I have the privilege to share with you what has been happening here at St. Joseph’s over this past weekend since Fr. Steve, several of our Native American students and some of our staff have been on a donor luncheon in the Napa Valley area of California.
From the students’ point of view, the biggest thing on campus is the start of the boys’ basketball and the girls’ intercity basketball seasons. The boys kicked off the season against Lyman here at the rec center and St. Joseph’s came out victorious with the 7th and 8th grade teams, but our 6th graders came up a few points short. The 7th & 8th grade teams also had the honor of being invited to attend a recent Chamberlain High School (CHS) basketball game, on which several St. Joseph students are playing, and sit behind the varsity bench and visit the locker room. This came about since the CHS team had been able to use our gym to do some practicing and the coach came up with this as a way of saying thanks. The girls’ intercity began this past Sunday with young ladies from the Chamberlain, South Dakota area joining with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. They are divided up into four teams. Their season will run through the start of March. You may recall that when the boys had their season they had a special five-minute quarter for those who were 6th graders so they had the chance to play a bit; but the girls are trying out a different wrinkle in that each player has to play in each quarter. The coaches are trying to sub so that each plays about 3 minutes per quarter. The purpose of the intercity is to give the young ladies a chance to get to know each other so that when they meet up in high school they will already know something about the new classmates.
Another sports activity, geared to give our students something to do during the months that there should be snow outside, is our bowling program. Again this is offered to the students in the upper grades on Saturday afternoons with staff serving as team captains and coaches. The students enjoy it since there are quarters to be won for strikes and picking up the various splits that occur. The local alley also offers a choice of free drink or nachos if one of the participants gets a strike when a special pin is the head pin. To keep things on an even keel, each bowler has a handicap so that extra pins are given to make it as even as possible at the start.
The weather finally turned a bit winter-like. We received some snow and cold temperatures mid-week which allowed the students to hit the slopes and try out their sleds and ski boards received when they opened their ‘Christmas gifts.’ They enjoyed being out of the homes going up and down the hills. The joy they experienced reminds me to again say,
‘Pilamaya – thank you’ for your generosity towards our students.
It was amazing how generous you were and how excited the students were to be pulling apart paper and ribbons to see what else “Santa” brought them. Fr. Steve and I enjoyed having the chance to go to the various homes on campus to see the excitement.
However, the change in weather also brought some tragedy to the local Chamberlain community. Since we have had such a mild winter, the arrival of snow and ice did cause a few accidents. One especially, touched many here in Chamberlain as the pastor of the local United Church of Christ, Rev. Gregg King, was killed as he and his wife were taking their daughter to the airport in Sioux Falls. He lost control, crossed the meridian and hit an on-coming vehicle. Several of our staff are members of that local Faith community. We ask that you keep Reverend King in your prayers.
The new Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, the Most Rev. Robert Gruss, is scheduled to take place next week. He has just recently been installed as Bishop. The Diocese of Rapid City covers all the state of South Dakota west of the Missouri River. As many of our students come from West River areas, Bishop Gruss is their shepherd.
May the Great Spirit continue to bless and reward you for your generosity towards St. Joseph’s. I hope each of you have a great day and that your new year is offer to a wonderful start. Am happy to have had this chance to share with you some of what is happening here on campus. Looking forward to the next time I can share with you.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
St. Joseph’s Indian School