Many of you know that I am a high school math teacher. I prefer that my students use a pencil in class...I require it on quizzes and tests. So, if a student doesn't have a pencil, they may borrow one from me. But, they must give me something of value (a teaching moment -- they are learning about collateral!). Students have given me many things. My favorites are cell phones, wallets, and keys. I have been given compacts, chap stick, money, backpacks, and in-school suspension notices. One day this week a student wanted to borrow a pencil but said he didn't have anything to give me. I happen to see his class ring and suggested that. "I am not going to give you a $500 ring for a pencil!!" $500??!!?? for a high school ring???!!! That got to me thinking about class rings.
I still have my high school class ring. It is sorely in need of a cleaning. I like the stone (garnet...the closest thing to our school color) and think maybe, one day, I'll take it and have it reset (along with some other stones that are set in pins I received from previous jobs). We received our rings when we were sophomores so we could wear them at least two and half years. I think I wore mine a year after high school, I just don't remember. It is a mini man's ring really. We may have had a choice of the smaller, more dainty rings, but there wasn't and isn't anything dainty about me. I didn't buy a college ring. I dropped out and when I went back I was working 40 hours, had a toddler and husband to worry about. (My husband did give a Monte Blanc pen for graduation!)
My husband still has his high school ring. I wore it one year as a Halloween prop. I dressed up as a 50/60 teeny bopper. I wore his ring on a chain, pulled my hair back in a pony tail with a scarf, jeans, and his college letter jacket (another item that is usually worn a couple of years depending on when you get the letter). I have no idea how long he wore his ring (I met him after he graduated college) and he did not have a college ring.
Neither of my sons got a high school ring. By that time, the rings were over $100. Both said they didn't see buying something that costly that will only be worn a couple of years. (They are so smart!)
My oldest son did buy a college ring...I don't think he had a choice. Where he went, it is a tradition to get a ring. They even have a special ceremony when they receive their rings. It is all about tradition. They call it "Ring Weekend." We went up and joined the festivities. It is really amazing to watch the ceremony and how excited the cadets get. (I think they are just excited about getting away from base for the weekend!) The freshmen get to harrass the seniors after the seniors receive their rings. It is the only time the freshmen have an opportunity to get back at the seniors. The freshmen recite this:
"Oh my god, sir/ma'am! What a beautiful ring! What a crass mass of brass and glass! What a bold mold of rolled gold! What a cool jewel you got from your school! See how it sparkles and shines? It must have cost you a fortune! May I touch it, may I touch it please, sir/ma'am?"
It's called "the Ring Poop." The freshmen scream this. When N was a freshman, he called and held the phone out so I could hear. It was loud. It's funny, too.
N got me a replica of the top of his ring. Next to my engagement ring, it is the most expensive piece of jewelry I own. I always get compliments when I wear it. They call it a mother's pendent. For the dads, it is a tie tack or lapel pin. L doesn't wear either, so he didn't get one.
I think N's ring is here at home with us. He doesn't wear it much anymore.
My younger son's college also has a special celebration. I remember him telling me when he was a freshman that his mentor gave C his ring to hold until the celebration, "Ring Dance" I believe is what they call it. Couldn't believe a freshman would be asked to hold someone's class ring...more tradition. But C has decided not to get a college ring. I kept asking if he was sure. He told me he would probably not wear it much and didn't see any reason to buy one.
I remember my younger sister wore our mom's nursing school ring for a while. Did you get a class ring? Do you still have it? Do you still wear it?