by Nina Hinrichs
Answer: SILVER PLATE
The title Ringmaster hints that the puzzle lines are referring to the MIT Brass Rat (class ring). The ring design changes every year, and the references are all to objects that uniquely appear on the bezel ("face") of the rings from years 2001 ("start of the new millennium") through 2021. Each of these rings is then converted to a letter to get the message BEAUFORT LOGJAMS.
|wise owl of Athena||2002||B|
|five petaled flower||2001||A|
|fire-hose full of water||2021||U|
|starry sky above, with swirly decorations and stars that twinkle||2006||F|
|a mobius strip||2015||O|
|grand train from Harry Potter emitting puffs of smoke||2018||R|
|globe ... the continent Pangaea||2020||T|
|timepiece shaped like an infinity symbol||2012||L|
|the first astronaut to walk on the moon ... a solitary footprint||2015||O|
|a full moon reflected in the [water]||2007||G|
|the planet earth, with a star indicating the location of our [school]||2001||A|
Applying the Beaufort cipher with keyword LOGJAMS to the cipher text at the end of the puzzle yields:
Look in wooden bridge riverbank grass columns citgo sign grass tree banner sidewalk columns kresge
Looking again at the class rings, one should notice that each of these locations holds the acronym IHTFP on exactly one ring.
Look in wooden bridge (2003), riverbank (2008), grass (2001), columns (2018), citgo sign (2019), grass (2001), tree (2006), banner (2020), sidewalk (2005), columns (2018), kresge (2007).
Taking the years as letters yields the message CHARS AFTER G.
Looking at the puzzle text for all the letters which follow a "G" gives the puzzle answer SILVER PLATE.