I was a nerd, a geek, a long-legged, wide-smiling munchkin. I had glasses (which I thought were very cute). I loved to read, and I had a very active imagination. All of these characteristics meshed very well with my eccentric fourth grade teacher Ms. Ann Alokolaro. Now, to set the scene, I was in a private catholic school, and she was a free spirit compared to the very strict school environment and personally, a breath of fresh air. She was the first teacher who allowed us to meditate, the first to take us out of the classroom environment to learn. But what I am most thankful for is her introducing me to Harry Potter, the boy who lived. In the first book, The Philosopher’s Stone (later to be named the Sorcerer’s stone), Harry turned the same age I was about to turn that year, 11, and I was automatically intrigued. I couldn’t relate to the tragedy Harry had gone through but I connected with his perseverance. What makes us different gives us strength. From that moment to this day, The Harry Potter series is my favorite to read and the movies are my favorite to watch.
Thank You J.K. Rowling for bringing this character to life 20 years ago who has touched my heart and inspired me in so many ways. Thank you Ms. Alokolaro for being my teacher and so much of an inspiration that even now, 15 years later; I still see your smile, your curly hair, and your animation and enthusiasm as you read to us. You are a gem. Harry Potter changed my life. I have not seen you since that year but if you ever come across this post, thank you so much! I still adore you after all these years!
The last book was published my freshman year in college and it was bittersweet and devastating. That truly marked the end of my childhood and I will carry the series with me always. Should I ever have children who thirst for imagination through reading, I won’t hesitate to introduce them to Harry, Hermoine, Ron and all of the rest of the characters. No matter what your belief or faith, EVERYONE can connect with overcoming evil with love, friends, strength, and plain ole fun!
Forever and always #TeamGryffindor