The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

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The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

The Student-Run Newspaper of Townsend Harris High School at Queens College

The Classic

Over three hundred students spend all night in school at the Witching Hour Read-a-thon

Students+at+the+Witching+Hour.
Karen Lin
Students at the Witching Hour.
The Witching Hour Vlog. Music credits: “Channel Remix” by Nicky Flowers, “Undertale Sans” by Toby Fox, and “Delfino” by Koji Kondo
HTML tutorial

On October 27, Harrisites engaged in a multitude of lively Halloween-themed events including escape rooms, movies, and read alouds for the Witching Hour: an annual all-night read-a-thon event held at Townsend Harris. The event is part of the Reading Initiative, a program that encourages students to log their reading hours to earn points for prizes. Students won five hundred points towards the reading challenge if they were able to stay awake the whole night read until sunrise.

“[The] main reason [we have the Reading Initiative] is to get kids excited about reading. Mr. Sweeney was the one who came up with the Witching Hour and he felt that having a reading event that was tied to Halloween [and] that tied to an all nighter in the school would generate much more interest to students], and it did,” said Librarian Arlene Laverde, who runs the event with English teacher Brian Sweeney.

The event took place in the gymnasium. Students checked in at 7PM and set up their own posts to read in the gym. During reading sessions, students were given the decision to read a book, comic, webtoon or listen to an audiobook. In addition to these collective reading sessions, students also had stories read aloud to them. Furthermore, there were many popular activities that students attended, such as watch parties for horror movies like Five Nights At Freddy’s, Insidious, M3GAN, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more. Halloween Trivia was hosted by Mr. Sweeney and social studies teacher Frank McCaughey, an Escape the Room was designed by Ms. Laverde, and there was Halloween arts & crafts hosted by art teacher Antonio Montalvo. These activities kept students occupied while others stayed in the gym playing volleyball, video games, and doing other activities.

Harrisites were presented with plenty of spooky fun at The Witching Hour. Junior Ariyan Abdin said, “It was genuinely and extremely fun just being able to chill with friends for that long.” On a similar note, freshman Aleah Tercano said “It was a new experience for me because I’ve never done something like that before, and I’m thinking about doing it again next year.”

While many students shared their positive impressions, sophomore Blair Mccluskey said that the worst aspect of the night was “that it was really hot in the gym.” Other students suggested having live readers rather than podcast read alouds for horror sessions.

Many students were able to stay up all night and were still reading at sunrise, winning their 500 points. According to Ms. Laverde, there were more than 300 students at this event. At last year’s event around 175 students participated.

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Karen Lin
Karen Lin, Photography Editor / Social Media Editor
Karen is a senior at Townsend Harris High School. Her passions include graphic design, photography, and fine arts. In her free time, she enjoys reading or capturing moments across her five cameras.
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