It’s the moment Saint Mary’s juniors have been waiting for the past two years. Members of the Class of 2021 will receive their Saint Mary’s class rings at the annual Junior Ring Banquet, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, in Chan-Poyner Hall. The Ring Banquet has become a favorite event and rite of passage for juniors, as each girl is presented her ring by school officials in a formal ceremony with families in attendance.
The iconic black onyx and gold or white gold Saint Mary’s School ring, bearing the school seal and the student’s class year, is the most recognizable symbol of a Saint Mary’s girl.
Over time, almost everyone wearing the ring connects with another alumna through recognition of the ring. Many students and alumnae have stories of being stopped by a fellow alumna in an airport, a restaurant, or on the streets of New York, Paris, London, or North Carolina, to be asked if their ring is a Saint Mary’s ring. In those moments of connection, the shared bond and pride in our alma mater is palpable, and new Saint Mary’s friends are made.
The black onyx ring has changed only slightly over the years. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, the seal in the onyx was inverted, as part of an old tradition of using wax to seal envelopes containing personal letters. The inverted crest would imprint perfectly in the sealing wax.
Otherwise, the school ring has remained remarkably consistent over the years.
Many alumnae wear the attractive ring for years after graduation while others pass the ring on to their daughters or granddaughters who attend Saint Mary’s.
While a girl is a student at Saint Mary’s School, she wears her ring so that the school seal is pointing inwards toward herself. During commencement, the head of school directs the graduates to “turn their rings,” so the crest points out toward the world they will enter as Saint Mary’s graduates.
Congratulations, juniors! Wear your rings with pride, gratitude, strength, confidence, and grace.
Mary Virginia Swain '77C
Director of Public Relations and Publications