What Is the Tradition of Turning a Class Ring?

The tradition of class rings is more than a century old.

The wearing of class rings began in 1835 at West Point Military Academy. Nearly 200 years later, that tradition still lives on. Each year, a new class of almost-graduates picks out their rings, customizing them to fit their individual personalities; the rings serve as a tangible memory of school. A tradition that goes along with the class ring is turning the ring. While the rules of turning a ring differ from region to region, the school spirit behind it is the same.

1 Wearing the Ring

It is customary to wear your ring facing yourself, at first. This signifies your pending graduation. On graduation day, after you switch the tassel on your graduation cap to the other side, you turn your ring around so that it is facing outward. This allows everyone to see that you have graduated.

2 Turning the Ring

Before you graduate, your classmates, family and teachers can turn your ring. The direction in which they turn it varies at every school; yours can be turned clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on what you prefer. Choose a direction, and make sure every person who turns your ring does it the same way.

3 Numbers Have Meanings

In some schools, different numbers have different meanings. For example, the first person to turn your ring can signify your best friend; or the 14th person to turn your ring can signify your boyfriend or girlfriend. There is no specific number of times your ring should be turned. Every school is different, so ask around to find out what the tradition is at your school.

4 Ring Ceremonies

Certain schools hold ring ceremonies. Students receive their rings from faculty members, while their families and friends look on. It is a way to bond with your classmates, as well as celebrate the upcoming graduation. It is also where students begin the ring-turning tradition.

5 The Last Person

The last person to turn your ring is an important one. It is tradition that the last person to turn your ring must turn it in the opposite direction that everyone else has turned it. This signifies that no one else will turn your ring. For this reason, it is common to choose someone special to perform the last ring turn.