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Proverbial “needle” in haystack returned nearly half century after it was lost

Lost Dacula HS ring reunited with alumni

Proverbial “needle” in haystack returned nearly half century after it was lost

August 29, 2017

     Forty-six years ago, a Dacula High School graduate lost what at the time was his most prized possession at Stone Mountain Park. At 9:15 a.m. on Thursday, August 31, at Dacula High School, Mark Knowlton will get it back. 

     Knowlton lost his high school class ring in 1971 while working the railroad at Stone Mountain Park. Despite his best efforts and the use of a metal detector, Knowlton never found his ring but a woman, who doesn’t want her name shared, did sometime between 1982 and 1985. The woman kept the ring in a drawer she rarely used, stumbling upon it infrequently. Even though she moved from Atlanta she never threw the ring away. 

     On Monday, August 21, the unidentified woman opened the drawer and decided “finding the owner was a now-or-never” situation. She looked up Dacula High’s directory online and contacted Alex Kesler, a Language Arts teacher and the senior class advisor at the school. While Kesler did not have an alumni list, she had the power of a social network. Within five hours of posting information on the school’s social media outlets, Knowlton was found. In replying to Kesler’s post about the found ring, Knowlton reported the stone was cracked when he lost it and that his initials were engraved on the inside. That description matches the ring that was found. 

     Even though the good Samaritan who found the ring doesn’t want any credit or attention for what she did, and won’t be at Dacula High when Kesler presents Knowlton with the ring, Kesler says she deserves to be praised. “The finder is an amazing woman and just hopes Mr. Knowlton will forgive her for keeping the ring so long,” Kesler said. “What she has done for Mr. Knowlton by holding on to the ring is amazing. What social media and our Dacula online community has done to return it to him is inspiring.” 

     In another twist to this story, Kesler actually taught Mr. Knowlton’s son at Dacula High School 17 years ago, bringing the story about this ring full circle. 

     For additional information or to inquire about the meeting to return the ring contact Bernard Watson, director of community relations, at 678-301-6020.




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