From the Nominator
"The West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG) is the alumni association for the United States Military Academy (USMA) and exists to support the academy and the Long Gray Line of West Point graduates.
The tradition of West Point class rings began in 1835. Graduates treasure their class rings as symbols of their achievement, service, and inclusion in the Long Gray Line. The awarding of a West Point ring is an honor earned. With the Association of Graduates Class Ring Memorial Program (CRMP), “Ring Melt,” it is also an honor returned, as families of deceased graduates donate their loved one’s ring to this program.
The annual “Ring Melt” is CRMP's premiere event. At it, gold from graduates’ donated rings is melted with a portion of all previously donated rings, which is then later incorporated into the gold used for the next graduating cadet class’s rings. Since this program began, 740 rings have been donated, and it remains a tangible connection for members of the Long Gray Line.
WPAOG needed a way to show the ring melt process. This video was created on location and then immediately shown to the ring donors during the live-streaming of the Ring Melt ceremony. The music played is the third stanza of our alma mater and echoes the sentiments of the purpose of the Ring Melt: that the shared values and experiences of generations of West Point graduates are made manifest—literally stamped in gold—to inspire the next generation of leaders."
From the Judges
Judges appreciated the unique tradition highlighted in this video and unique shots of the ring melting process. The tradition, video, and music told an impactful story that was moving and increased knowledge of and participation in future ring melt ceremonies.