A Look Back at 2019

We’re feeling pretty nostalgic at St. Joseph’s Indian School. The calendar year is coming to an end and we are filled with so much thankfulness and gratitude … because of you!

You helped bring so much joy to over 200 Lakota (Sioux) boys and girls over the past year. So many successes took place and as we gaze upon the year ahead, we know we can do great things because of how far we’ve come.

Take a look as we highlight two great things you helped make possible each month at St. Joseph’s during 2019 …


  • St. Joseph’s Indian School was awarded the honor of Top-Rated Charity by GreatNonprofits.
  • St. Joseph’s provided assistance to families on reservations during a record-breaking cold snap.


  • Mickey McGrath visited campus to paint a mural with St. Joseph’s students in the school Health Center. The mural featured the Virgin Mary with the Christ child, Saint Kateri and Nicholas Black Elk.
  • Students took part in an animal rescue team to help neglected dogs find new homes.
The room was filled with visionaries, including Martin Luther King Jr.


  • St. Joseph’s students joined over 120 other archery shooters during the Dakota Oyáte Challenge (DOC). We had many students win and take home trophies and medals.
  • Third grade students hosted their wax museum – embodying the famous faces of Sally Ride, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amelia Earhart and others.


  • St. Joseph’s sent numerous truck and trailer loads of supplies to reservation communities effected by spring flooding.
  • Students flew to Baltimore to spread their St. Joseph’s story and to sightsee a new place.


  • Twenty-three eighth grade students received their completion certificates and seven students graduated from high school!
  • Seventh grade students embarked on the annual cultural trip to view places where their ancestors once lived, worked and prayed.


  • We hosted the 2019 Rising Eagle Day Camp for children living on two neighboring reservations. We hosted 1,500 students, served 3,000 healthy meals and snacks and traveled 1,200-plus miles on the road transporting children to and from our campus.
  • Summer school took place on campus, with numerous students taking classes – some even driver’s education!


  • A group of upperclassmen journeyed to Germany as part of our annual exchange program with Gymnasium Leonium in Handrup.
  • Our Bookmobile completed its tour to seven South Dakota reservations after stopping in 37 communities distributing free books!


  • The first day of the 2019-20 school year began August 12.
  • Co-pilot Program kicked into gear, pairing a returning student with a new student. Returning students do a fine job helping new students feel at home.


  • We hosted our 43rd Annual Powwow, welcoming hundreds of donors, family members and friends to campus.
  • Fifth grade students developed a love for science during Starbase Camp. The student spent several weeks conducting science experiments and studying new scientific principles.


  • Students celebrated Native American Day by focusing on their traditions, heritage and stories.
  • The school celebrated Red Ribbon Week by decorating campus tree with red ribbons and having a fun party with loads of bounce houses all in the name of staying drug and alcohol free!


  • Students celebrated All Souls Day by remembering loved ones who have passed on by making prayer ties and displaying them in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.
  • Students gave back to a local nursing home by spending time with elderly residents.


  • Students picked-out Christmas gifts for their siblings, parents/guardians and grandparents at our campus Christmas Store. Staff members helped students wrap their gifts that will be given to families on Christmas morning.
  • Students performed their winter dance and music recitals.

It’s been quite the year and recap is just a short snapshot at what took place. As we look to the year 2020 we have just one thing to say to you … Wóphila tȟaŋka – many thanks – for making a difference to Native American children at St. Joseph’s.

Want to see updates about the great things happening at our school as they happen? Follow us on Facebook by going to www.stjo.org/facebook!

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

5 thoughts on “A Look Back at 2019”

  1. Thank you for your continued support, Kathie! We are always happy to hear from friends who wish to visit St. Joseph’s Indian School. We welcome the opportunity to share our accomplishments, made possible by the generosity of caring friends, like you. Please visit our website at stjo.org/visiting, or call 1-800-798-3452 with any questions or to set up a tour when you decide on the date!

  2. Your school is doing a wonderful job and I compliment u over and over but unfortunately I’m leaving the country and my future address is unknown so if could company would and could would you please REMOVE ME FROM YOUR MAILING LIST my information is as followed; Troy Powell
    2472 Reesedale Rd
    Elliston VA 24087

    Sincerely Regards

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