Above is a lovely rendition of a Quiditch game as draw by our very own Muri with some extra special 3D chalk we received as a gift. She is a bit of a latecomer to the Harry craze, it seems to have just taken off at her school (she is in 7th grade here, but it´s a pretty innocent private parochial school 7th grade so far).
This is a really big year scholastically speaking for her. Elementary school ends in 7th grade here, (8th grade is part of high school, like some places in the States) and she has had to decide where to go next. While her school offers a high school as well, she has been there since kindergarten and everyone involved feels it´s time for a change.
Here in Buenos Aires there are three top-tier public school that offer competitive entrance exams in order to gain a place. One must prepare for these exams by taking a year-long prep course that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:30 am (it´s only till 12:45 and not the end of the world.) But it is a really big rite of passage, for many kids it´s the first time they start to take their studies seriously and also find themselves competing with their peers. There are about 400 spots and 1200 applicants at each school, more or less. No participation points or extra credit here. Those with test scores in that first 30% get a spot and everyone else has to come up with an alternative plan.
As scary and rigorous as this sounds, Muri is a pretty smart cookie and chances are really good she will get in. She is working hard (and often hardly working) on the weekends, asking her dad for help, especially with math (oh the dreaded days of Intro to Algebra and Geometry). Tomorrow she has her first mid-term exam, in Language Skills (en español, obviously) and she stayed home from school today to spend the day studying (which at this stage MIGHT be called cramming or just being very prepared.)
No matter what happens, the entire experience is an interesting way to get young people really vested in their education and their future. And if it means a spot at a great (and free) high school, even better.