‘Doing the right thing:’ Heroic elementary students, staff reunite woman with lost engagement ring

Horizon Elementary School, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Emily Holt, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A St. George woman who was recently engaged is singing the praises of Horizon Elementary students and staff for “doing the right thing,” after her ring was lost on the school’s playground.

Carol Van Horn was thrilled and excited when about three weeks ago she was proposed to, she said, but her ring didn’t quite fit. Still, she wanted to wear it so she promised herself she would be really careful.

Despite her best intentions, the paraprofessional lost the ring while working on recess duty at the school.

“When I realized I lost the ring … I never felt anything like that before,” Van Horn said.

When a distraught Van Horn notified the school of the missing ring, staff and students immediately went into action.

Horizon Elementary School, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Emily Holt, St. George News

The day she lost the engagement ring, some of Van Horn’s co-workers came out with a flashlight as the sun edged toward the horizon to search the grounds.

The following day, several students arrived early for school to help look. Two fourth-grade classes got down on their hands and knees and crawled through the grass looking for it, Van Horn said.

Another co-worker had her husband bring a metal detector to aid in the search, and secretaries at the school sent emails to all the teachers and parents asking for their help in finding the missing jewelry, Van Horn said, adding that the whole school and their families were involved.

“What Horizon Elementary School did for me was incredible,” Van Horn said.

Van Horn said that she had witnessed the community do amazing things for others, but she never knew they would do such amazing things for her.

While the search continued, third-grade teacher Emily Holt read the email and was prompted to pause her lessons and encourage her class to use their lunch break to go on an elaborate “scavenger hunt” to find it, she said. She also asked if anyone had seen or found a ring that could possibly be Van Horn’s.

Eager to help, Holt said that a few of her students raised their hands in response to her query

One kid had found a large plastic costume diamond in the wood chips and turned it in. Another boy whose hand was raised said that he had been playing with some kids from another third-grade class the day before and a ring was found.

As it turned out, a boy from the other class had taken that ring home to show his mom.

With the hope that the ring was the same one Van Horn had lost, Holt had an aide watch her class while she went to talk to the other kid.

Within minutes, the boy’s mother had been reached by phone and the ring was brought to the school.

Van Horn was out combing through the wood chips on the playground desperately looking, she said, when she got a text from the secretaries that it had been found.

“I can’t even tell you how good that felt,” Van Horn said, adding that by the time she got to the office, everyone was crying.

They had cried with her the day before when she was sad and they cried with her again when she was happy, she said.

“I was like, you love me that much?” Van Horn said. “The way that they all pulled together, my gosh.”

Holt, who witnessed the reunion, said she went back to her class and told them how much it meant that they spoke up and did the right thing.

“Doing the right thing, saying something, makes a difference,” Holt said. “She was able to have her ring back where she thought she would never see it again.”

The school, whose mascot is the Heroes, teaches the value of intrinsic motivation to their students as part of the curriculum, Van Horn said. A value which she is incredibly grateful for today.

“That was the epitome of what they are teaching them,” Van Horn said, “It’s incredible.”

The ring is now at the jewelry shop where it is getting sized.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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