By, Leslie M. ’19
As a Lower Schooler, I loved the springtime. I especially loved watching the Upper Schoolers hold all their wonderful traditions outside in the courtyard under the cherry blossom and willow trees, walking on the vivid green grass. They were celebrating their accomplishments through the many traditions at Winsor. Upper School traditions are a staple of the high school experience at Winsor. They help unify a class and also make connections among grades.
Ring Day, one of the most well-known traditions at Winsor, carries a lot of importance as it represents a marriage to Winsor, you could say. Most students get the ring sized to their ring finger on their right hand. The placement of a ring makes for funny jokes about getting “engaged to Winsor.” Personally, I was incredibly excited to get my ring, as I feel that it is a mark of all my hard work. Each junior receives a ring with the Winsor Lamp of Learning carved on the top and their initials and class year engraved on the band. There are many different metals to choose from for this ring, so each junior is allowed the option of choosing what kind of ring they would like, which they will be able to keep with them for the rest of their life. The juniors then have to wait until Ring Day, which the seniors secretly plan, to receive their rings.
What makes Ring Day so special is that a senior is assigned to a junior for the ceremony. The senior, who has already gone through this process, continues on the tradition by handing the junior their ring along with a poster and some yummy candy. This celebration makes the receiving of a ring all the more climactic.
Ellisya L. ’19, when asked about Ring Day, said that “as someone with an older sister that went to Winsor, I have always looked forward to Ring Day. Ring Day represents my entry to a new class of Winsor students, and it shows that I have grown into the person I am today at Winsor. Receiving my ring was a very special experience that I will never forget.” Ring Day is evidently a very important tradition to juniors, especially those who have seen other Winsor students go through the same process. Receiving a ring is quintessential to the Winsor experience.
Last year, when I was a sophomore, I watched the seniors, dressed up in their prettiest spring clothing, walk onto the courtyard with posters to meet the juniors. Everyone was screaming, the sun was shining, and thousands of pictures were taken. I could not wait to do the same thing. I could not wait to be “surprised” on Ring Day, to come to school casually wearing my favorite spring outfit for “no reason” because of course I had no idea when Ring Day would be. So when I finally became a junior, and I walked with my classmates across the courtyard in a cute outfit and saw all the seniors standing together with signs, I screamed ecstatically. I really wanted to savor the moment. My friend Kym M. ’18 gave my friend Toni G. ’19 and me our rings. All we wanted to do was take photos. We thought that because Ring Day started at the end of assembly, we would be given a bit of time from class to enjoy the exchange fully.
Unfortunately, the process was very rushed, and we only had around 15 minutes to celebrate. Before I knew it, I was walking to class with the rest of my grade. Later that day, although I was very happy I received my ring, I was upset that the ceremony of getting the ring was cut short.
Julie W. ’19 feels similarly. She said, “I loved Ring Day, and I think I’ll remember it forever, but I wish we’d gotten a little bit more time to enjoy a moment that many of us had been looking forward to for a long time. Ring Day is a really hyped up Winsor tradition, so it seemed unjust to squish this significant occasion into a less-than-25-minute period.” Ring Day is an incredibly important moment for the juniors. We view it as quite an accomplishment to have finally received our rings.
So why was Ring Day so short? Did something go wrong, or was this how Ring Day usually is, and I had just built it up in my head? To answer these questions I went to Mr. M., the dean of the senior class. He very helpfully explained to me that “planning things like Ring Day can be challenging because there are so many worthwhile things scheduled in our community time, homeroom, and other blocks.”
“Ms. G. and I talked about options for [Ring Day] and, in the end, chose the one that we thought would work, given the constraints. One thing to keep in mind is that, with the seven-day rotating calendar, we actually have fewer homeroom and advisory meetings, overall,” he said. “That is a fairly major constraint that makes scheduling things like this harder and also raises the stakes for missing or canceling either homeroom or advisory. There were lots of conflicts with possible times. On that particular day, the main complicating issue was that Assembly went over time.”
Mr. M.’s comments really helped clarify the situation for me. Ring Day was not forgotten about and put to the side. The Senior Class, Mr. M., and Ms. G., the dean of the juniors, all put in a lot of time and effort to find a good time for Ring Day. The seven-day schedule, unfortunately, often inhibits mobility when scheduling an important tradition like Ring Day. There are so many things to schedule and not enough homeroom, advisory, or community time. Evidently, a lot of factors need to be put into consideration before picking at time for an event.
While I do understand that there is difficulty scheduling, I hope that next year we will push for Ring Day to be scheduled during a nice long period. Next year, when I give a ring to my junior, I wanted to be able to savor and commemorate the moment with as many Instagram-ready pictures as possible!