BHSU crowns new Swarm Days Queen and King

Bradley Branson, elementary education major from Riverton, Wyo., and Sarah Maka, elementary education major from Sioux Falls, were crowned the 2017 Black Hills State University Swarm Days King and Queen during coronation Thursday, Sept. 7.

Black Hills State University students Sarah Maka, elementary education major from Sioux Falls, and Bradley Branson, elementary education major from Riverton, Wyo., were crowned the 2017 Swarm Days Queen and King at coronation Thursday evening.

Maka is a Taekwondo instructor and a founding member of the BHSU Jacket Pack, a student group to promote school spirit on campus and in the community. She has also served as President of Wenona Cook Hall and a tour guide to incoming students.

Maka is finishing classes at BHSU this semester before beginning her student teaching at Creekside Elementary in the spring. Following her work with third graders at Creekside, Maka plans to complete her student teaching in Costa Rica.

"I was the only student from my high school to venture to BHSU in 2014. It did not take me long to meet new people and find new friends who were just as excited as I was to be at Black Hills State," says Maka. "It has been such a journey to see myself grow and develop as a student leader and a well-rounded adult. I have BHSU and all of the great people here to thank for that."

Branson has served as a Resident Assistant in Thomas Hall for two years where he helps to oversee the residence hall community at BHSU. He has also represented the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences as part of BHSU Student Senate.

Branson says the teacher preparation program at BHSU and the passion of the professors makes him excited for his future as an educator.

"Attending BHSU has been the best choice I could have ever made," says Branson. "Black Hills State University, where [I am] growing and becoming the best young adult you can imagine."

Candidates for Swarm Days Queen included: Megan Gayer, human services and sociology major from Sioux Falls Mahyle Hausman, elementary education major from Estelline Ariel Pozorski, secondary English education major from Rapid City and Katelyn Woten, professional accountancy major from Potter, Neb.

Candidates for Swarm Days King included: Brady Chase, elementary education major from Redfield Patrick Matteson, Spanish major from Chaska, Minn. and Sam Suess, economics and finance major from Rapid City.

Following coronation, students gathered for the traditional burning of the "B-H". Swarm Week festivities continue Friday with the Alumni Awards Luncheon and the Yellow Jacket Hall of Fame Banquet.

Saturday the Swarm Days Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the Donald E. Young Center Parking Lot. The Parade will proceed down St. Joe Street, Jackson Blvd. and then Main Street. Community members are invited to a tailgate social at 11:15 a.m. on the Joy Center Patio. Lunch will be available for $10 per person. The Swarm Days football game vs. Fort Lewis College begins at 1 p.m. at Lyle Hare Stadium.

For a full schedule of Swarm Days activities, go to