School mascots and graduation year, the hallmarks of rings in the past, are being bumped aside or minimized to make room for "pride sides" — minuscule designs that would be hard to link to in-class accomplishment, including zodiac and peace signs, skateboarders, ethnic flags, rock climbers and figure skaters.What do, if anything, these pride sides reflect? Are we losing the concept of unity (via, in this case, a school)? Or are we just redefining our priorities to what really matters? Or maybe we've progressed beyond the simplistically naive values of our parent's?
"We are kind of losing touch with the idea of a ring bringing a class together as a unit. With the ring evolving into me-me-me product design, the school is less and less a part of the process," says Kean Chan, product manager for Balfour, based in Austin, Texas, one of the big three companies that sell rings on campuses. ..."I put a Jewish star on the side, because I am always going to be Jewish," the 16-year-old says. "I am not always going to be dancing." ...While at a ring event at a Minnesota school last year, a high school junior told Stoebe, "Well this year, I finally have the opportunity to put things on my ring that represent me — NASCAR and fishing."In our insatiable quest for individuality, have we not, rather, ended up losing our identities?