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The wizarding world

By Sarah L. Smith
Coastal Observer

Move aside, Harry Potter. Waccamaw’s wizards have honed their magical skills and are ready to take on “he who must not be named,” any day.

With wands and spell books in hand, 11 children, ages 6-12, brewed up potions, went on quests, made wizard hats and wrote spells during Waccamaw Higher Education Center’s magical wizard camp this week.

The teacher, Desma Barker of the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, said all it took was a little imagination.

The children said it was more about inspiration.

With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling’s famous boy wizard, as their role model, the children looked for ways to make their potions and spells unique.

“I want to make a magical spell to learn how to turn people pink,” Kelley Gruenberg, 11, said.

Alex Mills, 7, said he created spells to take people from the desert to the arctic. He also wrote a spell to create a three-headed dragon.

“It’s fun,” Kaitlyn Butz, 9, said.

On the first day of camp, the group decorated wands and picked their own wizard names.

Jessica Drake, 10, said her wizard name was Destiny Daydream. Her friend, Lawson Devers, said her’s as Ellie Earthdream.

On Tuesday, the group divided into houses, similar to the Hogwarts’ houses in the Harry Potter books.

Rather than group by their personalities, they chose to divide along gender lines: girls versus boys.

“The girls are the Pink Dragons, and the boys are the Bald Eagles,” Devers said.

For good behavior, the students earned snitches, sparkly little fuzz balls Barker added to a glass jar. If the jar was full by the end of the week, she said, they’d get a party.

Barker also surprised the children with a class mascot, Sir Albert Grecken McGilicutty, a distinguished toad.

Stuck in a jar with holes on the lid, Sir Albert watched with wide, unblinking eyes as the children poured cockroach juice, toughus potionus, dragon’s blood and other potent solutions into small vials they hung around their necks with plastic cord.

Ghost toes, crushed sleeping leaves, lekelin leaves, goblin’s belly-button crust and confundus roots were also popular potion ingredients.

Barker told her students she had a friend who specialized in wizardry. He provided the potions, but she didn’t know what they’d do if her students mixed them together.

When the boys asked her to taste their swamp water concoctions, she backed away.

“I don’t know if I can touch that,” she told them. “That’s gross.”

The boys giggled and went back to making their potions a little more nasty by adding more lekelin leaves and confundus roots.

The rest of the week was filled with more experiments, creating a dragon’s egg yolk, and letting potions sit in the sun to discover what was left.

The children also spent time hiding the opposing teams’ snitches, and then creating clues and maps to lead them to their lost treasure.

The best clue so far, Devers said, came from the Pink Dragon house. They told the Bald Eagles to go to the rapper’s teeth, which, Devers said, was a nearby grill.

With wands made of sticks and colored pipe cleaners in hand, the children traipsed around the higher education center, and outside in grassy areas near Waccamaw Intermediate School to hide and find snitches.

“The girls found more,” Devers bragged.

“If I could teach camp all year long, I would,” Barker said with a smile.


It is the first time Waccamaw High Education Center has hosted summer camps for children, said Gayle Britt, director of operations. They’ve been so popular this year, that she’s already planning next year’s offerings.

The camps, for ages 6-12, run Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and 1-5 p.m.

The upcoming schedule is:

  • June 21-25: a.m, it’s easy being green or scrapbooking; p.m., poetry or Spanish;
  • June 28 - July 2: a.m., photography or UP!; p.m., sugary chefs or coral reef commotion;
  • July 12-16: a.m., forensic science or computer starters; p.m., magical wizards or pirates;
  • July 19-23: a.m., it’s easy being green and hardware store music; p.m., the amazing human body or musical theater;
  • July 26-30: a.m., photography or pirates; p.m., forensic science lab or fantastic flower child. The cost for each session is $75.

Call Britt at 349-6564 for more information.

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