A trip they will never forget!

Hello, I’m Frank. I currently serve as the 7-8 Grade Residential Coordinator at St. Joseph’s.

In April, St. Joseph’s traveled to New Orleans for a donor luncheon. Each time St. Joseph’s host a donor luncheon, two students are chosen to travel along. This gives our students a unique opportunity to see the country and meet many people who so generously support them!

Let me tell you a little about the preparations on our end… Continue reading “A trip they will never forget!”

Guest Blogger: Fr. Anthony

Dear Benefactors,

I have the chance to share what’s happening here at St. Joseph’s Indian School since Fr. Steve is away for a donor luncheon in the Denver area.

This past Thursday saw the sign up for the girls’ basketball teams.  Each grade from 4th to 8th have their own team and will play local schools in the area.  They are now practicing in preparation for the opening of the season in early November.

Chamberlain’s High School football team had their last game prior to the state play-offs Thursday evening and it was an adventure as the weather made it difficult to do anything.  The wind was blowing 35 to 40 miles per hour with some wind gusts as high as 60-79 mph.  Though the Cubs came up a bit short, they qualified for play-offs and will journey northwest to play Cheyenne-Eagle Butte on Tuesday.

Friday saw the kick-off of Red Ribbon Week as inflatables were brought into the rec center for the students to have some fun.  Lots of shouts of glee the students climbed up, slid down and bounced on various inflatables.  Each home also provided a delicious snack to be shared.  During this upcoming week the students will celebrate such days as wearing their pjs on Monday with the theme ‘follow your dreams … don’t do drugs!’; on Wednesday they’ll wear their Red Ribbon Week T-shirt which states ‘Be the change you want to see in the World’ and paint their faces blue to stress ‘I will say NO to drugs until I’m blue in the face’; and on Friday they’ll be asked to wear the colors of red, white and blue so as to make the statement ‘I elect to be drug free!’  There will also be a trivia contest held over the school intercom to remind the students of the danger of drugs and give them some insights as to how they can stay strong and say NO.

Saturday brought lovely weather which gave everyone the opportunity to get outside and work off some energy.  It was also the opening of the pheasant hunting season which brings a lot of hunters to the area.  I heard some shots from across the Missouri River on Sunday afternoon.

Just as the NBA is in their pre-season, so those taking part in the inter-city basketball league had a practice game on Sunday.  We have four teams made up of 6th, 7th and 8th grade boys from St. Joseph’s and the Chamberlain area.  In January, when the boys’ basketball season begins the girls’ will then have their inter-city basketball league. The program gives the young people in the area the chance to get to know and interact with each other so when entering high school they will already know each other.

Sunday was also very special since the first Native American Saint, Kateri Tekakwitha, was canonized in Rome, Italy.  The homes were alerted that EWTN was showing the ceremonies live at 2:30 AM Sunday morning with a repeat at 10:00 AM.

Deacon Bud Jetty and Deacon Steve McLaughlin, who help the Priests of the Sacred Heart minister in Chamberlain and on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian Reservations were designated by the Sioux Falls Diocese to represent the diocese at the canonization.  We look forward to their return to hear how everything went.

Hope each of you will have a wonderful week ahead!  May our Loving God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity towards and interest in the Lakota children we serve at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  You are remembered in our prayers.

Guest Blogger: Laura

Hi, I am Laura from the Development office.  Some of you may have talked with me over the phone or even met me while attending a Donor Luncheon!  Part of my job is to set up and organize these events.

I just got back from a luncheon in Oklahoma City. Dean and RJ were able to talk to donors who attended and tell them what life is like here at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Dean and RJ were with donors of St. Joseph's Indian School.
Pilamaya – thank you for your generous contributions!

We had a wonderful time and met some very special benefactors while we were there!  This couple has been donating for over 50 years.  What a joy it was to meet them!

The highlight of the trip was all the famous sports people we saw.  These two high school boys were in heaven.

While checking into our hotel we saw the Oklahoma University girls’ fast-pitch softball team. They played great while we were there and were going to be in the championships games.  RJ, who is going to be a sophomore in the fall, has an interest in being a NBA referee someday. He was thrilled when we saw that Ken Mauer, Ed Malloy and James Capers were also staying at our hotel.  They were there to officiate the Thunder and Spurs game.

While greeting our wonderful guests for the luncheon, Stephan A. Smith from ESPN asked me for directions.  Little did I know who he was until Fr. Steve and the boys told me!

The luncheon was a great time and the boys did really well talking in front of a group of people.

Later that evening, on our way back from church, we saw a group of people in a crowd and went to check it out.  We found that it was the San Antonio Spurs getting ready to board the bus for the game!  We added several more basketball stars to our list of celebrity sightings, including Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Boris Diaw to name a few.

After dinner we went and walked around the Chesapeake Energy Arena where the Thunder and Spurs would play their game.  We saw Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson shooting TNT’s “Live in the NBA.”

We all got to shake their hands as they went into the stadium.

I better not forget to mention the Thunder cheerleaders.

Boys with the Thunder cheerleaders.
The boys were happy to smile for a picture with the Thunder cheerleaders!

Sunday we spent time at the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Oklahoma, which is a beautiful place.  The boys enjoyed learning about a different tribe.  On the way back from the Cultural Center we stopped by Oklahoma University and showed the two boys around the campus.  What a huge place it is.  Our last stop was the football field, where we happened to run into Bob Stoops – the head football coach!  He offered to take a picture with the boys.

This is a weekend these two young men will never forget and I am so happy to have been able to share it with them.  It really was an amazing time with good friends and good luck!

We hope to get to meet you at a luncheon in the near future to thank you for all you make possible!

Bob Stoops stopped for a picture with the boys.
Bob Stoops and the boys.

Please check our luncheon schedule at www.stjo.org/luncheon to see if we will be in your area to make more wonderful memories for the Lakota boys and girls of St. Joseph’s Indian School.


Laura H.

Donor Relations Assistant

Student successes and living drug free

Greetings once again from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ is away on another donor luncheon to New Hampshire and Maine and thus I have the opportunity to again share what’s been happening this week here on campus.

Fr. Steve relayed what took place during the Mission Awareness presentation given by our confreres in northern Mississippi on Monday and Tuesday. It was a rewarding and inspirational time.

On Wednesdays our rec center staff sponsors Enrichment Night during which various homes take part in activities that encourage teamwork and fun.  This past Wednesday Perky and Cyr Homes had the chance to practice some soccer drills and then play the game which resulted in hot action but ended in a tie.  Later the girls of Stevens and Mathias Homes had to figure out how to work together passing water from one can to another with some interesting restrictions which even drew the houseparents into the action.  They finished off the evening with a softball game.

Our Principal, Kathleen, recently asked teachers to share moments of student success that highlight the progress they have made this year.  It has been wonderful to hear how some students are coming out of their shell and becoming more confident.  Progress is taking place in the classroom and concern for others is being witnessed as those who understand the assignment are helping fellow classmates.  Some still have issues they need to face but they are getting a handle on things and not letting them disrupt the daily activities as easily as they may have in the past.  Your prayers and generosity have helped provide an environment where this growth can take place as students, teachers, counselors and houseparents work together to help each other make progress.

Our Director of Alumni, Mary Jane, put out word about five former St. Joseph’s students who, because of your generosity, have received scholarship help which has enable them to graduate with two-year degrees in Business Management, Nursing and Automotive Technology.  She also mentioned that 10 other alumni, who have also benefited from scholarship help, will be graduating from two and four-year programs. Pilamayathank you – for the generous help you offer to those who have gone forward and continue to prepare themselves to offer their skills and talents to help their people.

Spring Sobriety art for 2012.
Congratulations to Trinity, our sobriety art contest winner!

The 17th Annual Sobriety Walk is supposed to take place today, but we are not sure about what the weather will be like.  Some predictions are saying there is a 80% chance of rain with cool weather and wind gusts of 20-30 miles per hour.  Hopefully this will hold off so that the students can make the walk.  We have the students and staff divide into four groups that walk around Chamberlain wearing a student designed t-shirt that witnesses this year’s theme, “Live Drug Free.”  The walk ends back on campus with a school-wide picnic—weather permitting—and then there are activities for the younger grades and a presentation for the upper grades by someone local who has struggled with alcohol and drugs.  There is a Plan B, should the rain and wind come, but please say a prayer that the walk may be able to take place.

Hope your week has been a good one and that the weekend ahead will be rewarding and relaxing.  Thanks again for your interest in and support of St. Joseph’s Indian School.  We pray for you and your intentions during the Sunday liturgy each week.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
St. Joseph’s Indian School

High school life

Hello again from the Carola Home. This is a busy time of year for our high school students wrapping up the last quarter of the school year while preparing for next year and beyond. The boys and girls must balance their classes, sports, donor luncheon trips, college trips, jobs and spending time with their families and home. This can overwhelm some of our students and they may begin to struggle with keeping up with their homework and grades.

One of our freshman boys was selected to attend the Cultural festival later this month. Four of our boys are attending the college trip to Southeast Tech. Three of our boys were selected to go on the upcoming donor luncheon trips to Oklahoma City and New England. Being selected for things like this encourages our students and proves to them that they can make it – that they can become a Junior, a Senior and a Graduate!!

A couple of St. Joseph's Indian School's kids on the honor roll.
These boys have worked hard at maintaining honor roll all year.

This year our Carola boys have done an amazing job. Most of our 8 sophomores and two freshmen have seen their grades only rise. Some have been on the honor roll all year, while others have come closer than ever before. One started the year with a GPA below 2.0 and he may make the honor roll this time. Yah!!!

This week the 1st -8th grade homes at St. Joseph’s are on their Spring Break, leaving our Chamberlain high school students seeing what real life is like. In the real world, life goes on even when you can’t be included because you must work or go to school.

The boys love going to the Dude Ranch.
Campfire, hot dogs, Missouri River and smores. The boys were in heaven!

While the younger homes are away, however, the older kids do play. We took our boys to the Dude Ranch (a local spot that offers public access to the Missouri River), where they built a campfire and cooked hotdogs. We also invited the other homes to come out and share SMORES…YUM!

The rest of the week is all about basketball. The high school homes are celebrating the Chamberlain Cubs going to the state basketball tournament in Sioux Falls. Thanks to donor support, the homes are able to go to the State championship games to support their team. GO CUBS!!!

Chamberlain Cubs boys basketball team.
Good luck Cubs!

The St. Joseph’s High School students are traveling to Sioux Falls for the State Basketball Tournament to support their Chamberlain Cubs basketball team.

#24 is the senior and #2 is the junior forward injured in the first game of the district tourney, both from St. Joseph’s Indian School and both mentioned here in Claire’s blog.

Your friend April,
St. Joseph’s Indian School houseparent

Hello from Fr. Anthony

Dear Friends,

It was another hectic weekend here on campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ and a group of students and staff were in Austin, Texas for a donor luncheon, which gives me the opportunity to bring you up-to-date on what’s happening here in central South Dakota.

Group shot of Native American kids in the snow.
These Lakota youngsters stopped sledding to pose for a picture!

We are still enjoying a mild winter.  What snow we got a few weeks ago is fast disappearing, which means that the students are missing out on sledding.  The rec center staff sponsored a “midnight” sled fest recently – they turned on the football field lights so the students could sled on the hillside next to the field – and you could hear the shouts of laughter and joy all over campus.  Sunday morning started out with fog, but as it lifted the cold evening air had given all the trees a frosted look which sparkled as the sun came out on another beautiful day.

This past week saw some activity at the construction site of the addition to the Akta Lakota Museum. Large beams were floating through the air as they were lifted into place.  One benefit of the mild weather is that it is giving the workers the opportunity to get a lot of work done.

On Friday three of our high school students, Christopher, Jatonne and Erica,  along with their fellow cast mates took part in the 56th annual One-Act Play Festival in Aberdeen, South Dakota. Chamberlain High joined with 42 other high schools to perform before the judges and public. Each play has 45 minutes from set-up to take down.  The Chamberlain High players performed “We wear the Mask” about some of the issues teens and young adults face.  Chamberlain High received superior acting awards, a standing ovation, and much praise from the judges, other coaches and students for the courage to present such a hard-hitting message.  On the hardwood court, the Chamberlain boys’ basketball team journeyed to Sioux Falls, South Dakota to take part in the Dakota Schoolers Border Classic against Corsica-Stickney and won.  St. Joseph’s has three students on the team—Nick, Claye and Elijah.  The team currently has an 11-3 record.

Saturday gave me a chance to see the energy of our Native American students in action.  Many of our 6th, 7th and 8th graders are active in bowling.  I followed the bus home from the lanes on Saturday after two hours of setting them up to knock them down.  As the students poured out of the bus in front of their homes, many of the boys raced into their homes and were back out again heading to the gym for some basketball.  They seemingly have energy to burn, which is why the rec center with its gym, workout room and pool is such a blessing – to give our students the opportunity to burn off the energy the Great Spirit has blessed them with.

Sunday brought the Super Bowl and our students and staff got caught up in all the excitement as many did around the country.  Several homes hosted Super Bowl parties on campus and it was nice to see that the older homes invited some of the younger students to take part in the festivities.  There was good food to munch on and various door prizes to be won during the game itself.  I had the chance to attend one at Cyr Home where the 4th and 5th grade boys hosted some of the Benedictine Homes’ boys (1st through 3rd grades) and the one at Sheehy Home where the high school boys hosted the other high school homes along with 8th graders.  It helps give them some insight into what the future might hold for those continue in our academic program.  Everyone had a great time, although I’m not sure if everyone was happy at the results of the Giants beating the Patriots, but the G-men did seem to be the choice of many of the students.

The Girls’ Inter-city Basketball program had a good day of play on Sunday.  They also had the chance this past Friday evening to have some fun as the inter-city players from Chamberlain were invited out to have a swim party with the young ladies from St. Joseph’s.  It was a way to have fun and help the girls continue to get to know each other to build up teamwork and help prepare them for when they’ll be together in high school.

The boys’ basketball team, about half way through their season, will meet one of our arch rivals, Lower Brule, as our 5th and 6th grade teams go there today, and Lower Brule’s 7th and 8th grade teams come here to play.  These games should help us get a handle on what sort of team we have as the young men prepare for the St. Joseph’s boys’ basketball tournament this coming Saturday.  It will be especially interesting since Fr. Steve has two of our stars with him on the luncheon visit to Austin, and they will not be back until after game time.

Again thanks for your prayers and generous support.  We pray for you each Sunday at Mass.  This Sunday we had the blessing of the throats for any of the students and staff who wished to receive it as the feast of St. Blasé was this past Friday.

Have a great week and may the Great Spirit continue to bless and reward you.

Until next time,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


St. Joseph’s Indian School

Laughter and reconnecting with old friends

My name is Mary Jane.  I work with the alumni of St. Joseph’s Indian School.  Each year we try to have three to four alumni luncheons at various places in South Dakota.

On Sunday, December 18, a group of us traveled to Rapid City, South Dakota for an alumni luncheon.  Four of our high school students, RJ, Erin, Cody and Makayla along with another staff member, Maija who was a houseparent and is currently working with our high school students.

During the course of the luncheon we had twelve alumni along with their families join us.  We had a total of 40 people for lunch.

We had so much fun reconnecting, sharing and learning what was new with each other.
We had so much fun reconnecting, sharing and learning what was new with each other.

Henrietta, who currently lives in Rapid City went to St. Joseph’s Indian School in the 50’s.  Henrietta’s cousin LeAnn attended St. Joseph’s in the 70’s and also joined us for lunch.  Both ladies shared their stories with Erin and others about their times in the dorms, school days and chores that they had.  Currently LeAnn owns her own cleaning business.  She stated that she learned to clean so well as a student at St. Joseph’s.  Erin, our high school senior, shared her stories of being able to travel to Florida for a donor luncheon and Germany for an exchange with our sister school.

Three others had been students here during the transition from the dorms to the homes and were able to share many experiences.  Kory, David and Janice all were classmates in the sixth through eighth grades during those days.  Kory and David were in the high school program and a year in the college program together.  It was amazing to watch them reconnect, share their stories and learn what each other have done since their ‘St. Joe’s days’.

Parents of several of the alumni came as well.  They too talked about how much they appreciated all that St. Joseph’s had done for their children while they were here.

Steve, our 7-8th grade science teacher and Kara, our 2nd and 4th grade teacher also came.  They too enjoyed seeing former students and joking about their times together in ‘the olden day’ as they call it.

The day was filled with laughter and reconnecting with old friends.

Another great donor luncheon for St. Joseph’s Indian School

I’m back from Tucson Arizona, where we had a St. Joseph’s Indian School donor appreciation luncheons on Saturday and Sunday. Isaiah and Brendan, two of our junior high boys from St. Joseph’s Indian School went along with us and spoke to the groups about their experiences at St. Joseph’s. Both days we met some wonderful friends of our school, who came with questions, ideas, support and prayers.

We’d planned for warm weather, but the Southwest was in for some of its coldest days since the late 1800’s.  We were glad we had our winter coats. Since it was 12 degrees when we left South Dakota, Arizona lows in the 20’s didn’t seem so bad. By Sunday the highs climbed into the 60s and we had a brief taste of spring.

 Isaiah and Brendan soaking up some sun!
Isaiah and Brendan soaking up some sun!

When we arrived Friday, we went sightseeing. The drive through the Tucson Mountain Park to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is spectacular, with giant saguaro cactus covering the rolling mountain foothills. The museum is part zoo, part desert arboretum and part science lab. The students especially enjoyed the mountain lion, wolf, and javelinas they spotted. The cave experience taught them a few things about the formation of planets and minerals.

We continued our tour through Saguaro National Park. Had I known we had to drive so many miles on dirt and gravel roads, I might not have taken that route. But I thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in cactus, brush, rocks and mountains in every direction. We hiked a short trail to see ancient petroglyphs, so the students could think about the Hohokam people who inhabited the land so long ago.

Our hotel was next to the University of Arizona. The boys were blown away to see a “college” stretching so far in every direction; all the different halls and buildings. As we walked by the University Medical Center, after so much in the news about the tragic Tucson shootings, I lifted a quiet prayer for all the victims and their families.

I lifted a quiet prayer for all the victims and their families.

On campus we passed separate buildings dedicated to individual academic fields ranging from Psychology to Space Science and the Chemistry building had valet parking for bikes! When we came to the neurophysiology department, Isaiah wasn’t sure what that was, so I explained that some doctors specialize in understanding people’s nerves and how to treat injuries and illness. There are such a wide variety of career paths available, but it’s hard for our Lakota (Sioux) students to imagine such fields if they’ve never even been exposed to the possibility.

Boys being boys, they were also impressed by the basketball stadium where the Wildcats play, and the orange and palm trees that they were seeing for the first time.

 Isaiah, Brendan and Fr. Steve had a great time!
Isaiah, Brendan and Fr. Steve had a great time!

On Saturday night we drove south of town to Mission San Xavier del Bac for mass. The mission was founded to work with the Tohono O’odham tribe, and the church dates back to the 1700’s. We could see the gleaming white towers from quite a distance as we drove toward them in the desert.

On Super Bowl Sunday we finished the luncheon not only in time for the game, but for the guys to explore a nearby mall to pick up some souvenirs. We watched the first half at Shane’s Rib Shack while eating supper, then the second half back at the hotel. Everyone called it an early night right after the game, because we had to leave the hotel at 5:00 a.m. to catch our plane home.

Even on the return trip I heard plenty of exclamations of, “Woah” and “Wicked!” as the boys looked out the windows and explored the wide world with new vision.