When the students of Parkside School in Baileyton, Alabama, gathered in the gymnasium to celebrate their annual Harry Potter Day, the last thing they expected was for Newt Scamander to walk through the door.
On November 1, representatives from Warner Bros. and The Today Show arrived at Parkside to participate in Wizarding World Day. This included games, prizes, and, as a surprise to the kids, a visit from the cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Eddie Redmayne (Newt Scamander), Jude Law (Albus Dumbledore), Ezra Miller (Credence Barebones), Zoë Kravitz (Leta Lestrange), and Callum Turner (Theseus Scamander) made the trek to the school as the first stop on their pre-premiere world tour.
And while there was no magic by Wizarding World definitions, there were plenty of smiles and lots of laughter to be seen and heard.
The school was chosen after going viral for its elaborate, home-made Harry Potter decorations that adorn four classrooms — one for each Hogwarts house. The three teachers responsible, Jacy Douglas, Tracey Jones, and Karen Moon, saw that their students connected to J.K. Rowling's world and, in an attempt to engage their kids more fully, redesigned their classrooms and some of their curriculum around the series. Since doing so, the school has seen a marked improvement in attendance and participation.
In addition to a fun-filled day playing games with some of the world’s biggest stars, the school received a $25,000 check courtesy of Warner Bros., which the principal, Richard Orr, says will be going straight to installing smartboards in classrooms.
Watch our video below, in which you'll get to meet some of the educators responsible for putting this amazing day together, hear from the visiting cast, and hear the overwhelming screams of excited children.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald premieres in theaters on November 16.