Did You Know? Class Rings

The concept of wearing a ring to create a feeling of unity among a group of people – fellowship rings – is believed to have started in ancient Egypt, where some groups of people wore rings to show they were connected through religion or social class. Later on, Roman soldiers wore rings to show their shared dedication to the military and to the protection of the Roman Empire.

The tradition of wearing a class ring was started at West Point in 1835, when students started wearing them as a remembrance of the time spent at the Academy. Over time, the tradition spread and soon, institutions like Harvard, Princeton, and Yale offered class rings. The wearing of class rings is now common at all major high schools and universities across the united States.

Norwood High School Principal Charles A. Hayden announced the creation of official rings for Norwood High School for the first time in his annual report for the 1953 school year. Prior to that, rings were expensive and not uniform in their design.

Hayden wrote:

“In the spring for the first time in the history of the school, an exclusive design for an official Norwood Senior High School class ring was approved and permanently adopted by the Student Council. Several of the most interesting and memorable aspects of life at the “school on the hill” and of life in Norwood as a community are depicted in the design of this new and beautiful ring. A further favorable note is the fact that it is expected that the cost of the ring will be somewhat less than heretofore.”

At that time, class rings were made out of gold and every student received the exact same class ring, with no customization. Sometimes, the design stayed the same year after year; while some schools altered the rings slightly for each graduating class. Today, there are many different options offered for customization. All class rings generally include the name of the school and the year of graduation, but beyond that, students can choose from a number of different materials, color, and styles and can even add personal details to their rings to show their activities and special achievements.

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