By Hailey Potter
My first visit to Hogwarts renewed my interest in HOL. Although I’ve been on HOL for 10 years now and had a short few months of activity as a member of the infamous Toffee Tiger den, it was that trip that truly brought me here. When I came back, it was in lieu of a newly sparked obsession with Harry Potter thanks to my trip to Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. I got involved with my den, the newly born Mighty Manticores, and soon my den leader Jinxy Jo sent me a PM suggesting that I go for junior prefect.
It’s been three years since I had been to Hogwarts. I can keep up with it because of HOL… I came back and was junior prefect the first year, prefect the second, Head Girl this year, the third. It means something entirely different this time as I visited Hogwarts. The story’s not really about Harry and his friends and their journey anymore. It’s about the friendships I’ve made for a lifetime all over the world. It’s about house pride and my love for my house. It’s about friends and acquaintances I’ve made from other houses. It’s about learning leadership skills and how to interact and accept people from other cultures and countries across the world. It’s about learning about other cultures and other countries’ histories from people I care about, which is one of my favorite things about being here. It’s about riding the ride and coming face to face with dementors (AKA my biggest fear... the first time I saw them I screamed bloody murder) and acromantulas and the knobby branches of the Whomping Willow and, despite my immense fear of inside rides, getting through it because I can repeat over and over to myself, “Hailey, you can do this, you’re a Gryffindor, and you’re brave. You can make it through.” And I did; one of the only rides I rode with my eyes open despite the fear.
Well, this is a surprise. I meant to write about eating at The Three Broomsticks, riding dragons through the air, and exploring Hogwarts. Instead it turned out to be a love letter to HOL.
The bottom line is this: I’ve been inside that version of Hogwarts three times… and every single time I’ve seen something different. The same applies to HOL. There is something different to love about this place every single time one visits. I think sometimes we get lost in the inner and outer house competition and promotions and drama and we lose that a little. But we’re a family here; whether dysfunctional or otherwise. And I wouldn’t trade any of it - the quirks, the late night 3-AM IRC talks, any of it - for the world. And I thank you all for making HOL such a wonderful place to come to. I hope to spend many years learning more from each of you.
What is your HOL story? Let us know, and tell us in the next issue! Send your submissions into Hailey Potter via PM, either on Gryffindor of HOL. Yours might be published in the next Paw Print!