Eleven years after its founding the KentHogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is still going strong, attracting 65 students to the three-day session held last weekend at the historic Marvin Kent Homestead.
KentHogwarts is a program for children presented each winter and summer by the that teaches children valuable life lessons about peace, courage and tolerance through the magic of the Harry Potter world.
Back in July 2001, "school" founder Rebecca Haines (aka: Dazzleswift) played off the popularity of J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter books and movies as an inspiration for creating the group with a focus on inter-faith activities.
"We teach defense against the dark arts of hatred, poverty and abuse by using the magic of love, peace, faith and hope," Haines said.
Hogwarts is the name of the school that Harry Potter attends. Those attending the Kent version of the school are area children ages five through 12.
Last summer Haines, a Kent resident, turned the school's leadership over to fellow UU church member Joe Kumuerle of Cuyahoga Falls.
"We are full to capacity every time," Kumuerle said. "The kids, teens and adults work admirably together to create a fun atmosphere. We could easily double our numbers if we had the space."
Music, reading, theater and even physical education in the form of games of Quidditch are taught. Local amateurs and professionals are the professors of subjects like potions, charms, chocolate, divination and astronomy.
Brad Bolton (aka: Professor Talon), who took the photos accompanying this story, said last weekend's Hogwarts session was run by 10 Prefects (ages 13-16), more than 10 Professors (ages 16 and up) and five Kitchen Witches who served lunch to the 65 students each day.
In its early years, the school was in session at the UU church, decorated to resemble the "real" Hogwarts. Now, Bolton said, "We are lucky to be able to rent the Masonic Hall, which is a very Hogwarts-looking place."
Click this link to see more of Brad Bolton's photos from the winter 2012 session of the KentHogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.