This has been a busy last few days. On Wednesday and Thursday of last week our eighth grade students had a day to shadow St. Joseph’s students attending Chamberlain High School. This is a great opportunity for the students to meet teachers and discover ways to get around the high school campus. As our eighth grade graduates get ready to move into our high school program, our seniors are getting ready to move on to college, vocational school and other educational avenues. On Wednesday afternoon a prayer service and reception will be held for our nine high school seniors. Their graduation ceremony is May 18th.
This past Sunday, I attended the awarding of the annual Distinguished Alumni Award to Mr. Sam Dupris of Bloomington, Minnesota. Sam attended St. Joseph’s from 1937-1942 along with several of his siblings. Sam told our students that the values and educational base he received while attending St. Joseph’s has helped him throughout his life. After a stint in the Army, he used the GI Bill to attend flight school and for more than 25 years spent time with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) working his way up the ranks to be captain and chief pilot. Sam is the first and only Native American to serve as a FAA pilot. He was inducted into the South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001 and South Dakota Hall of Fame in 2010.
This past Saturday, the annual Chamberlain High School Powwow was held at the new Chamberlain Community Center. Irene, a junior in our high school program, was selected to be Miss CHS Powwow. She joined, Mia and Cassidy, fellow St. Joseph’s high school girls to participate in the dancing. Our drum group also participated with music and songs for the celebration.
Many new faces are on campus as new staff is being interviewed and hired for next year. While we are happy to welcome them, it also means some of our ‘veterans’ will be moving on. Eleven will be retiring from St. Joseph’s with 114.5 combined years of service and dedication to our students.
You may remember I mentioned the Explorers were doing a car wash last weekend to raise money for new playground equipment at American Creek Campground. They washed 84 cars, made over $500 in tips and a little over $3,500 in pledges. Since June of 2002, they have raised a little over $79,500 to be used for audio visual equipment, projects to beautify the Chamberlain/Oacoma area, supporting meals on wheels and aid to local residents facing health issues.
I hope you have a positive week while finding ways to draw closer to those you care about and taking that first step in reaching out to make a new friend. May God’s blessings continue to be with you!
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ