EDMOND, Okla. – Oklahoma middle school students transformed their school into Hogwarts Castle to help a classmate fighting a rare illness.
Seventh-grader Teague Niebrugge had a dream to go to Harry Potter World in Orlando, Florida. For Halloween, he dressed up as his favorite character, Harry Potter.
“He is obsessed with [Harry Potter],” said Deer Creek Middle School service-learner, Makenzie Robert. “He’s always trying to teach us about it.”
Teague is blind. He lost his vision at 5 years old.
However, his parents didn’t know until just a few months ago that Teague’s blindness was an early sign of a degenerative condition called Batten disease.
“One thing his doctor told us is each morning when we get up is to say and to believe that today is Teague’s is best day. Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow is not promised to anyone. So, we really believe that,” said Teague’s mom, Joey Niebrugge.
Halloween morning really did turn out to be Teague’s best day.
Deer Creek Middle School principal Kristy VanDorn greeted Teague at the door.
“Good morning, Teague. Happy Halloween. We have a special surprise for you. You’re going to be so surprised,” she said.
The Make A Wish Foundation recently agreed to grant Teague a wish, but Teague’s doctor would not allow Teague to travel to Orlando, Florida to fulfill his #1 wish, visiting Hogwarts.
“We love him so much we really wanted to bring it to him,” said Simonich.
So, his special needs class at Deer Creek Middle School spent the better part of a month planning the Halloween surprise. They all dressed up as Harry Potter characters and played Quidditch in the front lobby of the school.
The class transformed the media center in the Great Hall from Hogwarts Castle.
Every detail was specially designed just for Teague, including braille name tags, so he can know who’s who.
“He obviously can’t see everything, so we wanted to make everything super ‘textureful’ so he could really experience it,” Simonich said.
“We work on cherishing the moments and making memories that will last us a lifetime,” Teague’s mom said as she fought back tears.
Teague called the surprise fantastic.
It was fantastic and unexpected, especially in middle school where sometimes muggles forget about kindness and compassion; a perfect Hogwarts adventure for a Gryffindor wizard at heart.
Teague and his family hope to take a trip to the grand canyon early next year.
The Make A Wish Foundation has agreed to grant the wish.
Teague’s doctor approved the trip.