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King, Queen For a Day; Together for Life

September 2017 | by Craig DeVrieze MOL '16

When AJ Petersen suggested that his girlfriend and fellow St. Ambrose Homecoming Court member Sarah Jacob get her fingernails painted ahead of the Court's introduction at halftime of the Homecoming football game on Oct. 30, she might have had a hint at something nearly everyone on campus seemed to already know: If he won the voting for King and she were elected Queen, AJ planned to propose.

Sarah didn't see it coming, though. "I had no idea," she said after the emotional moment that followed her crowning by Sister Joan. "He did a good job. He pulled it off."

She said 'Yes,' of course. This love was meant to Bee.

The SAU seniors met during their second year here, when each lived in Franklin Hall. They started chatting at a Dan and Shay concert on campus and AJ made plans with Sarah's friends to meet up on Valentine's Day, when he would ask her out.

(Of course. He made plans. AJ's a planner. He suggested she should paint her nails while he was planning to propose. Seriously? The next guy who does that will be the second guy who does that. 😉)

"I knew we were serious from the start but the time I really knew I wanted to marry her was when I had an emergency appendectomy. She made sure she was at my side through everything. And she was my first thought when I woke up from surgery so I knew she was the one."

He bought a ring last summer just in case the perfect opportunity to propose arose. (Planner, remember.) "When I found out we were both on the Homecoming Court, I knew that was the perfect time," he said.

He let Campus Activities Director Jason Richter in on his plan to propose - but he was only going to do that if both Sarah and he were crowned. When Richter let him know they'd both won the voting, AJ suggested Sarah paint her nails and get her hair done.

And still, Sarah, a Forensic Psychology major from Green Valley, Ill., never suspected a thing. AJ, a Davenport native who majors in Behavioral Neuroscience and has plans to enroll in medical school, told Richter, a few professors, both of their families and about 15 close friends. "It sounds like now for sure the senior class of Ambrose knew all about it," he said. "Word spreads fast at a small school."

Both moms, Kelly Jacob and Dottie Petersen, were still emotional several minutes beyond watching AJ take a knee. "I wasn't surprised," Kelly said. "I'm just overwhelmed. St. Ambrose has been so good to us. And we're so happy to expand our family this way."

Added Dottie: "It's a blessing. These kids are so good together."

St. Ambrose is the natural place for a wedding to happen, Sarah admitted. But, for the record, AJ assures us he has no plan to have the wedding during Spring Commencement.

At least that's what he says now. We may keep an eye on Sarah's fingernails, just in case.


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