Monday, January 10, 2011
As Fr. Steve is away for a St. Joseph’s Indian School donor luncheon in Florida, he asked me to bring you up-to-date on what happened over this past week here on our Native American campus here in Chamberlain, South Dakota.
The high school children returned on January 4th, to be ready for the opening classes on January 5th. They got right into their basketball schedule, the Chamberlain High School girls’ teams had games against Crow Creek on Thursday January 6th, and then against Cheyenne Eagle Butte on Saturday January 8th, which was a double-header since the boys’ teams also played that day. We have students on the teams at all levels: “C” team, junior varsity and varsity, cheerleading squads and team statisticians. Many of the St. Joseph’s homes attend the games to be supportive of their housemates and friends. The “C” teams and junior varsity teams won their games, but the varsity teams came up a bit short though they gave a good effort. One team even gave Cheyenne Eagle Butte’s defending LNI (Lakota Nation Invitational—an annual gathering of Native American schools which takes place in Rapid City, South Dakota and sponsors competitions in a variety of sports, academic, and heritage contests) champions a scare!
On Friday, the St. Joseph’s bowling season kicked off as 6th, 7th and 8th grade students joined with staff, and spent an enjoyable two hours on the lanes. Each of the 8 teams had a staff captain and four students from the various grades. The recreational center staff helps establish averages, so that when the teams face each other there is a little bit of balance. Since this was the opening session, there were a number of gutter balls, but everyone enjoyed themselves and is looking forward to the season ahead.
Sunday January 9th, was the day we “celebrated” Christmas here on campus. We began with Mass in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel during which students acted out the Nativity Story and the coming of the Magi. This year, we were honored to have Mrs. Rose Dillion Kredt attend the Liturgy. She is a St. Joseph’s Indian School alumni and currently lives in Pierre, South Dakota. She, her husband and others adopted a couple homes on campus to help provide Christmas gifts for the students. We had her stand and be recognized. Then we had the students give her a round of applause to thank her for her generosity, and had her stand in for all our Benefactors who generously donated money or gifts for our students. We are grateful to you all, and wanted to let you know that you were remembered during the Mass.
Once Mass was over, the American Indian children returned to their homes for brunch and opening of gifts. I had the opportunity to be with the students in three of our homes to watch the excitement as the gifts were opened. Some homes had the children go one at a time, others had each student open one gift and then chaos took over as bows, ribbons, wrapping paper and scotch tape were pulled apart. Your generosity was greatly appreciated in all the smiles and squeals of joy as gifts were opened; plans were certainly made how to spend the rest of the day playing with all the various gifts.
The weather made it easy to stay inside, as our area was hit with several inches of snow again. It was falling gently as the students, staff and guests came to Mass. It was not as bad as the days before New Year’s when the Chamberlain area got hit with a foot of snow, but several inches did come down that have caused several schools in the state to close or run on delayed schedules. I must give a shout out to our grounds crew members for their efforts to get the snow cleared enough to open up the campus. They did a magnificent job.
I hope your weekend was enjoyable as well. May God’s blessing continue to be with each and every one of you, and thank you for helping our Native American children in need.
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ