The following reflection was written by Joe, St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Director of Mission Integration.
Anna Sewell once said “It is good people who make good places.” This couldn’t be more applicable than during these challenging times we currently face with the outbreak of COVID-19.
St. Joseph’s Indian School shut down campus activities a little over a week ago, with only Facilities and Development workers and a select few Child Services staff left. Recent weather has been cold, windy and snowy, making it feel more like Christmas break. In terms of our programs, many offices are empty and the hallways are quiet.
In my new role as the Director of Mission Integration, I find myself regularly thinking about what is the next project, lesson plan or spiritual prayer email that can help our students, families and staff. These past few weeks were different, yet you could still see the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School in effect.
Our first through eighth grade students were already at home enjoying their spring break when it was decided that we needed to send our high school and spring break home students back to their “home, home.” That is where I first saw the spirit of St. Joseph’s.
Staff who were present during spring break were working with different departmental staff than they normally work with in order to make sure everything was set for student departures. Staff who were enjoying their own personal spring break began calling their supervisors, asking if there was anything that needed to be done. Some of these staff volunteered to come in on very short notice.
We had staff volunteer to drive our high school students all across the state of South Dakota. Staff even pitched in to drive a student to Nebraska, and a family of students down to Colorado. We had staff working to organize student medications, others making calls and still others jumping in to get everyone and everything to the right place.
At the end of that busy Friday, as I drove off of campus, I couldn’t help but smile and say a simple prayer of gratitude for all of our staff, families and students that worked so well together.
The next week teachers, family service counselors and other staff members came back on campus to check in with students’ families to see how they were doing. Teachers had put together homework packets that were organized to send out to students for continuing education. Food boxes were prepared for families in need.
As I walked around the hallways I once again saw the spirit of St. Joseph’s at work. Staff were helping wherever there was a need. Staff were not only checking on students and families, but were also checking on one another. They were questioning how other staff members were doing and how their families were doing. They were sharing ideas for social distancing and reaching out, reminding other staff that if they need anything, to let them know.
This is where Anna Sewell would be proud of St. Joseph’s Indian School because it truly fits the definition of “good people who make a good place.”
It is unclear of when life at St. Joseph’s will be normal again. However, it is very clear that the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School and the spirit of St. Joseph is alive and at work here on campus!
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, please keep St. Joseph’s Indian School in your prayers, as we continue to pray for you. Please enjoy the prayer included with this blog and share it with those you love.