With A Little Help From Her Friends, Houston Aggie Finally Gets Her Ring
Scot Walker '90
May 17, 2013 12:02 PM
Photos: Tara J. Rollins ’01 and her friends posed on the Haynes Ring Plaza after Rollins received her Aggie Ring. Front row, from left: Freddie Wong '69, Lara Sterzing '92, Rollins, and Allison D. Rosen '02. Back row, from
left: Ryan A. Vance '01, Dan Hunsucker '94 and Lisa L. Read '79.
By Roberto M. Molar Candanosa '13
For 12 years after her graduation from Texas A&M, Tara J. Rollins ’01 lived a life full of the Aggie Spirit, although something important was missing—she had never been able to afford her Aggie Ring. But by living out the Aggie core value of selfless service,
Rollins grew close to a group of fellow former students who stepped in to ensure she could wear the most recognized symbol of the school she loves so much and the values she represents so well.
Rollins teaches at Kujawa Elementary School, an inner city school in Aldine Independent School District. Her experience there adds a unique perspective to her volunteer service with the Caring Aggie Mentoring Program. Rollins is a leading volunteer for C.A.M.P.,
an Aggie-founded and Houston-based organization of 120 active volunteers who mentor 300 children from disadvantaged economic backgrounds.
As a key player for the organization’s success, Rollins made many great friends in C.A.M.P., but she self-consciously tried to hide her right hand whenever she was around her fellow Aggies. And then one day she received a phone call from the Aggie Ring Office
at The Association of Former Students, letting her know that an anonymous donation had been made to cover almost the entire cost of her Aggie Ring.
While the specific donor or donors chose to remain anonymous, Rollins’ friends said the gesture shows appreciation for her contribution to the success of C.A.M.P.
“The growth of this program is no small part to what she has done throughout the many years helping us plan and take care of these kids,” fellow volunteer Dan Hunsucker ’94 said. “There would not be 300 kids and 120 volunteers if she was not part of the program.”
Watch the video as Rollins’ friends surprise her at her own private Aggie Ring Day.
• See more of what Tara Rollins '01 and her friends do for the C.A.M.P. program at
At long last, on May 10, Rollins visited the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center to receive her Aggie Ring. With her was her good friend Lisa L. Read ’79, and waiting inside was Freddie P. Wong ’69, another good friend and the founder of C.A.M.P.
After they picked up the box with her Aggie Ring from the Ring Office, Wong pulled Rollins into a conference room for what he said would be a “private” ceremony.
Rollins was confused. She wanted to put on her new Ring and did not know why Wong was delaying the big moment. Her confusion soon shifted to joy when she saw the gratifying surprise awaiting her inside the room. A group of her C.A.M.P. friends waited there
to greet and congratulate her. Hunsucker, Allison D. Rosen ’02, Lara Sterzing ’92 and Ryan A. Vance ’01 had all traveled from Houston to join Rollins for this special occasion.
Rollins thought about her Aggie Ring many times throughout the 12 years she went without it. Wearing it now is a great accomplishment for her—it as a symbol of friendship and being part of the Aggie Network. “The Ring is a matter of pride, the Aggie Spirit
and being part of the Aggie family—people recognize it everywhere,” she said.
Rollins, who received a master’s degree in educational technology from Texas A&M, attended the University of Houston as an undergraduate, but she said she never felt the warmth there she felt as a graduate student at Texas A&M. “I just know I can count on my
Aggie friends,” she explained. “I know I can trust the people because I know what we are made of. I know there’s the loyalty, the honesty and the trustworthiness.”
Rollins and her friends sat at a round table and enjoyed the moment. Out of habit, Rollins tried to hide her hand. Her friends laughed and jokingly let her know she did not have to do that anymore. Twelve years after graduation, she now wears her Aggie Ring