A date with destiny: Sulphur Springs 7th grader wins tickets to see J.K. Rowling at New York City’s historic Carnegie Hall

By TERRY H. MATHEWS | News-Telegram Arts Editor

Oct 9, 2007 - As Chandler Folmar, 13, read the last Harry Potter book this summer and learned the fate of his favorite fictional characters, he had no clue that he, too, was about to have a date with destiny.

Staff Photo by Terry Mathews

Chandler Folmar (left) and his friend, Will Horton, browse through their Harry Potter books as they try to decide on just the right question to ask the book’s author, J.K. Rowling, later this month. Chandler was one of 1,000 people across the country who won tickets to hear the famous author read selections and answer questions from her fans at New York City’s historic Carnegie Hall on Friday, Oct. 19.

Chandler, a seventh grade student at Sulphur Springs Middle School and his mother, Cindy Modrall, an English/language arts teacher in Greenville, are going to see world-famous author and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Friday, Oct. 19.

�Scholastic Publishing, the company that handles the Harry Potter series, sponsored a lottery for tickets to see J.K. Rowling. I filled out a form from the publisher�s website in August and mailed it off,� Modrall said. �I didn�t think anything else about it until about two weeks ago when I got a phone call saying we had won.�

At first, Modrall thought someone was playing a joke, but after she received a legal document in the mail that had to be signed and notarized because Chandler is a minor, Modrall was convinced they had really hit the jackpot.

There are 13 winners from Texas listed under “J.K. Rowling Open Book Tour Sweepstakes” at the publisher’s website:  www.scholastic.com/harrypotter/events/sweepstakes.htm. The Texas winners range in age from 9 to 54.

�I was surprised at the range of ages,� Modrall said. �I expected the list to just be kids, but there are some senior citizens on the list, too.�

During the Carnegie Hall event, Rowling will read selections from the last book and will take questions from the audience. Along with the tickets, Chandler and his mom will each receive an autographed copy of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

The duo will fly to the Big Apple early Friday morning, Oct. 19. They’ll attend the event at Carnegie Hall Friday night and then stay in the city over the weekend to see some sights. 

They’re staying at a hotel just a few steps away from the famous performance hall.

�The rooms at the hotel are a little pricey, but we chose it because it was so close to the venue,� Modrall said.�

Although Scholastic Publishing has covered the cost of two tickets to the big event, Chandler and his mom must cover all other expenses. 

�We need to raise about $1,400 to cover our airfare, hotel and meals,� Modrall said. �We�re going to have a bake sale on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m until 2 p.m. in the Masters True Value Hardware parking lot located at 400 Gilmer St.�

Chandler and his mom are big Harry Potter fans. Modrall and her 6th grade class have just finished reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” 

The duo even stood in line at Wal-Mart this July to purchase “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and last book of the wildly popular series.

�I dressed up as Professor Minerva McGonagall,� Modrall said. �I think I embarrassed Chandler, but I had a lot of fun.�

For more information on fundraising efforts and the upcoming bake sale, call 903-439-5210. 

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