Grace Hoffman
 Brittan Porterfield
Grace Hoffman, elementary and special education major from Gary, and Brittan Porterfield, English education major from Sturgis, will be honored as the highest ranking students during the Black Hills State University Fall 2012 commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. in the Donald E. Young Sports and Fitness Center.


They are among the 208 candidates for graduation who will be recognized for completion of their University degrees.


Both Hoffman and Porterfield were actively involved in internships, research, campus activities and organizations complimenting their high academic achievement.


While earning her degree, Hoffman mentored a local middle school student and participated in Campus Ventures, a BHSU campus ministry. She traveled to Nepal in 2010 to help teach English to elementary school students. Hoffman has been honored with a South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship, a TEACH Grant Award and the Vucurevich Presidential Scholarship.


While attending BHSU, she worked at Kids Club, an afterschool program at Spearfish’s West Elementary, and as a ski instructor at Terry Peak. She also did an internship in 2011 as a park ranger in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska.


She said she loved going to school at BHSU and being a part of the Spearfish community. “The best parts were studying something I care about, the professors, getting involved in Campus Ventures, and the town of Spearfish," Hoffman said.


After graduation, she plans to teach special education in western South Dakota or Wyoming.


Porterfield came to BHSU for the small class sizes and noted that the individual instruction he received from the professors was instrumental to his success.


During his time at BHSU, Porterfield spent two years working in the Writing Center which helped him prepare for his career in the education field.  His research was featured in the 2011 Black Hills Research Symposium. The title of his oral presentation was “Droppin’Dimes”: Hegemonic Masculinity and Economic Mobility within Walter Dean Myers’ Basketball Stories.

He also played recreational flag football and basketball.


“At BHSU, I learned from the wonderful professors, who spent considerable time working with me on an individual basis,” he said.


Porterfield plans to teach high school English for a couple years and then pursue a master’s degree in literature.