Two Black Hills State University students will receive the Gage McSpadden TRIO Essay Scholarship this fall. The scholarship is in memory of McSpadden, a TRIO student and athlete at BHSU who was killed by a lightning strike in 2015.
Molly Graesser, exercise science major from Gregory, and Kaitlyn Kumpf, elementary education major from Hemingford, Neb., are this year’s TRIO scholarship recipients. Both students are part of TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) at BHSU, a program designed provide services for first generation college students who are income eligible.
Molly is working to earn her exercise science degree from BHSU to become an occupational therapist. With tutoring assistance through SSS, she was able raise her grade in an Anatomy and Physiology course.
“I am glad to receive the advising services that the TRIO office offers. Tutoring continues to be beneficial as I have the peace of mind in knowing that I can get those services for any class that I am struggling in before it is too late, and I am encouraged to do so,” says Molly.
Kaitlyn says her past struggles in school will give her an advantage in her chosen career of teaching. Initially anxious to begin college because of dyslexia, Kaitlyn says the help she received from SSS in setting up her class schedule was a major factor in her success. She succeeded at both her math and English classes with the help of great tutors at BHSU.
“My dream of becoming a teacher and being an advocate for students that struggle becomes more of a reality as each semester at BHSU passes,” says Kaitlyn. “Hopefully I can make the difference in someone’s life, just as the SSS Program counselors and tutors have done for me.”
The Gage McSpadden TRIO Essay Scholarship is funded by SSS staff and friends of the SSS Program at BHSU.
Gage often shared with others how he came to BHSU as an average student and athlete and became the best student and athlete he could be. He contributed toward other students’ success
as an SSS peer tutor in exercise science and as a peer mentor for new students in the SSS Program. Gage set his personal goals, worked hard to achieve them, and inspired others to do the same.
The fourth annual Gage McSpadden “Sheriff” Memorial 5K Race/3K Walk will be held Saturday, Sept. 22. All proceeds from the race/walk go to the Gage McSpadden Memorial Scholarship Fund.