The sun had yet to rise as Quakertown Community High School freshman Laniya Morton was walking to school.
As she entered the school parking lot on Sixth Street she saw something shiny on the ground, but walked past it. Something, however, made her turn around and pick it up.
“It had some sparkle to it and was very pretty,” Laniya said.
Indeed. Laniya, not knowing the jewelry’s value, had just found a missing engagement ring. The ninth-grader walked into the school’s main office and handed it to secretary Connie Derewal.
Later that morning, Derewal received a phone call from Pfaff secretary Barb Chadwick, whose daughter, Madi Chadwick, is an assistant with the Panther Marching Band. Chadwick, whose wedding is scheduled for Nov. 3, had lost her ring during band practice in the school parking lot the previous evening and had frantically been searching for it.
Because of her job, Chadwick spends a lot of time in her car and had driven as far away as Pottsville that day. She searched her vehicle and called each of the stops she made that day leaving her contact information.
“It was a long day and I was certain it was in my car but we just could not find it,” she said. “I know it’s a little big but we have busy schedules and haven’t had the time to get it resized. I fidget with it all the time. I’m aware of it almost all the time.”
Chadwick and her fiance, Roger Acuna, are both percussion coaches for the band. Trying to lift her spirits, he told her “It’s just a ring, I’ll buy you a bigger one.”
“I was fairly certain someone found it and probably pocketed it,” Chadwick said.
The next morning she called her mom, who then called the high school. “They have a ring already,” Barb Chadwick said. “Somebody already turned it in this morning.”
“I was pretty emotional,” Madi Chadwick said. “I’m amazed that it was found. I am just so thankful. I thought I was going to have my wedding day without my ring.”
She said she would write Laniya a thank you: “She really made my day and saved me.”
The story has another twist. It was the two-year anniversary of the day Derewal’s husband passed away. “I needed a happy ending and that was it. When Laniya told me what happened I was bawling my eyes out. It’s still pretty dark at that time of the morning and it was a miracle that she even saw it. People could have driven over it, you never know what could happen. Greater forces at work, definitely.
“What a good kid,” she said of Laniya. “Oh my gosh, she did a wonderful thing.”
“I wish the lady a lot of love,” said Laniya. “That is her engagement ring, and she’s about to have the happiest day of her life. I hope she has a great wedding and a happy life.”
Gary Weckselblatt is director of communications for Quakertown Community School District.