Latest News

Perkinston alumna's class ring returning to family after 70 years

Audrey Rita Mendez lost her class ring from Perkinston Agricultural High School more than 70 years ago on Ship Island.

Mendez died in 2011, but her family will get the ring back today -- after it was found, then lost, then found again.

Mendez lost the ring during a 1943 senior class trip to Ship Island, an annual tradition.

Peter Skrmetta, whose family owns Ship Island Excursions, found the ring. He gave it to his mother, Beth, who kept it for years, intending to find its owner.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed her house. But she found the ring lying in the debris.

"I couldn't believe that I found that lost ring again," she said in a press release. "It was like it wanted to be found."

She contacted Charles Sullivan, an archivist with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Using the "PAHS" emblem in the center of the ring, the "1943" on the sides and the monogram "ARM" inscribed in the band, Sullivan was able to identify Mendez as the owner.

"I knew who that ring belonged to within 10 minutes," he said.

He searched through more documents and records and found more information.

Mendez attended Perkinston during 1942 and 1943, graduating Aug. 31, 1943. Her nickname was "Jimmie" and she was a member of the glee club, the YWCA and the Newman Club.

She entered Perkinston Junior College on Sept. 7, 1943, and graduated May 23, 1945.

After World War II, she married Robert Covington, a high school football coach, and the two moved frequently. They ended up in Converse, Texas. She died on March 14, 2011.

After learning the name of her husband from an obituary, Sullivan contacted her family.

Much of her family is coming to Mississippi this weekend to see the high school, college and Coast where she grew up -- and to retrieve her ring.