By Cameron Hendrickson ’17
Tradition is a delicate subject. For some, it is a salvation, a reminder of the constants in life’s experiences. For others, tradition is a laborious obligation forced slavishly upon subsequent generations. It is fair to say that at Immaculate Heart, most subscribe to the first school of thought, wholeheartedly. The venerable traditions of IH were once again on display during the annual Ring Ceremony, which took place February 5th. Designed to welcome the junior class officially to the status of upper-class-womanhood, the ceremony combines the Catholic tradition with those unique to Immaculate Heart, its message and its mission.
On the day itself, all students had a special schedule. After all the classes of the day were complete, the juniors headed to the auditorium wearing the red-rose corsages they pinned on themselves and their classmates earlier that day. The ceremony began with a Mass and ended with the presentation of the junior rings.
The meticulous and understated ceremony pertaining to the rings is what gives the day its special feel. IH Principal Virginia Hurst blessed the rings in her final ceremony after multiple decades as a leader in the school community and as an IH alumnus herself. Ms. Hurst and Immacuate Heart’s new president, Maureen Diekmann, handed the rings to each junior. Ms. Diekmann is also an IH alum, and her two daughters also attended Immaculate Heart. During the ceremony, she described the ring’s symbols and how the ring represents Immaculate Heart graduates as courageous women of service and independence who seek to better the world around them.
Many families of the juniors attended the Ring Ceremony, and members of the senior class was also in the auditorium. Afterwards, juniors and seniors participated in the somewhat unofficial tradition of spending the afternoon with an older or younger Panda sister.
There had been some controversy this year about the Ring Ceremony, due to the low percentage of students who purchased a ring. This year only 43 percent of the junior class had an Immaculate Heart ring by the time of the ceremony. However, this was the result of logistical confusion, not outright rebellion. Many girls felt they weren’t informed about the urgency of buying the ring by a certain deadline. Others also felt misled about the range of prices.
“I want to buy one still,” said McKenna Hendrickson, “It’s just by the first meeting the deadline had already passed. I will buy one before I graduate though.”
Nevertheless, the practice of receiving your class ring during the Ring Ceremony is still highly anticipated at Immaculate Heart after more than 100 hundred years of existence. Overall, the experience among juniors of entering more fully into the IH Panda Family remains a positive one. This Immaculate Heart tradition is here to stay.