BATTLE RISING: Battle High students become witches, wizards in Dumbledore's Army

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 6:10 p.m. CDT; updated 11:30 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Battle High School students part of Dumbledore's Army, the school's "Harry Potter" club, played quidditch at the school Tuesday. The group hopes become an official team in the International Quidditch Association, the nonprofit that governs the sport.

COLUMBIA — A small group of students stayed past the final school bell Tuesday at Battle High School, but they weren't there for tutoring.

They were waiting for their chances to be witches and wizards.

The students were members of Dumbledore's Army, a Harry Potter club at the high school that meets to play a modified version of quidditch, the sport played by characters from the book series.

Rachel Tinsley, one of the science teachers at Battle High and the faculty member who sponsors the club, said her favorite aspect of the club is having contact with students outside of class.

"You get to meet kids who have a passion for this," she said.

The students gathered their brooms, bludgers, goal hoops and the quaffle and headed outside for quidditch practice.

Quidditch is a coed sport, combining elements of tag, dodgeball, rugby and the magical sport from the books. Players must keep a broom between their legs at all times. While beaters use bludgers to temporarily knock other players out of play, chasers attempt to score points by shooting the quaffle through one of the three goals at each end of the field. During this time, each team's seeker tries to catch the game-ending snitch — the magical flying ball, which is represented by a runner who doesn't play for either team.

Junior Harleigh Wacker, who led the practice, joined Dumbledore's Army as soon as she moved to Battle High in January. She has been playing quidditch since seventh grade.

"They elected me as team captain because I seemed to know the most about IQA rules," Wacker said.

IQA is the International Quidditch Association, a nonprofit that governs the sport of quidditch. Wacker has been teaching the team the official rules of the game in hopes of becoming an official IQA team.

"In sixth grade, I read them all in one week," Wacker said. "Whenever a Harry Potter brief reference comes up, no matter what school I've been to — and I've been to a lot of schools — everybody turns and looks at me. That pretty much describes how much of a Harry Potter fan I am."

Supervising editor is Elise Schmelzer.

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