Learning through life

I stopped by the computer lab to wish Gina, our Computer Teacher, a happy birthday. This is her first year, and she’s been monitoring the websites our students have access to. We’ve constantly worked at firewalls to block access to objectionable sites. On a positive note, she’s structuring our school web access so the students are directed to more academically enriching sites. Formerly when given time to surf, the students would mostly go to game sites. When some of their favorite sites didn’t work any more, they asked why!? Gina told them there are a lot more educational ways to spend time on the computer than only playing Mario Brothers. Begrudgingly, they kids are getting used to the “Gina rules” and hopefully using the computer time to enhance what they’re learning in the other classes.

After finishing up 2 ½ days of testing, the students with perfect attendance got to walk the mile to the downtown movie theater to see an afternoon matinee. The weather was perfect for the outing.

HR is busy with hiring boards, interviews and checking out references. Last week, we hired a new 8th grade teacher with a solid math background and a new houseparent, who will start next fall in the younger grade homes. Today I met another houseparent candidate from Michigan who is here for an interview.

Our tri-county area, which includes Chamberlain as well as the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian reservations, is planning to build a memorial to area veterans near the Interstate exit and overlooking the beautiful Missouri River. One of the organizers visited with me today to share more information and to ask for our help in promoting the project. Besides our many staff and students who have honorably served our country, there are actually quite a few priests and brothers who worked here over the years who were veterans before they chose to enter religious life.

Brother Steve Cyr SCJ  (died in 2003, the Cyr Home is named after) was a squad sergeant in the difficult battle of Monte Cassino in WWII. He said,

“I promised God that if He saw fit to let me survive that, when the war ended, I would become a religious and give my life in service.”

He worked at St. Joseph’s Indian School for 42 years, and admirably fulfilled that promise. We’re considering ways that we might honor and remember people like Brother Steve through this project.

I finished the evening by joining the Hogebach (high school girls) Home for supper. On the message board by the front door was a large “20” indicting the number of school days left at Chamberlain High School. Our three seniors in that home have even less. They’re getting very excited, but also having bad cases of “senioritis” and need regular reminders not to procrastinate and get caught up in missing assignments.

Many of these young women will be on campus for part of the summer, for driver’s ed or to help with our Rising Eagle Summer Camps. Some will continue jobs in town or try some new employment to gain work experience and save up a few bucks to help them realize future plans and goals. Just as summer is just around the corner, it won’t be long before the juniors in the home enter their final year of studies here.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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