Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School. I hope this blog finds you all well!
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK
Last week, we joined Catholic schools from all around the country to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.
Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. The theme for the National Catholic Schools Week 2017 is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Services.”
Good Day from St. Joseph’s Indian School! The mild weather has continued and most of our snow and ice is gone. We know, however, that there is still a lot of winter left which can bring some challenges.
I hope you are having good weather wherever you are at.
Lots of things have been happening here at St. Joseph’s recently! The start of the month saw St. Joseph’s taking part in Catholic School Week activities. The theme this year was Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.
There was a different activity each day of the week to fulfill the theme.
Our morning prayer service to begin Catholic Schools Week was an opportunity for us to introduce our new strategic plan campus wide. Aaron, in our marketing department, filmed different events on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus, and created an effective visual of staff and students demonstrating our core values in everyday life – Faith, Collaboration, Integrity, Stewardship, Respect and Excellence. I’m proud to be a part of St. Joseph’s Indian School, and viewing the video with all our staff and students made me even more proud of what we are working on together as a community.
Before introducing the new vision and plan, I thanked everyone for the work they’ve done over the past four years to bring much of our current plan to fruition. The work we do now will lay a stronger foundation for future generations of students and staff, so that they can build on what we do today, and take St. Joseph’s forward in creative and exciting new ways.
After the staff went back to work, the students remained behind so we could take a school picture with everyone on the bleachers. Emily, our photographer, is good with the kids, and after everyone is well-behaved and she gets the pictures she needs, she lets everyone get a little wild for a fun snapshot, which the students love.
We had 5th and 6th grade basketball games after school against Crow Creek, which is the Indian reservation where perhaps 20% of our students are from. There were families in the stands rooting for kids on both sides of the ball. After the games, I was slated to visit Cyr Home (4th-5th grade boys) for supper. One of the students, Ben, invited his family to stay for supper, so the ranks were swelled by six more guests. Paula, the houseparent who was cooking, found out just a few minutes beforehand. She has learned to be very accommodating and flexible. She took out a container of leftovers, opened up a couple more cans of fruit, and served smaller portions, but it stretched around to satisfy everyone at the table and the family had a nice visit.
Some of our students see their families regularly. For others, it doesn’t happen all that often. But we try our best to make families welcome whenever they are able to stay.
Today begins Catholic Schools Week, with the theme of Faith, Academics and Service. Today’s scripture readings lent themselves to a reflection on each of those. It’s not enough for students to be smart about their subject matter. What they learn needs to help them become people who understand God’s plan for them and find ways uniquely their own to serve the human family.
During the announcements at mass, I congratulated student achievements of all kinds. The high school one-act play took 2nd place at the regions and the thespians will advance to the state competition in Aberdeen next week. Cassidy, one of our 7th graders, has made the high school junior varsity gymnastics team. In only her 2nd meet, Cassidy placed in several events and brought home a 5th place overall. She was sitting up front with the choir, and when I mentioned her name, she got very embarrassed, but everyone gave her a big hand.
Cassidy may have appeared embarrassed at mass, but when I joined Pinger Home (6th-8th grade girls) for brunch, she brought down the gymnastics ribbon she won from the Hot Springs match to show me. When I first arrived at Pinger after mass, most of the girls were upstairs in the bedroom area cleaning. While the Pinger Home was just remodeled two years ago and still looks very new, that crew of girls may be the best cleaners we have, as the home looked spotless. But at least a couple of the girls chose the part of Mary rather than Martha, and shared hospitality as they sat to visit with me while Brian, the houseparent put the finishing touches on the food.
The leisure was short lived as most of the girls were off to play inter city basketball, and I headed home to make Sunday truly an appreciated day of rest.
Today was mostly a meeting day. I began with the monthly reports from all the Development Office managers. Our use of media and technology changes at such a rapid pace these days. What fascinated me the most was the suggestion that we move toward having PURLS (personalized URLs) on our website, so when people visit us online, the kinds of stories and information they will see can be personalized. We have some creative, hard-working people in that part of campus, and I’m proud of the initiatives and forward ways of thinking they bring to work each day.
I walked over to the Akta Lakota Museum for our bi-weekly construction update. I imagine that sometimes meetings between architects and builders can get contentious, but ours have been working very well together. The change orders have been small, and work is steadily moving along. Right now it’s mostly welding, which doesn’t show up as big progress. But it’s like school for our kids. You have to get the basics down well, in order to move ahead later.
My management team discussed next week’s Catholic Schools Week and the presentation of our new strategic plan. (Read more here about last year’s Catholic School’s Week at St. Joseph’s Indian School.) We’re also looking at budgets and trying to prioritize capital expenses for next year, deciding what we can do and what has to wait.
When you’re a kid and don’t have to worry about shoveling snow or driving to work on icy roads, winter weather can be a lot of fun. The snow we did get is starting to melt, but made the slopes very slippery, and the kids were out in big numbers after school with sleds. Some dug tunnels through the big mounds of snow piled up by our grounds crew or played King of the Hill.
The Perky Home (4th-5th grade boys) invited me to supper. Afterwards I tried my hand (well, actually my foot) at hacky sack, but am definitely not limber enough to keep it going very long. What I was better at was helping some of the boys practice for next week’s spelling bee. In reading the words, I realized that there is a lot of vocabulary that our students don’t yet know.