Finding the meaning behind the ring

Receiving a JC class ring is a huge milestone in a student’s high school journey. When juniors receive their rings, they officially become part of the JC family and join a network of thousands of alumni.

“I think it’s a great tradition and definitely something for juniors to look forward to. It’s a way to unite the whole class,” junior Lauren Wenig said.

Beyond simply being a black and gold piece of jewelry that everyone who graduates from JC gets, the ring is a unifying symbol of Patriots then and now.

According to the age-old tale that art teacher Michael Gaudreau tells every year at the Junior Ring Ceremony, the ring was designed and established by Reverend Raymond Wanner, the first principal of JC. Gaudreau tells the story of his initial disappointment with the appearance of the school ring, and how, although he was not able to appreciate it then, he was eventually able to understand its meaning and importance. Gaudreau goes on to explain how the symbol on the ring represents the chapel and that the open end is turned toward your heart until graduation. Gaudreau’s story explained how unique the school ring is and how its appearance lends itself to a community of people that the juniors are now a part of.

President Richard O’Hara sees the design of the ring as “a symbol of faith in the loving God who cradles us in His hands.”

“It is a symbol of the bond that unites current students with the approximately 9000 alumni all around the world.  I feel it should also be a reminder of our namesake, Archbishop John Carroll—scholar, citizen-patriot, and faithful servant of God—and great role model for all of us connected with JC,” O’Hara said.

“It’s a part of me. It goes everywhere I go,” math teacher Al Ward said.  “It’s just special.”

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According to Ward, his  daughter Kristy Ward, class of ’02, has had her fair share of JC ring stories.  While preparing for an operation as a nurse anesthetist, the surgeon noticed her ring. It turned out Al Ward coached this surgeon in baseball in the late 80’s. Additionally, another nurse noticed the ring who turned out to be the mother of senior Emily Dees.

Senior Katherine Flanigan, who received her ring last year, said that “it symbolizes being a part of the JC community,” and now juniors are part of this community.

“I can’t wait for everyone to turn my ring,” junior Sarah Dobson said. “It’s something I’m going to keep with me always.”

Unfortunately, losing a class ring is a common occurrence among JC students and alumni.  Director of Enrollment Edward Maynard, class of ‘93, lost his ring in December of 1993 in the back of a friend’s car and did not find it until 10 years later.

According to Maynard, the ring was misplaced during a trip to a concert his freshman year of college. Knowing it slipped off during the car ride, he decided to search after the concert was over. However, after having his friends thoroughly search the car, it was nowhere to be found.

Not wanting his parents to find out, he began wearing the ring of his brother, who had graduated before him.  After that, he never thought much of it again.

However, according to Maynard, about 10 years later he got a call from The Purple Heart, informing him that a car had been donated to them, and while inspecting and cleaning it out, they had found his ring.

Since those 10 years, Maynard has worn his ring every day.

“I wear my ring because I am very proud of the fact that I went to school here,” Maynard said.

Science and math teacher Susan Kraft, class of ‘74, has also had her share of ring loss experiences.  According to Kraft, her most memorable incident is when her ring slipped off while “putting away Santa’s bag,” a christmas decoration.  Several years later, while taking the bag back out to decorate for Christmas, she found it again.

“It was just with Santa,” Kraft said. “It has a way of finding it’s way back to me.”

Caitlin Wolfarth and Hanna LeBuhn are Lifestyle Editors for The Patriot and