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Celebrating Three Years of Friendship: A Ring Day Story

Thankful for the friendship and support she’s received through her scholarship, Therese Wales ‘22 is celebrating her Ring Day with her scholarship donor Helen Jenswold.

By Mia Mercer ‘23

Photo of Therese and family

Coming from a family of Aggies, Wales always knew she would be one too. Now she’s had the opportunity to share her Aggie Ring Day with her freshman year scholarship donor.

Agricultural communications and journalism major Therese Wales ‘22 always knew she would come to Texas A&M University. Coming from a family of Aggies, she loved learning about the Aggie traditions and dreamed of one day getting her “Aggie gold.” Now having completed 90 hours of hard work, Wales’ dreams are coming true and she gets to celebrate her Ring Day with all the people who helped her along the way, including her scholarship donor Helen Jenswold. 

After receiving the Bernice E. Powell Endowed Scholarship Trust her freshman year, Wales was invited to speak about the scholarship at a banquet. There she met Jenswold and the two have remained friends since then. To honor their friendship and the impact Jenswold has had on her college career, Wales asked Jenswold to present her Aggie Ring to her on Ring Day. 

I’ve been waiting for my Aggie Ring my entire life,” Wales shared. “It symbolizes all the work both in school and in paying for college that I’ve put into getting this ring and in a way, Helen directly affected and helped me get my ring. My freshman year she helped fund me and my hard work so I didn’t have to worry about money and I could focus on my studies. She’s a friend who’s helped me so much, so it’s exciting to be able to share this day with her.”

Since becoming a trustee for the Bernice E. Powell Endowed Trust, Jenswold developed an interest in getting to know the Texas A&M student recipients through avenues provided by the College of Liberal Arts. One of these avenues included the 2018 Fall Meeting where Jenswold and Wales first met each other. 

“This program arranged for scholarship students to be interspersed at tables with the guests so we could get to know each other, and at my table were two students, one of which was Therese who was one of the student speakers at the event,” Jenswold said. “I was so impressed with her ability to address an audience of mostly donors, alumni and faculty and do so well as a freshman student on campus. As Therese spoke, someone at my table said ‘she is a Powell Scholarship student,’ which was the first time I became aware of who she was.”

After Wales finished her speech, Jenswold said they had an immediate connection and decided to stay in touch. Since then they have grown closer just by checking in on each other, going out for lunch, and even making Christmas cookies together at Jenswold’s house.  

“I’ve gotten to know her and a little about her family,” Jenswold said. “I value her friendship and the fact that she’s let me into her life, and I just value knowing her. It’s been a very rewarding relationship and I think if all students graduate from Texas A&M and represent the school the way she does, the proud Aggie spirit will continue to shine brightly.”

Helen Jenswold presents Therese Wales her Aggie ring.

Jenswold presents Wales’ Aggie ring to her on Ring Day.

When the time came for Wales to order her Aggie Ring, she discovered she could choose a volunteer to give her her ring. Remembering that Jenswold had volunteered with the Association of Former Students, Wales reached out to her and asked if she would volunteer to give her her Aggie Ring. 

“I asked Helen to give me my ring because we’ve been in contact for a long time and friends for a long time now,” Wales shared. “Whenever I was ordering my ring and signing up for a time, I asked her ‘hey what time are you going to be volunteering? I would really like you to be there.’ So she signed up to volunteer for the same time as me so she could be there whenever I was.”

As the time approaches for Wales to finally receive her “Aggie gold”, she said she couldn’t be more excited especially since she gets to share this day with Jenswold. 

“Sharing my Ring Day with Helen makes the experience more meaningful to me because I really enjoy the friendship that we’ve built over these past three years,” Wales said. “It’s nice having a friend in general, but also someone who’s lived life and experienced life and can provide advice. She’s just someone who I know is in my corner and who I can reach out to and will always be there for me.”