Photo of the Week: Happy Ring Week!

These students from the Class of 2002 take the typical Meredith College class ring picture. Receiving their Onyx is one of the traditions Meredith girls look forward to the most. The Meredith Class Ring was designed by Ann Lovell, 54’, in 1953.

2011 Young Alumnae Board Ring Essay Winner: Elizabeth Hawley Oates, ’13

As most of you probably know, each fall Meredith College’s Young Alumnae Board sponsors a Ring Essay Contest for the current juniors.  This contest gives one junior per year the opportunity to win her onyx class ring.  The Young Alumnae Board has been holding this contest each fall for the last 9 years.  This year’s ring went to Elizabeth Hawley Oates, ’13.  Below is her winning essay; enjoy reading it!

The Onyx: Its Connection to Past and Present

As I sit here typing this essay, around my neck lays my most precious keepsake on a simple gold chain – it is my grandmother’s onyx. My mother proudly handed me this gift one summer day over two years ago, telling me to take very special care of it. It was her mother’s and she knew that my Granny would want me to have it as I prepared to become the next Meredith College graduate from my family. From that day on, her onyx has rarely left my neck; the only times are sleeping and on the occasion when pearls are called for. Receiving my onyx today is not only a dream of mine, but also of one of the major influences of my life, my Granny.

Mabel Hawley Yarborough Bullock was a proud graduate of Meredith College, class of 1933. She was a music performance major who eventually became a church pianist and teacher for over 76 years. Her alma mater was a very special place that left her with great memories and an even greater sense of pride and accomplishment. Upon her retirement in 1999, the Meredith Chorale came to my home town and performed a mini concert in my Granny’s honor. It was one of her favorite parts of that day because it connected her back to the school where she learned to not only hone her musical talent but also become a proud, independent woman; a true Meredith Angel. My Granny loved her alma mater and began to prepare and groom me from an early age to become a Meredith girl, constantly dropping subtle hints and suggestions for my future college education.

Her efforts were indeed successful as and I am now a proud Meredith Angel. From the moment I received my acceptance letter, I could not wait for this night to come. Once we put that onyx on our hands we will become part of a sisterhood of women all over the world; we will be able to recognize each other instantly, even from across a crowded room. Meredith is a very special place, and these rings are just one of the symbols that connects us all. And every time I look down at my onyx on my hand, and my Granny’s around my neck, I will think of her and what Meredith means to both of us.

On the surface, Meredith was a very different place back when my grandmother was here. There were curfews and room cleanliness checks, and going out with a guy meant being featured in the newspaper the very next day. But at its core, Meredith was the same place it is today. In its essence, Meredith stands for sisterhood, loyalty, leadership, and so much more. And the onyxes we place on our fingers tonight will be a constant reminder to us as we continue on our life journey; these rings will remind us of what we learned here, both academically and socially, and the great memories we shared with friends and classmates.

Although my Granny’s onyx and mine look different, at the core they still connect us back to the same place; they connect us back to traditions, to family, and to memories and lessons that will remain with us forever. When I finally put my onyx on my right hand it will mean I have done it; I will have realized my Granny’s dream of a daughter/granddaughter becoming a Meredith Angel for eternity, realized my dream of becoming a part of a community larger than myself, and realized my dream of wearing that pretty little black ring around forever. And even more, once I cross that island in the amphitheater, it will mean finally being able to say, “I am a Meredith College alumna!”

What’s going on in the Cate Center?

Today marks the end of the first first full week of classes at Meredith!  As you could imagine, the campus is bustling with activity as the students get back into their usual routines.

Representatives from Josten’s returned to campus earlier this week to take orders for class rings!  The class of 2013 as well as other members of the Meredith community stood in line waiting for their turn to place orders for one of the most recognized class rings around.  The student center was filled with excitement as the students were finally able to order their very own piece of Meredith: the onyx!

The senior class kicked off the year with (.. what else..?) a t-shirt sale!  The funds from this sale will go to benefit the class of 2012’s numerous events such as Senior Parent Night, Cornhuskin’ and 12th Night.

We thought that you all may enjoy seeing what’s been going on in the Cate Center this week!  Here is a recap of the week in photos:

Class of 2012 Ring Dinner

“October 22, 2010 was truly “A Magical Night at the Top” for the Class of 2012. You could feel the anticipation and excitement as soon as you stepped off of the elevator and onto the twenty-first floor of the Capital City Club of Raleigh.  The view of the Raleigh skyline took my breath away as we approached our table, complete with purple, black and gold decorations which reflected the magical theme.  

Our evening began as the Ring Dinner tri-chairs welcomed us to the dinner; we could all see the excitement and satisfaction on their faces as the ceremony began.  As we all enjoyed our dinner, I looked around table number three and realized how lucky I was to be surrounded by my closest friends on this very special night.   Our 2012 Bathtub Ring served as our entertainment for the night.  While they preformed several of the traditional BTR songs, they finished up their set with a special song dedicated to our class.  Shortly thereafter, two representatives from the Young Alumnae Board presented the Ring Essay Contest winners.  Each year, the Young Alumnae Board holds an essay contest for the current junior class.  Each member of the class is invited to share an essay about what the Meredith College onyx means to them.  The first place winner of this contest, which is announced at Ring Dinner, wins a class ring!  Emily Pappas, who was also celebrating her 21st birthday, deservingly received first place in the contest.  Many of us could not hold back the tears as her poignant essay was read aloud.  Next, the Ring Week tri-chairs presented a poem to our class as we watched a slide show of images from the week leading up to our magical night. The slide show captured some of our memories from the week and reminded us of how excited we were to receive our own onyx rings. Dr. Jean Jackson was our guest speaker for the event.  She lightened the mood as she told us several stories about her experiences with her onyx.  And then… finally… it was time to slip our very own onyxes on our very own fingers.  I will never forget the moment that Dr. Jackson told us to put on our rings. I tried so hard to hold in my tears, but it was impossible.  The overflowing of emotion led to the appearance of tears in my first picture taken with my onyx.  I remember hugging all of my friends and taking pictures with what seemed like everyone in the room.  Those pictures will always mean the world to me.

Ring dinner was more than I could have ever imagined.   When I am an alumna of Meredith College, I know that I will look back on this night and remember the excitement that I shared with the class of 2012; it will be one of my most treasured memories for sure.   I have never felt so close to my Meredith sisters as I did that night; our class has grown extremely close during our time at Meredith and I am so grateful to have been a part of this timeless tradition.  I will have this ring on my right hand everyday for the rest of my life.  To me, my onyx represents my hard work and dedication during my time at Meredith. It also signifies the appreciation I feel towards the college, as well as a connection to all other Meredith graduates.”

– Christina Mendenhall , ’12

Happy Ring Week!

It sure is a busy week on Meredith’s campus!  Not only is Cornhuskin’ practice in full swing, but the class of 2012 is celebrating Ring Week!  On Friday, members of the junior class will attend Ring Dinner and they will become official members of the Meredith sisterhood.  In the spirit of Ring Week, we wanted to share the following story.  A recent alumna, Renata Heineman, sent her story our way and we’d love to share with you all.

Renata Heineman graduated on May 12, 2010, and along with her flipped onyx, headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in late May for her internship training.  The first day of training went well, and she and her fellow interns were off to the beach after work.  A perfect afternoon turned tragic when a huge wave swept Renata’s Meredith ring off her finger.  She frantically tried to explain to the group what happened, and everyone quickly began searching through the sand.

Several weeks later, a woman named Denise was walking along the same beach searching for beach glass when she stumbled across a black onyx ring.  Denise realized that it was a lost class ring; she then had her children read the engraving on the inside.  Shortly thereafter, Denise got on Facebook and was able to track down another Meredith alumnae from the class of 2010, Aleah Ham.   Aleah then got in touch with Renata and filled her in on the story.  Through Facebook, Renata and Denise became friends, and Renata’s ring arrived in the mail shortly thereafter.

Believe it or not, many years before, Denise was at the beach with her family and lost her father’s Texas A& M ring.   Similar to Meredith, Texas A&M has a long standing class ring tradition.  Unfortunately, for Denise his ring was never found.  However, Denise shared that by finding and returning Renata’s beloved Meredith onyx, she was finally able to get over having lost her father’s ring in the ocean so many years before.

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