I’m back on campus after two weeks on the road!
I started with a visit to my oncologist at the Mayo Clinic. All the test results looked good, and they told me to keep doing whatever I’ve been doing for the next six months. I was in Rochester on my birthday, and that news was the best birthday present I could have hoped for.
Next I traveled to Oklahoma City for our donor appreciation luncheons. Laura wrote a great summary of that trip in an earlier blog post. I would add that the “celebrity” I was most excited to meet was Savanna, who is a St. Joseph’s alumnae. Savanna just finished up her degree in nursing at Murray State in Oklahoma and joined us at the luncheon. When our students can meet someone who was once in their shoes, and see them succeeding in school, that provides far more inspiration and hope than my words of encouragement can.
I spent a week at home where I had the joy of presiding at my niece’s wedding. Congratulations Allison and Steve and many happy years together! My family is spread far and wide throughout the U.S., and we enjoyed the chance to catch up. I was especially delighted in meeting the three new great nieces that were born since I was home last.
Back on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus I spent the first day walking around and checking out all that is happening. People often assume the campus is much quieter over the summer, but in June it is actually busier, if that is possible. The dining hall serves more lunches now than in the school year, since we have the Rising Eagle Summer Day Camp going on, the PAWS program from town joining us at meal times, and all our students who are working or taking part in summer school.
Maintenance is crazy busy! The projects I saw in full swing include:
- Repaving the Akta Lakota Museum parking lot
- Brickwork on Akta Lakota Museum addition
- Roofing the boiler-room
- Recarpeting the school (after 20 years of heavy wear and tear)
- Demolition of William and Summerlee Home interiors in preparation for remodeling
- Building shelving to house museum artifacts
- Painting Central offices
Several of our high school students are helping on some of the projects. I also saw students working in the kitchen, serving lunch, at the Akta Lakota Museum, running the gift shop cash register, beautifying the grounds and in the print shop boxing up notepads we’ll send our donors. The biggest number are camp counselors, helping younger children in recreational and arts and crafts activities.
Wade graduated here in the class of 1979 and hadn’t been back in over 30 years. I took him on a tour of campus, and he helped me get a better picture of what life was like at St. Joseph’s back in the dorm days, before we added our family home living units. Andy in the Rec Center, and Mary Jane our Alumni Director were staff he remembered well, and visiting them was the definite highlight of his time on campus.