(Editor's Note: The following story was published and featured in the 2018-2019 Fort Knox High School yearbook.)

A class ring is a symbolism of who you once were. A mere representation of lively memories that are now compacted into a glistening jewel. Varsity blues withheld by emerald green. It's worn around your finger as a reminder of all your juvenile achievements and the academic scholar that once resided in you. The goal is to never lose such a treasure. The objective is to never be deprived of such a symbol of your youth. However, that is not always the case.

In the summer of 1969, shortly after graduation, a young woman by the name of Rumika Dodson (Hinzman at the time) had lost her class ring at Doe Valley Lake in the quaint little town of Brandenburg, Kentucky. In hopes of escaping the hot and humid heat of Kentucky, she would have never suspected that her ring would escape her. Mrs. Dodson explained to me over an interview via email that she remembers almost immediately losing the ring. She was swimming in the lake, and felt the ring slowly slip off of her finger, and gradually the ring sunk to the sandy bottom of the lake. The next few hours were spent tirelessly looking for her newly lost prized possession. She thought that was the last time she would ever see her ring. But life is nothing less than unpredictable.

In the fall of 1980, a man's bonding time with his father and their shared hobby of collecting treasures with metal detectors led them to find Mrs. Dodson's long lost ring. It was found where the swimmers would normally swim, but due to a season change, the lake was drained. The ring read "Class of 1969" and had the initials of R.H. After the fortunate finding of this ring, he had placed it in a box along with his other findings. Last year, the man received a phone call from his mother about rediscovering the ring after cleaning out her basement. She motivated her son to find the rightful owner of the ring. And so his journey began. He was able to search through yearbooks and he found her name. Then he went to Google to fill in the blanks.

In December of 2018, this story was luckily brought to mine and my yearbook advisor's attention. The man who discovered the class ring came to Fort Knox High, and I had the opportunity to interview him. Dr. Vargas and I were given Mrs. Dodson's contact information and we gave her a ring (no pun intended). She answered on the first attempt, and needless to say she was shocked and in awe over the whole situation. She thought she would never see her ring again. She also added that our phone call made her day.

Mrs. Dodson unfortunately was not able to graduate at Fort Knox, although she claims Fort Knox High School as her alma mater. She stated, "My time at Fort Knox was the highlight of my life up to that time." She then told me that she pushed herself out of her comfort zone at Fort Knox. She said, "It was there that I was given the impetus to not only achieve academically, but in other endeavors as well." She blossomed and thrived at Fort Knox High, and that's truly what her class ring represents.

The ring has finally been returned home after 50 years. It's amazing how something as small as a class ring can have such an impact on your life and memory. It's a reminder, though. A reminder for someone to never forget who they once were.

(Editor's Final Note: The story of Rumi Dodson's returned ring can also be found in the Feb. 10, 2019, edition of the Elizabethtown News-Enterprise. See link below.)