It was another hectic weekend here on campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ and a group of students and staff were in Austin, Texas for a donor luncheon, which gives me the opportunity to bring you up-to-date on what’s happening here in central South Dakota.
We are still enjoying a mild winter. What snow we got a few weeks ago is fast disappearing, which means that the students are missing out on sledding. The rec center staff sponsored a “midnight” sled fest recently – they turned on the football field lights so the students could sled on the hillside next to the field – and you could hear the shouts of laughter and joy all over campus. Sunday morning started out with fog, but as it lifted the cold evening air had given all the trees a frosted look which sparkled as the sun came out on another beautiful day.
This past week saw some activity at the construction site of the addition to the Akta Lakota Museum. Large beams were floating through the air as they were lifted into place. One benefit of the mild weather is that it is giving the workers the opportunity to get a lot of work done.
On Friday three of our high school students, Christopher, Jatonne and Erica, along with their fellow cast mates took part in the 56th annual One-Act Play Festival in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Chamberlain High joined with 42 other high schools to perform before the judges and public. Each play has 45 minutes from set-up to take down. The Chamberlain High players performed “We wear the Mask” about some of the issues teens and young adults face. Chamberlain High received superior acting awards, a standing ovation, and much praise from the judges, other coaches and students for the courage to present such a hard-hitting message. On the hardwood court, the Chamberlain boys’ basketball team journeyed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take part in the Dakota Schoolers Border Classic against Corsica-Stickney and won. St. Joseph’s has three students on the team—Nick, Claye and Elijah. The team currently has an 11-3 record.
Saturday gave me a chance to see the energy of our Native American students in action. Many of our 6th, 7th and 8th graders are active in bowling. I followed the bus home from the lanes on Saturday after two hours of setting them up to knock them down. As the students poured out of the bus in front of their homes, many of the boys raced into their homes and were back out again heading to the gym for some basketball. They seemingly have energy to burn, which is why the rec center with its gym, workout room and pool is such a blessing – to give our students the opportunity to burn off the energy the Great Spirit has blessed them with.
Sunday brought the Super Bowl and our students and staff got caught up in all the excitement as many did around the country. Several homes hosted Super Bowl parties on campus and it was nice to see that the older homes invited some of the younger students to take part in the festivities. There was good food to munch on and various door prizes to be won during the game itself. I had the chance to attend one at Cyr Home where the 4th and 5th grade boys hosted some of the Benedictine Homes’ boys (1st through 3rd grades) and the one at Sheehy Home where the high school boys hosted the other high school homes along with 8th graders. It helps give them some insight into what the future might hold for those continue in our academic program. Everyone had a great time, although I’m not sure if everyone was happy at the results of the Giants beating the Patriots, but the G-men did seem to be the choice of many of the students.
The Girls’ Inter-city Basketball program had a good day of play on Sunday. They also had the chance this past Friday evening to have some fun as the inter-city players from Chamberlain were invited out to have a swim party with the young ladies from St. Joseph’s. It was a way to have fun and help the girls continue to get to know each other to build up teamwork and help prepare them for when they’ll be together in high school.
The boys’ basketball team, about half way through their season, will meet one of our arch rivals, Lower Brule, as our 5th and 6th grade teams go there today, and Lower Brule’s 7th and 8th grade teams come here to play. These games should help us get a handle on what sort of team we have as the young men prepare for the St. Joseph’s boys’ basketball tournament this coming Saturday. It will be especially interesting since Fr. Steve has two of our stars with him on the luncheon visit to Austin, and they will not be back until after game time.
Again thanks for your prayers and generous support. We pray for you each Sunday at Mass. This Sunday we had the blessing of the throats for any of the students and staff who wished to receive it as the feast of St. Blasé was this past Friday.
Have a great week and may the Great Spirit continue to bless and reward you.
Until next time,
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
St. Joseph’s Indian School