This week our seniors and juniors celebrate the much-loved tradition of Ring Week. Seniors have been enthusiastically preparing for this week, and the juniors eagerly await Wednesday's kickoff to the festivities. The freshmen and sophomores will undoubtedly look on in wonder and amusement as they see the activities unfold.
For those of you new to our school community, Ring Week is a long-standing tradition. On Wednesday, juniors will receive a simple prop to wear during the school day. On Thursday and Friday, groups of senior ring sisters create costumes, skits, and activities for their junior ring sisters. It is creative, fun, and generous of spirit. Ring Week culminates with Ring Dinner on Saturday, February 10. The dinner, hosted by the senior class for the juniors, is an elegant evening ... always with a secret theme. It begins with a procession of the juniors from the Chapel breezeway into the dining room, where they are received by their ring sisters. Together, they enjoy a lovely dinner; class rings are presented and gifts are given.
With our tradition of Ring Dinner and all that it entails, it is easy to see that it is a rite of passage. It marks an important stage in the journey of a Santa Catalina student: seniors give of themselves, and it is their responsibility to ensure that the tradition is beautiful and uniquely memorable. It is a "threshold" event that captures the essence of Santa Catalina sisterhood. Symbolically, it also serves to prepare juniors for their upcoming leadership roles as seniors. As we near the presentation of rings to juniors, it is interesting to note the symbolism of the Santa Catalina class ring itself:
The basic structure of the Dominican shield is four black and four white triangles that symbolize the unity of a group of people working for the common good, for Dominic, the Dominican Order. The cross, superimposed over the triangles, symbolizes victory, duty, and sacrifice. The roses reflect our campus. The wheat is the Eucharist. The Church's tradition is that Dominic's mother "saw" a star over Dominic when he was born, and so the star became a symbol of Dominic and his unique position in founding the Dominican Order. Saint Dominic was also devoted to the rosary as a prayer (thus our Rosary Chapel). A crown has been associated with Mary, who, as tradition goes, inspired Dominic to pray the rosary. As a result, a crown is often, though not always, associated with the Dominican shield. (It is interesting to note that the stained glass window in our side chapel to the right pictures Mary giving Dominic the rosary.)
For those of us who are alumnae, we remember with great fondness receiving our rings as juniors. Some of us are still very close to our ring sisters. It is gratifying to see that the tradition continues in a beautiful way, and that it means so much to our juniors and seniors. For this reason, we here at Santa Catalina are ever vigilant so the tradition remains what it always has been: a stepping-up moment for the juniors as they join the ranks of seniors and of all Catalina alumnae. The seniors and juniors have been thoughtfully apprised by the class deans of the guidelines and expectations surrounding Ring Week so that every student involved has a wonderful, memorable experience. If you have any questions, please contact Lara Devlin '02 (Assistant Senior Class Dean), Melissa Sheets (Junior Class Dean, or Kassandra Brenot '87 (Senior Class Dean).