Wrote this with the help of some friends after I turned in an official “Around Berry” article for the Berry College website.
The first year students have just arrived at Hogwarts’ Berry Campus and already are beginning the education of the head, heart, hands and wands. After their second week of studies, the first years awoke bright and early to the screeching their owls on the morn of 8 September. More than seven hundred students on the Berry College Branch of Hogwarts, with their professors, set out in the college’s annual First-Year Service Day of Magicfulness.
After filling up on a breakfast of porridge and tea, the students took their brooms and flew out to over thirty different locations throughout Rome and Floyd County Forest of Magic. The heads of the Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin and Ravenclaw houses accompanied the students, along with their respective prefects, as our new witches and wizard made a big impact in the local area.
“First-Year Service Day is always magical because all of the first year students join together to serve the wizarding and Muggle communities,” said Prefect Casey Cox. “Though it’s alarming to release so many untrained witches and wizards at once, the end result is generally always good. Everyone is so excited to help out, and whenever a mistaken spell goes haywire or someone falls off a broom, it’s almost always because the students just can’t contain their enthusiasm. It’s great because all who are involved are impacted by it, normally in a positive way.”
First year Hufflepuff Donovan Smith helped spruce up the Forbidden Forest with the rest of his Hufflepuff class. (Most of whom have returned with many interesting finds.)
“It was a good, if terrifying, experience,” Smith said. “Definitely a learning experience. Very hands on learning, if I might say so. I really got close to my house, especially when we had to work together to fend off the Acromantula. It was great to give back, though I’m not sure who we were giving back to.”
In addition to providing approximately two thousand hours of voluntary work in the community and forest, this day was an opportunity for new students to get to know each other better by working side-by-side in often life-threatening circumstances. It is an appropriate way to begin their education of the head, heart, hands and wands.
“First-Year Service Day of Magicfulness introduces our new witches and wizards to their community—and the dangers therein—and to the culture of service that has existed at Hogwarts’ Berry Campus from the beginning,” said Katherine Powell, Professor of the Office of First-Year Experience of Magic. “Berry’s motto, ‘Not to be ministered magically unto but to minister with magic,’ is something we want our new wizards and witches to embrace right at the beginning of their courses.”
Happily only four students were lost in this First-Year Service Day of Magicfulness (due to an unfortunate Hippogriff altercation). This is a decrease in previous years’ mortality rates, and one that professors are inclined to look at as a positive sign of the talent introduced in this year’s class.
“I believe we have some first-rate first year students, judging by the way this First-Year Service Day of Magicfulness went,” said previous headmaster Dumbledore’s portrait. “Good luck!”