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Students' spell conjures up Hollywood stars

Teachers from Parkside School stand with the cast of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald on stage Thursday.

CULLMAN COUNTY, Ala. (WBMA) - Two years ago, Parkside School teachers Jacy Douglas, Tracey Jones and Karen Moon had an idea. That idea was to create an even more welcoming environment for students to learn in. Their idea was to put a taste of Hogwarts in some of the classrooms. After the original upgrades got high marks from students, the magic of Hogwarts spread into the hallways.

"One thing you may notice out in our hallways is that we do not have Harry, Ron and Hermoine out in the hallway because we want our students to be sort of immersed and feel like they are the students at Hogwarts," teacher Jacy Douglas said.

Since the classrooms and hallways have had a spell casted on them, the results have been tremendous.

We have a higher classroom participation rate," teacher Tracey Jones said. "There are a lot more students reading. We have kids discussing books, helping each other. They are taking pride in the classrooms."

Thursday, to honor the teachers, the cast of the new film Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald paid a visit to the school. Students were treated to giveaways, games and more. Towards the end of the ceremony, the whole cast came on stage to address the students. Before meeting with students, the cast got to tour the classes and hallways, and said the work blew them away.

"To experience teachers like this who have put their hands in their pockets, given up their own time, and really thought about what they can do to make a difference...to engage and capture their students' imaginations and encourage them to dream and think, really work out what makes them want to learn is very, very special," actor Jude Law said.

"Inspiration never just runs one way, right?" actor Ezra Miller said. "This is going to power us through the next four weeks of our lives."

Warner Brothers also gave the school a check for $25,000, which principal Richard Orr said will be used to purchase new smartboards for the classrooms. For students and faculty, Thursday served as a day that will live on in the minds of Parkside School for years to come, but also served as an inspiration for others.

"If this little, bitty school that is 78 percent free and reduced lunch can do something amazing that makes the kids excited to be at school, then anybody can do it," teacher Tracey Jones said.



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