Harry Potter fans to be put to the test in trivia-night fundraiser

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 | 9:25 p.m. CDT; updated 11:24 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The Columbia Kiwanis Club and the Hickman's Dumbledore's Army Club prepare for Harry Potter trivia night. The event is a fundraiser to help eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus.

COLUMBIA — The series may have ended, but fans of Harry Potter can relive the magic once again while raising money for an international cause.

The Columbia Kiwanis Club is hosting a Harry Potter Trivia Night at 7 p.m. Friday at Hickman High School.


The Columbia Kiwanis Club is hosting a variety of Harry Potter-themed events Friday evening at Hickman High School, 1104 N Providence Road.

4:30 to 6:30 p.m. — Galleon Games will include a variety of booths for people of all ages.

At the same time, attendees can visit the Hogwarts Owlery and see live owls brought to the event by the MU Raptor Rehabilitation Project. People can write notes to their favorite Potter characters that will then be delivered by owl.

7 p.m. — A trivia night will pit tables of eight against each other to find out who is the true expert of the wizarding world. Tables should check in by 6:45 p.m. at the latest.

More information about the event, including how to register, can be found at

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The trivia night is part of the Eliminate Project, a worldwide effort by UNICEF and Kiwanis International to raise $110 million toward eliminating maternal and neonatal tetanus in more than 100 million mothers worldwide.

The event costs $100 for a table of eight. The grand prize includes eight tickets for the Columbia Star Dinner Train.

The evening’s other activities include Galleon Games from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., which will allow attendees to throw gnomes, make owl jewelry, taste vomit-flavored jelly beans and more. Trivia-goers can also bid in a silent auction for all sorts of Harry Potter merchandise.

Although the event is for Muggles, magical delights such as a crystal ball, live owls from the MU Raptor Rehabilitation Project and more than 200 wands will be on hand to make everyone feel like they’ve boarded the Hogwarts Express.

A global effort

Maternal and neonatal tetanus kills thousands each year and is most prevalent in Africa and southeast Asia.

In 2008, roughly 59,000 newborns died from neonatal tetanus, according to data from the World Health Organization. That averages out to 161 children dying each day. Still, it is only a fraction of the annual death rate from the disease 20 years ago: 787,000.

Unlike diseases such as small pox and polio, neonatal tetanus cannot be eradicated completely but can be eliminated through the spread of vaccines and more sanitary birthing conditions. Elimination is defined as less than one case per 1,000 births in a country.

UNICEF and Kiwanis International would like to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2015.

The Eliminate Project began two years ago, and since then progress has been made to vaccinate pregnant women against the disease and reduce the death rate.

In 2008, 46 countries still carried the disease. As of February, only 34 countries had yet to eliminate it.

“Some problems are not solvable, so you’re not really inspired to fight the fight,” said Jennifer Roberts, the Columbia Kiwanis Club’s vice president. “But this problem is solvable."

For its part, the club is trying to raise $57,000 by April 2015. So far, 20 tables have been reserved for the trivia night and at least $3,000 has been donated by sponsors.

That’s $5,000 raised before expenses are taken out, a modest amount for the first year, Roberts said, but not a bad start. More money is expected from the Galleon Games and silent auction.

Administers of magic

Naomi Cupp, the Eliminate Project coordinator for the Columbia Kiwanis Club, said it costs $1.80 to vaccinate a woman against the disease. That includes a series of three vaccination shots that should last for 10 years for both her and any children she has.

“You can really calculate out how many lives you’re saving by raising this money,” Cupp said.

For each $100 table at the trivia night, that means 55 vaccinations.

Cupp said people in the U.S. don’t have to worry about tetanus, but in countries with less sanitary conditions and more restricted access to medicine, tetanus can be a major problem, so it is wonderful to be able to help in this way.

“This is, in my mind, such a beautiful way to help children, which certainly follows our mission at Kiwanis,” Cupp said.

Conjuring up the trivia night

Roberts came up with the idea after her daughter expressed interest in attending another trivia night and she realized that there aren’t many trivia night fundraisers geared toward children.

Roberts — a Harry Potter fan down to the owl-shaped cover on her cellphone — said she has had withdrawals since the final movie installment entered theaters last summer and wanted to cater to a community full of Potter fans with nothing to do.

She recruited the help of Hickman High School’s recently formed Harry Potter club, which is named Dumbledore’s Army, and the Hickman Key Club, to create a fundraiser full of witchcraft and wizardry. 

Volunteers have since worked long hours to advertise and prepare for this event.

Roberts’ backyard has transformed into a wizarding workshop. Volunteers from Dumbledore’s Army, the Key Club and Kiwanis are out at all hours of the day painting signs and making buttons, trying to transfigure the Hickman lobby into the Great Hall of Hogwarts.

The Kiwanis Club has advertised the event through radio interviews, a newspaper advertisement, signs placed around Columbia and talking up the event with friends and family.

Roberts even contacted the owner of Sparky’s Ice Cream, which helped promote the event by selling butterbeer-flavored ice cream all this past week. Workers describe it as a mix of root beer and butterscotch flavors.

The help of Dumbledore's Army

Dumbledore’s Army members are getting in on the fun by dressing up as their favorite characters.

Hickman student Haley Chapman will dress as one of the series’ antagonists Bellatrix Lestrange and sit in the Dunk-a-Death Eater booth.

The volunteers acknowledge that their efforts are not just recreational.

“It’s pretty awesome knowing that it’s going to help kids and their moms in other countries,” Dumbledore’s Army member Anna Remus Tamerius said. “It’s hard to do stuff like that just on your own.”

Recent Hickman graduate Kit Webster was president of the Hickman Key Club last year. He said his experiences in service such as this one have been rewarding.

“You get to have fun and do something good for somebody,” Webster said. “That’s a win-win.”

Hickman anatomy teacher Noelle Gilzow, faculty adviser for Dumbledore's Army, said helping to prevent children in other countries from becoming orphans, like Harry Potter was, is rewarding.

"It's great to take something that we like anyway and put it to good use," Gilzow said.

Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.

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