I attended a country school in the middle of nowhere South Dakota. This was my school from kindergarten to eighth grade. All the kids from this small country school were a tight-knit bunch, as were the families. We all belonged to 4-H, played softball in the summer, ice skated on stock ponds in the winter, took field trips during the school year and other childhood adventures. Looking back, those were fun times and I am lucky to have those memories.
Today is May Day – May 1 – and a random memory from my school days surfaced this morning that I am going to share now to illustrate a point later. It came to me quite unexpectedly.
I remembered at that little country school in nowhere South Dakota all the school kids (maybe 20 in all) danced around a maypole and decorated it with paper streamers on May 1. I don’t think I was much more than five or six years old at the time. I’m sure it didn’t turn out perfectly, but to us it was the best one ever decorated! I remember what fun we had and how beautiful the finished product was.
Today, here at St. Joseph’s, some of our students are traveling to Pierre, S.D., for a field trip. Others are going up town to learn about jobs in the medical field. The students left in school get to take time today to play on the playground.
This coming weekend, some of campus homes are going on home trips around the state. This is an opportunity for many students to visit museums and take part in other fun activities. It gives them different learning experiences and allows them to see points of interest around South Dakota that they may not experience otherwise.
Another important part of the trips: students get a chance to practice their social skills in public. We hope they remember to say please and thank you, hold doors open for others, order off a menu at a sit-down restaurant and many more skills they have learned from us.
But, perhaps the most important piece is providing students with experiences and memories they can reflect back on later in life with a smile.
We recently asked our soon-to-be eighth grade graduates what some of their best memories are from their years at St. Joseph’s. We try to provide our students many opportunities for good childhood memories, but some of our 22 eighth graders still struggled when put on the spot.
After I thought about my own May Day memory today, I realized those “best memories” are inside our students and will come up when the kids least expect it. Experiencing this myself today, I know the kids will, too.
Even if the kids don’t remember now, I am proud to partner with our supporters so we provide the kids with these opportunities for experiences and memory building. I believe our kids will have a bank full of good memories of their time at St. Joseph’s.
I hope you remember something great from your past today, as well. May it bring a smile to your face and maybe a tear to your eye.
As always, thanks for your generous support.
Frank, 7-8th Residential Coordinator