By Zoe Newmann
A rain garden project at Parkside Elementary School led to an amazing discovery of a lost graduation ring from 2011.
The ring was discovered by fifth grader Gavin Peters in Mrs. Dzirvowicz’s class. He found the ring Thursday, May 31, while helping tend to the new rain garden. Parkside’s principal Larry Watters did his research and found that the ring belongs to 2011 Rockford High School graduate Chris J. Koolinga. Koolinga used to live beside the elementary school and attended there as a student.
Watters googled his last name and discovered Chris’s mother had passed at age 56 and learned that her sister in law works in the kitchen at North Rockford
“It was weird; I was just digging and there it was,” Peters said with a big smile on his face. “I have never found anything like this in my life.” “It is a treasure lost and found!”
If Peters could say anything to Chris Koolinga he would say he hopes that his ring falls into the right hands again and that they can
The rain garden projected started because of the Parkside Elementary fifth graders. They sent a request to the environmental company Trout Unlimited for a grant to fund the project. The school received a $3,000 grant and has successfully put in a rain garden filled with native Michigan plants.
The class ring has not been returned yet, but family members of the owner have been contacted. Watters is hopeful that it will be returned soon.