The Junior Ring Ceremony and Mass is part of a time-honored tradition and legacy that has been passed down to every class since the very first class received their rings to identify them as members of the John Carroll Class of 1968. Mr. Michael Gaudreau '70, art teacher and John Carroll graduate, has told the story of the ring at the every ceremony for the past 41 years. The design of the ring was the result a sketch by the school’s first art teacher, Mr. Frank Kelly, on a paper napkin while having dinner with the first principal, Rev. Raymond Wanner, at a restaurant in Aberdeen.
Some tidbits about this great tradition:
- There are four components to the tradition: Ring Ceremony, Ring Mass, Junior Breakfast, and Junior Ring Dance
- The design embossed on the onyx of the ring is symbolic of the shape of the School chapel, which represents the hands of God cradling the people gathered within this sacred space.
- Interestingly enough, class years are not featured on the ring -- only the name of the School and the year the school first opened its doors (1964). This lends a nice element of continuity; all alumni share a common design.
- Not unlike the traditions of the Claddagh Ring in western Ireland, juniors must wear their new rings with the open end of the design facing them; at graduation they will turn them the other way to signify that they are now going out to share all they have learned at John Carroll.
- At the Ring Dance, juniors ask anyone and everyone to turn their ring; ultimately, the object for the class of '16 is to have their rings turned 216 times (which doesn't leave a lot of time for dancing).
- The ceremony's great raconteur, Michael Gaudreau, is the nephew of Thomas Gaudreau, designer of the John Carroll chapel (and, by extension, the junior ring).
Congratulations to the class of 2016. You're part of a great Patriot tradition, and we know you'll continue to make us proud!