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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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The Northgate district right adjacent to the Texas A&M campus houses a street of bars and other restaurants.  
Programs look to combat drunk driving
Alexia Serrata, JOUR 203 contributor • May 10, 2024
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Junior Mary Stoiana reacts during Texas A&M’s match against Oklahoma at the NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional at Mitchell Tennis Center on Sunday, May 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
No. 13 A&M upsets No. 5 Virginia in dominant fashion 4-1
Roman Arteaga, Sports Writer • May 17, 2024

No. 13 Texas A&M women’s tennis met Virginia in the quarterfinal of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 17 at the Greenwood Tennis Center...

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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
Bee-hind the scenes
Shalina Sabih, Sports Writer • May 1, 2024

The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
'I was terrified'
April 25, 2024
Scenes from 74
Scenes from '74
April 25, 2024
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Ring Dance: then to now

Caroline Schrodt stood nervously holding her breath. Slowly her brother inched the zipper up the back of the dress. She waited to see if the relic would fit and once again be worn beneath the Aggie Ring.
Schrodt had searched her grandparents’ old Victorian home many times before, but this time a tuft of lace exposed from a yellow hanging bag had revealed the dress’ long forgotten hiding place.
Nearly 51 years ago, Schrodt’s grandmother, Clara, had worn this dress on a special night. Now Schrodt, in memory of her grandmother, would wear the delicate blue dress to her Ring Dance – the same event, the same dress, separated by time.
Ring Dance is an annual event at Texas A&M University celebrating the tradition of the senior class receiving their Aggie Rings. The event has grown and evolved with each class that has celebrated the time-honored tradition. What began as a party has become the largest class fundraiser on campus.
The event began on May 15, 1936, when a group of seniors decided to create a way to celebrate the honor of receiving their Aggie Rings and their time together on campus.
Nick Dokos, Schrodt’s grandfather, chuckled as he spoke about the memory.
“We had a real good time,” he said. “Just being an Aggie and being there was something to share.”
He and Clara attended the celebration with his graduating class in 1957.
“It was just one big room, and they had the ring set up on one side. I’m sure there was an orchestra there.”
Over time the event incorporated a second room and a rock band in 1978.
Patricia Wehner, who graduated in 1968, has worked in the Student Activities Department for over 10 years and marvels at how the event has evolved since her own Ring Dance.
“For one thing, it’s gone from being in Sbisa, which is one room, to taking up the MSC,” Wehner said.
She added that there used to be more chaperones, mostly professors and their wives, watching over the students.
Rooms were added as the campus and student body grew. By 1998, Ring Dance included eight rooms and a variety of entertainment.
Today, Ring Dance takes place in six rooms spanning the Memorial Student Center and the Rudder Complex. The entertainment exceeds the original orchestra and now boasts three live bands, karaoke, a DJ, a casino and a final yell practice at the end of the affair.
“I can’t believe it’s in six rooms!” Dokos said. He marveled at how the event and the campus had changed.
“Oh Lord mercy, it really has changed. It’s like going from LaGrange to New York City!”
Perhaps the most well-known part of Ring Dance is the Aggie Ring replica, under which students and their dates take pictures. After stepping through, the students’ rings are turned so the class year faces the world and the moment is marked by a kiss.
“I love going to watch the photography,” Wehner said, smiling at the romantic moments she has seen. She even witnessed a few engagements under the ring she said.
Brian Rose, who graduated in December of 1982, attended his Ring Dance earlier that year. He remembered the restaurant they ate at before the festivities, the band that played, the giant ring replica and the chance to spend a special night with his friends.
“Just the tradition of it,” Rose said. “At that point, I was so proud to have my ring and the process was winding down. I just wanted to be a part of it.”
His eldest daughter is now a sophomore at A&M and in two years will be able to take part in the same tradition and spirit that captured her father.
The event originally cost nothing for students and served as an evening of celebration. Now, all proceeds from the night are donated to the University in the form of the class gift. The gift from Dokos’ year was a President’s Endowed scholarship and Rose’s class gift was a series of picnic tables in Spence Park.
The class gift from the Class of 2008 is an endowment to Muster and the restoration of Fish Pond on campus.
“It’s really important for the class to be able to come together and give back to the University that’s given us so much,” said Megan Hinshaw, the Class of 2008 gift chairwoman.
Hinshaw said that the class gift represents a culmination of the work that the class has done during its time on campus and the impact it will leave behind.
“It’s important that we raise money not for ourselves, but for the University.”
On April 4, thousands more eager seniors will receive their rings, displaying their efforts and hard work while at the University. Though the event has changed and grown over time, the joy and anticipation of the night remains.
“It was a real pleasure that we had a Ring Dance,” Dokos said. “That’s how I look at it.”
Schrodt lit up as she talked about wearing her dress and how special this night would be.
“What I’m most excited about is getting to wear the dress and take a picture similar to theirs,” she said.
She had grown up looking at pictures of her grandparents holding hands beneath the golden ring, and now it is her time. Her Ring Dance has come.

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