Hinsdale Central students express mixed views on class rings
Jane Lang of Jostens was at Hinsdale Central Friday, offering students an opportunity to purchase class rings. | Chuck Fieldman — Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2013 6:20AM
HINSDALE — Kendyl Lynch and Dakota Murtaugh made different choices for the same reason.
Murtaugh, a Hinsdale Central sophomore from Clarendon Hills, was very pleased about ordering a class ring Friday.
“My dad had one from his high school, and I thought it was pretty cool,” she said. “I like old fashioned things. I take pride in athletics here, and a class ring will help me remember the good times.”
For Lynch, a junior from Clarendon Hills, and some other Central students, that perception is the major reason they have no interest in owning one.
“I don’t really wear rings, and a class ring is like old fashioned,” Lynch said.
For senior Patrick Eaton of Hinsdale, the cost isn’t justified by the outcome.
“I don’t think it’s worth paying for; it’s just an object, and it is old school,” he said.
Junior Matthew Driscoll of Hinsdale isn’t interested at this level.
“I don’t feel it’s necessary for high school students to have a ring,” he said. “I’d definitely be more interested in getting a ring in college because college is more memorable.”
The tradition of class rings began in 1835 when cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point designed their own rings to emphasize unity and tradition as they moved on past the academy.
As time passed, class rings began appearing in high schools and universities, evolving from a simple brass ring with a lone insignia to a complex, jewel-encrusted fashion accessory.
Jostens, the company that sells rings to students at central, targets sophomores over students in other grade levels, said Jane Lang, the Jostens sales representative. The company also was taking orders Friday for graduation announcements and for caps and gowns for the 2013 commencement.
“We certainly sell rings to juniors and seniors, too, but the sophomores are targeted so that they can get their rings and have a couple of years to still wear them while they are in high school,” she said.
Lang said students can design and order rings online as well as making in-person choices.
“The rings are like telling a story of your time in high school,” Lang said. “It’s more of a personal ring now than it was years ago because you can put different things on it while designing it.”
Lang said boys tend to choose more traditional styles when they purchase class rings, which average about $200-$250 in cost.
Freshman Natalie McGann of Hinsdale said she plans to purchase a class ring next year.
“I like it because it’s something to remember high school and where I grew up,” she said.