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Rituals, festivals, holidays

Turning of the Class Ring

Title: Turning of the Class Ring

Category: Ceremonial Object

Informant: Lisa L. Gabbard

Nationality: American, caucasian

Age: 58

Occupation: Housewife

Residence: 5031 Mead Drive/ Doylestown PA, 18902 (Suburban Home)

Date of Collection: 4/8/18

Description:

High School class rings are ordered in the fall of Junior year of high school and delivered to the individual in the spring semester. Class rings are worn exclusively by either Junior or Senior class standing individuals of the institution. Class rings generally tend to include: The individual’s year of graduation, a colored jewel, the institution’s name, the individual’s last name, and/or a significant activity important to the individual ordering the ring.

Once the class ring is delivered to the student, the student must then go around the school getting other students to “turn” their class ring. When turning the class ring, the individual asked will rotate the ring clock-wise in a full circle on the owner’s finger. The owner of the ring will then ask the participant to give their signature on a list in a notebook (or other recording device) with the other individuals who have turned their ring.

The number of times that the ring must be turned is indicated by the last two digits in the year of the student’s graduation. Example: Class of 2019 must get their ring turned 19 times. Class of 1977 must get their ring turned 77 times. The last person who should turn the ring is the student them-self.

Context/Significance:

Turning of the class ring is meant to bring the individual good luck and prosperity their senior year of high school as they round-out their high school education. The people who may be asked to turn someone’s class ring mostly include close friends, relatives, or significant teachers. Students in other grade levels are invited to turn people’s class rings since they the pool of people allowed to turn class rings is not exclusive to the Junior class alone. The names are meant to be collected and held on-to by the individual gathering the information.

Personal Thoughts:

The turning of the class ring is symbolic of a variety of things. The turning of the ring is representative of the end of a cycle. As these Juniors are in the late spring semester of the year, they are preparing for the final year of their pre-college education. It symbolizes the end of a significant part of their lives and the number of times it is turned is specific to the year of their graduation and the year that everything will change. This experience can be backed up by the phrase “coming full circle.”

The people who turn their rings is significant as well. These are the people who have generally held significant roles in the individuals life and have helped shape their character up to this stage of life. Of course, the last person turning the ring is the student them-self as they are acknowledging this change and recognizing the end of their informal education.

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