ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A Highland High School alumni, who lost his class ring more than three decades ago, finally has it back and it’s all thanks to a stranger.
As Keith Smith walks toward Highland High School in Albuquerque, he glances up at the historic entrance. Memories from his past then start racing back.
Smith graduated as a Highland Hornet in 1979 and he still remembers the strong friendships he built in high school.
“The group from drama became the family that many of us didn’t really have at the time,” said Smith.
Drama is what Smith said helped him get through his teenage years. That’s why when it was time to order his class ring; he had the iconic image of a drama mask engraved into his ring.
“It was a big part of my life,” he said.
But Smith lost his class ring about two years after he got it and he has been searching for it ever since.
“That was about 34 years ago,” said Smith. “After five, ten, years you figure there is no possibility that you are ever going to see it again.”
That changed in early November when Loretta Chavez posted a picture of a lost Highland High School class ring on Facebook.
Chavez told KRQE News 13 her ex-husband found the ring while doing construction along I-40 about 10 years ago.
“I have searched for the owner, but with no luck,” said Chavez in an interview in early November.
After News 13 ran the story about the lost ring, Smith said people from around the state started reaching out to him.
“Thee different people contacted me. Two of them saw the story on Channel 13 and said I saw your name on TV,” said Smith.
Chavez returned the class ring to Smith this week.
“It was amazing. It was just like seeing something that you never thought you would ever see again and there it was,” he said.
Smith said he now wants to pay the favor forward.
He has a friend named M’Lee from Highland High School who lost her class ring too. He’s hoping this story will help her find it. Smith said he’s not sure how he lost his ring.
He treated Chavez with a Starbucks gift card for finding and returning it to him.