These past few days have been cold and windy… but there has been no heavy snow, which had closed the Interstate the previous week. The cold has kept the Missouri River frozen, which is what those who will be taking part in the ice fishing tournament next weekend like to hear.
Since St. Joseph’s students are away from campus for Christmas spending time with friends and family, we celebrated Christmas here the first Sunday after they returned (January 8). I was wondering what we should call the day and a young student came up to me and said, ‘happy St. Joseph’s Christmas!’ It is as good a name as anything else! Continue reading “Christmas and Basketball at St. Joseph’s Indian School!”
Things were a bit hectic here Monday as students began returning from Christmas Break. Due to the recent snow storms and cold snap in the upper Midwest, we are still missing a few students who have been unable to return.
It has been a busy, and snowy, last few days at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
On Friday, we were scheduled to send 12 hand game participants and 17 archery contestants to Rapid City, South Dakota to take part in the 40th Annual Lakota Nation Invitational (LNI), but the roads were projected to be too dangerous to travel. LNI is a yearly gathering of Native Americans to take part in arts and crafts competition along with athletic, cultural and language contests.
Our Knowledge Bowl participants headed out on Thursday, so they were able to compete over the weekend. St. Joseph’s team earned 3rd place overall! Lily and Justin, two of our high school students, were awarded 1st place
in Grammar and Literature, respectively. We are so very proud of them.
Greetings from a snowy St. Joseph’s Indian School.
We were lucky it was not snowing on Sunday when our students and staff returned to campus after Thanksgiving Break, but the weather has been making up for it since with wind, snow and low temperatures.
The weather has really been cooperating and gifting us with mild days as we keep moving deeper and deeper into Autumn. This is beneficial for our students since it gives them the chance to run around outside and breathe in the fresh air.
It has been busy here on campus. We celebrated Native American Day on October 10 (South Dakota is the only state to recognize Native American Day in substitution of Columbus Day- read more below), hosted an Academic Acalympics Competition on October 19, and enjoyed a Halloween Dance sponsored by the National Honor Society students this past Friday.
We pause for a moment of silence—the splashing fountain at the Akta Lakota Museum and Cultural Center has been covered. For St. Joseph’s staff and students, this is the real indication that the seasons are changing and it reminds us that winter is coming.
Things have slowed down quite a bit on campus. The Rising Eagle Day Camp culminated and the free lunch program for the community has also came to an end to give our staff a short break before the students return to campus on August 14.
Several students are staying on campus in our Summer Break Home. They recently spent a few days in Omaha, Nebraska. I will make sure to give a report on what they saw and did in my blog next week.
The most popular activity at this year’s summer camp was a slip-n-slide ‘waterslide’! A tarp was placed on a hill with a hose at the top, allowing the kids to slip and slide all the way to the bottom of the hill! Everyone enjoyed it immensely.
About a week or so ago, the Chamberlain Cubs High School varsity basketball team sponsored a clinic to help future NBA prospects perfect their game. Several of the young men from the Break Home took advantage of the opportunity, going to the gym each morning to hone their skills. They seemed to have a lot of fun and we’ll see if the extra training bears fruit when the basketball season opens in November.
Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School here in Chamberlain, South Dakota!
The weather has been beautiful these last several days. The temperature is predicted to climb over 100 degrees today, but things are still nice and green due to the rain we have received.
You can tell that summer vacations are beginning to pick up speed—the interstate is full of campers and cars heading in all directions. Last week, we had a large caravan of 12 RV travelers visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. They nearly took up the entire parking lot.
Our Dining Hall staff is very busy! The Rising Eagle Day Camp for the children from the Crow Creek Reservation is in full swing and students from the Chamberlain area taking part in the PAWS (P-programs and pupils, A-after/before School, W-winners in School, S-success) Program are enjoying nutritious meals multiple times per day. This free summer lunch program is just one of the ways that St. Joseph’s seeks to use our facilities to meet needs in the local community.
On Tuesday, those taking part in the Rising Eagle Day Camp had the opportunity to learn some water safety from members of the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The instructors explained to the children how important it is to wear your lifejacket and stay seated when the boat is in operation. They also reminded them to be aware of which direction and how strong to current is when swimming, so as not to get swept away from shore. They had a fishing boat the kids could climb around in and life jackets they could practice putting on.
We are grateful to the instructors and hope the children put what they’ve learned into action each and every time they are near the water. Lessons like this are very important since Ft. Thompson, Crow Creek, Lower Brule and St. Joseph’s are all located right on the banks of the Missouri River.
This past Saturday, nearly 100 alumni and former staff gathered to celebrate an Alumni Reunion with the purpose of renewing old ties, looking over old pictures to see who could be identified and thanking Mary Jane, our Alumni Liaison who is retiring after 45 years at St. Joseph’s.
The day started at 9:30 AM and went until 2:00 PM. We all gathered in the Medicine Wheel Garden for an opening prayer. Soon after, many former staff and alumni took tours of campus and re-visited the underground tunnels. Some of the alumni visiting campus were here prior to 1970 when St. Joseph’s was still utilizing dorms and an old school building, so they were very surprised to see all of the changes!
After lunch, a group photo was taken and door prizes were distributed. The day ended with an Honor Song for deceased members of St. Joseph’s alumni and their families as well as St. Joseph’s Alumni who have served our country.
This past Sunday, I took some time to visit with the students staying in the Summer Break Home. They have been having a variety of experiences and journeys around the area. They have really enjoyed spending many days swimming at the local Chamberlain pool since a lot of waterslides and other activities were added last year. They have also been to the Black Hills and Pierre. This weekend, the students and their houseparents hope to head to the Twin Cities in Minnesota for some sightseeing.
As you can see from the picture, they were very excited to share what they have been doing. I’ll try to touch base with them upon their return and share with you what they did in Minnesota.
This weekend I’ll be away too as I have been invited to the ordination of a young man in Indiana who I baptized when I was stationed in Houston, Texas. He tracked me down last year and invited me to his Deaconate Ordination and now I have been asked to come again for his priestly ordination and 1st Mass. It will be a very special honor. Please keep Michael in your prayers, that he has a long and fruitful ministry serving God’s people.
I hope all of you have a wonderful week. May God continue to bless and reward you due to your generosity towards St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Today we had the biggest volume of incoming mail in months. Practically all of it consisted of gifts, well-wishes and Christmas greetings, all from our generous supporters.
St. Joseph’s Indian School strives to acknowledge all donations in short order. This can be a challenge when volumes are large. Because the quantity of mail was so great today, our Mail Processing staff sent out an SOS for assistance in sorting. Feeling confident that no one would miss me at my desk for an hour or two, I headed to the sorting room.
Tray upon tray of mail greeted me when I arrived. A number of other staff members were already at work sorting the mail according to size. This process enables the pieces to be fed properly into the machine which automatically opens the envelopes.
I saw return addresses from all over the country. Many envelopes had hand-written holiday greetings. Others had a colorful array of Christmas stamps. One poor wrinkled-looking envelope had an address that was barely legible. I said a silent prayer to the Post Office for their diligence in getting all of that wonderful mail to us, including those pieces with challenges.
What I felt with each piece of mail that I handled was a deep respect for our supporters. Those envelopes showed me that our benefactors care. That so many people from so many places believe in our mission in little Chamberlain, South Dakota, and the work we do with the Lakota students is very humbling.