Long-lost JHS class ring returned to owner

Submitted Photo 2005 Jamestown High School graduate Yesenia Rosa poses with her class ring, which was lost for more than a decade before being returned in May.

JAMESTOWN — Throughout the year following her graduation from Jamestown High School in 2005, Yesenia Rosa would often take off her class ring and place it under her pillow before going to sleep at night.

The ring was not only a symbol of her achievements, it was also a reminder of family.

“My parents and my grandmother sacrificed a lot just to be able to get me the ring,” Rosa recalled. One day when Rosa went to slip the ring back on her finger, it was nowhere to be found.

“I would sometimes take it off at night and just kind of stick it under my pillow and I thought maybe I had lost it that way. I never in a million years thought that I had actually lost it somewhere else,” Rosa said. Looking everywhere she could think, Rosa had no success finding the ring that had meant so much to her.

“I looked for it for months, maybe even years. Finally I moved from Jamestown, I figured I’m never going to find it, you know?” Rosa said. Never say never.

Years later, while walking near the JHS campus, Lisa Howard noticed a 2005 class ring seemingly discarded on the ground.

“Had it been more current than that she would have just gone into the school,” said Mike Donner, Howard’s boyfriend and manager of the Jamestown Cycle Shop. “I think the ring had probably been lost for three or four years when she found it. She just held onto it, tried several times (to return it), but technology has changed now.”

For a decade, Howard had tried to return the ring to its rightful owner, but had not been able to match the engravings to a name and phone number. Several weeks ago, by chance, Howard showed the ring to Donner and explained the story.

“One day, randomly when the whole corona thing started, she said ‘I found this 10 or 12, 13 years ago,'” Donner said. “She said ‘I’ve tried to find this person off-and-on for many many years.’ I kind of got excited about it and said, that would be a nice thing with everything that is going on if we could find this person.”

Going off of the small and worn engravings on the ring, Donner set to work on Google, scouring the internet for a name and number.

“I was putting pieces of the puzzle together, here we have a name, here we have a relative, here is another maybe relative, somebody with the last name. I was just calling people,” Donner said.

On one fateful search, that could not be replicated later, Donner turned up an Erie, Pa. phone number. That contact was scratched on a piece of paper, as so many others had been. When the phone call was made, Donner realized he was speaking with Rosa’s father, who immediately remembered the lost ring and called Yesenia.

“I was not expecting the call at all,” Rosa said. “The house we used to live in actually burned down, so I’m thinking if it was there, there is probably no chance I’ll ever see it again. Then I kind of stopped (looking) after that. It just brought tears to my eyes. After that I actually contacted Mike and spoke a little bit with Mike and Lisa on the phone. There are no words that can express how thankful I am. Never in a million years did I think I would see that ring again.”

The day came on May 2, when Howard and Donner shipped the ring back to Rosa after days of texting back-and-forth.

“It brought back so many beautiful memories and now it just holds so much more value to me because I have these wonderful people who looked for me for 10 years to get that ring back,” Rosa said. “Everytime I look at it I think about them too.”


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