Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus. “Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon.” We first heard these words twenty-one years ago when the world was introduced to a world we never thought existed. A world full of friendship, challenges, adventures, and magic.

Harry Potter gave us characters we could learn from, growth with, identify with, and depend on. JK Rowling created something so special that it has crossed generations. The Harry Potter series were the first books to suspend our belief that magic doesn’t exist. Her books taught us that magic lives in each of us, and we can conquer each and everything that comes our way.

Through the years we watched as Harry and his friends grew from young pre-teens trying to navigate a world that was so different than we knew, to teens who had to deal with the changes of being human, but also fighting a force bent on tearing them apart, to adulthood, where they began teaching their own children that, no matter what, you always do the right thing.

As we watched them grow into who they were to become, we grew with them. We saw their friendships be tested, we saw them struggle to understand the things that were happening to them. We saw the struggles they were going through and the monsters they had to face. We watched as they loved and lost people they cared about. We saw them mature and learn to accept that not everyone is as they seem.

Harry Potter wasn’t just a fantasy story that we picked up to read before bed. It was a story that changed how we lived our lives. It transported us to a purely majestic place that we never dreamed was possible.

The lessons that Harry Potter and his friends taught us are innumerable. Sirius Black and Albus Dumbledore taught us the most powerful lessons of all… “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” ― Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.” ― Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Maybe you are brave, daring, and believe in chivalry, like the scarlet and gold House Gryffindor. Perhaps, you are loyal, patient and think hard work is important, like our yellow and black Hufflepuff friends. Or, you re witty, intelligent, and knowledgeable; like those blue and bronze Ravenclaws. But you could be ambitious, resourceful, and a little cunning; like the green and silver serpents of Slytherin. Wherever you’re sorted, whichever house is in your heart, or which one speaks to you, they all represent the goodness that is Hogwarts. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

No matter how old we become, how far we go, or how much we change, remember this; Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.