Professor Pen (Penelope) Clearwater raised her arms and smiled, “Welcome back to another year of Hogwarts. I have some special news for you, but I know some of you are hungry, so tuck in!”
Albus gazed around in astonishment as the Gryffindor table was suddenly laden with food. He took a slice of the nearby pie that looked appetising and ate it with zeal. His mother Ginny was a decent cook, but the house elves of Hogwarts easily surpassed her.
Shyer than his brother James, he sat there quietly nibbling on a chicken drumstick, watching Rose Weasley talk to another girl before a nearby pompous boy engaged him in conversation.
“Aren’t you Harry Potter’s son?”
Hesitantly Albus slowly said, “Yes…” unsure of how the other would react. At his words, the few first years at the Gryffindor table fell silent. Albus cringed; he hoped he hadn’t said the wrong thing. The prolonged silence made him think the very worst.
“But he’s a legend!” the girl who was talking to Rose finally blurted out excitedly. Albus exhaled silently, and told himself to calm down and relax. The rest of them agreed enthusiastically, and as Albus began to settle down and tell stories he’d heard since he could understand them, the dishes on the table began to empty.
As the dishes vanished, no doubt to be cleaned by the house elves, Professor Clearwater stood up again and spoke in a loud but kind ringing voice, “Now that you are comfortably fed, I have some news for you all. With the fascinating change in the way muggles are living, we will be implementing a new program based on muggle schools, and shall be introducing reports for the second and third years.”
Albus sighed in relief. He knew what reports were from the stories his father told him before he went to Hogwarts. “Thank goodness the first years don’t have them,” he thought, looking forward to the relaxing and enjoyable times ahead.
As Professor Clearwater saw the indignant looks on the second and third years, she continued, “The first years will need to settle in, and the fourth need to study for their OWLs without the stress of reports. This is why there will be no reports for those two years.”
Those who were muggleborn and had previously gone to a muggle school turned to their neighbours and furiously talked, describing them and their previous experience with them to their confused friends. One Ravenclaw girl bent her red head down and whispered to her friends, “it’s like a piece of paper with all your subjects and a grade for all of them, maybe even comments. Oh no…” she trailed off.
Within seconds the second and third years were looking up peeved, annoyed with how their peaceful year was going to be ruined.
Professor Clearwater’s husband, Percy stood up to continue the talk. The two made great heads of Hogwarts, Penelope’s clear open mind and cool and collected mood balanced well with Percy’s temper. Although both were still quite young (especially when compared to Dumbledore) they were both wise, and their previous experiences were more than equal to any from the past generations. “As you know, at Hogwarts we learn subjects like Transfiguration, Charms, Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Herbology, Muggle Studies, and countless others. At a recent investigation of the Hogwarts school curriculum we discovered that Muggles learnt things like Mathematics, English, Geography, History, Music, Art, and Sport, just to name a few. The school governors have decided we will be including extra activities for those interested.” He held up a hand before the students could begin whispering again.
“Just because it is something derived from muggles, I see no less reason why you should not be courageous and try something new. Although Hogwarts allows students to play Quidditch, there are some other students out there with many other talents. Sign up sheets for various different activities will be on the house points board for a week. A booklet describing the different clubs has already been issued and is waiting for you on your bed. It is getting late so have a good night and be well rested for the first day of lessons tomorrow!”
As he finished, gossip filled the Great Hall. The glittering stars above seemed to understand, it was almost like the upper heavens were having a conversation too. Albus stood up and went over to Rose. “What do you think?” he asked.
“Should be interesting! Going to sign up for anything?” she grinned back cheerfully.
“No idea yet, looking forward to Quidditch though, what about you?”
“Well I’ve never really heard about those things, how am I supposed to know? I’ll see after I’ve taken a look at the booklet I guess.” Rose gestured towards the moving crowd, and with that Albus followed the complicated directions of the Gryffindor prefects and entered the Gryffindor common room. It was everything his father had described and more. Yawning already, fatigued from the long train ride and early start, he found the glorious double poster bed that would be his for the next seven years and was soon fast asleep.