March,” Keesecker said.