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July 22, 2015

Class ring reunited with Kennewick graduate

Sharon Herndon, a 1967 Kennewick High School graduate, has been reunited with her school class ring 48 years after she lost it in the Columbia River.

Herndon says that she was swimming at the Finley Lagoon, known as Hover Park on the Columbia River, a few weeks after graduating when she removed the ring to show a friend.

“I took it off to show to a friend and it fell into the water,” she says. “I never saw it again until today.”

Fortunately for Herndon, Pasco resident Juan Manzo recently found her ring using a metal detector while wading waste deep in the lagoon.  Soon after, he contacted the Kennewick School District hoping to return the ring to its rightful owner.

“I knew that she would be excited and happy about having her ring back,” says Manzo. “It’s in great shape and you can tell it has been in the water because it is slightly tarnished.”

The ring was a graduation gift from Herndon’s parents and it was personalized with her birthstone and initials.

“It wasn’t an easy thing for my parents to buy at that time,” she says. “I am the eldest of four children and the only one who got a class ring.”

District employees were able to quickly identify Herndon as the likely owner after looking in the 1967 Kennewick High School yearbook and matching the initials to her name. After that, a phone call was made to her home.

“At first, I thought the phone call was a hoax, so I texted a friend who has worked in the Kennewick School District and she verified that the employee who called me really works there,” says Herndon.

The school district arranged for Herndon to meet Manzo this week so he could meet her and give her the ring in person at the district office.

Herndon says the timing of getting her ring back could not be better. “My class is currently making plans for our 50th reunion.”