Prayerful and refreshing

The big event in the life of our high school students this weekend was the school play – A Year in the Life of Frog and Toad. The production was whimsical and fun, with catchy songs and colorful sets. Two of our seniors, Chris and Erika, had supporting roles on stage. I laughed as they sang and hammed it up. Another half-dozen of our St. Joseph’s students took part behind the scenes, working lights and props and helping as student directors. The play was especially kid friendly, and space was reserved on the floor in front of the stage for any youngsters who wanted to sit on the floor close to the action. For a small school, Chamberlain has some talented and dedicated staff to work with students and put together quality performances.

On campus, basketball reigned as king. Saturday morning fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls played against cross town rivals Chamberlain. St. Joseph’s swept three very close games, two of which were decided in the last 15 seconds. Many of our staff were on hand not only to cheer on our students in blue and yellow, but their own kids wearing Cubs red and white. One of our counselors who has a daughter on Chamberlain said it’s too hard to root for both teams, but you have to! Sunday afternoon the boys played intercity, where Chamberlain and St. Joseph’s students played alongside each other. Again, you had to root for all the teams and players!

Because of the drought in our area, an earlier burning ban prevented us from opening the sweat lodge for inipi ceremonies during the fall months. Now that we’ve had a little moisture and the weather has turned colder, it’s safe to build a fire. An elder from the Rosebud Indian Reservation, grandfather to three of our students, came to campus to offer the opportunity for our junior high and our high school boys. For a few of the younger students it was their first time, and they were prepared and guided through the ceremony, which they found prayerful and refreshing, with good bonding as a result.

Sharing Sunday brunch in the Stevens Home (6th-8th grade girls) Frank and Wanda mentioned that this is their 25th year as houseparents at St. Joseph’s, and they are seeing a second generation of families they’ve had long ties with. They pulled out the yearbook from their first year here, and showed the moms of two families of girls they currently have with them. In residential care, such longevity is rare, but we have several long-timers who have built trust and relationships that are wonderful.

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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