Guest Bloggers: Mike and April

The Carola Home won the high school trophy for with least missing assignments!!
The Carola Home won the high school trophy for with least missing assignments!!

Working hard and having fun!

Hello again from the Carola Home! A new year has begun and our boys are doing a wonderful job with all they have to do. This year we have four Juniors and three Freshman boys in our home. They have worked hard with school work, homework, tutoring, football, other activities and home responsibilities.

First quarter we had five boys make the honor roll and two who were just short of the honor roll, giving our home a GPA of 3.32. Besides studying hard, part of their success is not getting behind in their school work and not having many missing assignments.

The boys had a great time at Wild Water West!
The boys had a great time at Wild Water West!

With all the hard work they put in so far, they really enjoy having some downtime. With donors helping provided for St. Joseph’s Indian School, each home has a budget that they go by. Part of this budget goes to home trips. Home trips are a great time to relax and have fun and build relationships. At the beginning of the year, our home went to LifeLight Music Festival and Wild Water West. They had a great time camping and enjoying some wonderful music, go carts, going down the water slides and swimming in the wave pool.

With funds for a trip already spent, the boys had to come up with a way to make money. Our boys decided to do a car wash to raise funds for another home trip.

The car wash was a great success.
The car wash was a great success.

The boys used a no school day for the car wash. They asked for a freewill donation to support their home trip. They washed many cars and they spent all day with such a positive attitude and worked very hard. They made enough money for the trip – hiking at Harney Peak, shopping at the Rushmore Mall, and dinner and movies in Rapid City.

The boys are always saying “thanks for dinner” and while we were out at the restaurant they said, “Thanks for dinner.” We reminded them that they earned this themselves and thanked them for dinner.

They were very proud and so were we. They also realized how working hard can pay off.

Big smiles from the Carola Home.
Big smiles from the Carola Home.

Guest Blogger: Dave B.


My name is David B. and I teach the sixth through eighth grade Social Sciences here at St. Joseph’s. In sixth grade, they are learning about world history. The students just finished learning about the Ancient Mesopotamians and the next chapter is Ancient Egypt.

The seventh grade is learning about the Five Themes of Geography, the Six Elements of Geography, and the 18 Standards of Geography.  Next the students will begin learning about the different hemispheres of the world starting with North America.

The eighth grade is learning about American History, starting with exploration of the world and ending the year with the Civil War. During the middle of the year, the eighth grade will be learning about the US Constitution and before the end of the year they will complete a research paper on an event or person in US History, which also includes an oral presentation.


In addition to the classroom, I also coach football here at St. Joseph’s.

This year our football games have been suspended because of lack of numbers in the male population of our seventh and eighth graders. With only 12 students participating, the safety factor for our players is our main concern. We are also in need of better safe equipment for our players, which our school will be addressing during this down year. Because of the nationwide concern for concussions, especially with our youth, the subject of safer equipment is a priority for St. Joseph’s.

Never fear, however! We are still having a modified season for the players. We will have two scrimmage games with the Chamberlain Cubs, which are scheduled for the last week in September and the second week in October. So the players are still practicing like normal to prepare for this modified season.

Go Braves!

Mark 9:37

This morning’s gospel focused me on the main purpose of the ministry at St. Joseph’s Indian School:

“Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me,” (Mark 9:37).

I’m reminded that even with meetings and paperwork, I owe the students here some quality time every day.

After yesterday’s wet sleet, today’s sunshine and 40 degrees felt warm, and the children on the playground were full of life and energy. Looking back, I was able to catch a glimpse of God in the children’s laughter and activity.

When she saw me striding onto the playground, 4th grader Trinity ran up to me, grinned broadly and greeted me with a big hug. She talked about representing St. Joseph’s Indian School in the upcoming regional spelling bee, which will be held Saturday.  I quizzed her on a few words and reminded her to say the word before she started and when she finished.

Harold, Jashon and Richard were surprised when I reached out and intercepted the football coming toward me, and threw back a tight spiral in the direction from where it came.  I spent a lot of time playing sandlot ball when I was growing up. Little encounters like those mean a lot, and remind me what I’m here for.

I ran up to Central Receiving during break and found Glenda and Cathy opening and sorting all the boxes that came in today. Donors sent us clothing, shampoo, books and educational computer programming that we’ll put to good use.

After that, it was back to budgets and meeting with our facilities supervisor to decide what projects we can afford to do in the coming year, and also what must be put on hold. Besides cost, we have to also figure in which projects our workers will have time to do. What they do, they do well, and I’m grateful for their ongoing efforts to keep the campus well attended to.

Welcome back everyone

After a two-week vacation, our Native American students returned to St. Joseph’s campus shortly after noon when our homes opened.

Today, was still the legal holiday for our year round staff, so morning was very quiet in the office. I’m going to miss the uninterrupted times to work on projects. But, I missed the students and child services staff being away even more, and was delighted to welcome them back.

I made rounds of most of the homes. Early in the afternoon, when only a handful of students were back, proved to be a good time to check in with houseparents about their holiday break. Closer to supper time, more of the children were around. Some were unpacking or doing laundry. Since our students come from across the state, they may not get to see each other when they are home. Many were checking in with the friends they hadn’t seen in a while.

All of the kids were so happy to be back at St. Joseph's Indian School.
All of the kids were so happy to be back at St. Joseph's Indian School.

Twenty-six degrees seems cold, but when I came by the football field,  the Ambrose boys (1st-3rd grade) were out under the lights and were having a great time tossing a ball around and dreaming of one day playing in a Bowl game. I’m glad that our students are more likely to play games outside than watch them on TV. I am concerned that when like most kids, they have a tendency to overdo the video games.

The health center was a hub of activity. After each student dropped their belongings at their homes, they came to see our nurses for a brief examination, a screening for head lice and a check on medications, cuts, bruises or injuries needing attention. We try to keep a close check on health issues, fully buying into the maxim that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Semester breaks are also times of student transitions. I met Kayla and Anthony, two of the new students we accepted from our waiting list once we had an opening. They are both excited about the opportunities here and scared about how they will fit in. I tried to learn their names right away. It’s important as a child when adults know you as an individual and can call you by name. (Something biblical about that as well!)

School starts tomorrow. Welcome back everyone!

Student athletes recognized for achievements

The student athletes at St. Joseph's Indian School did a great job!
The student athletes at St. Joseph's Indian School did a great job!

After school the 6th – 8th grade youth gathered in the Rec Center for our Fall Sports Awards. Student athletes were recognized for achievements in cross country, football and volleyball.

Besides the awards for the best athletes in those sports, I am always touched by the acknowledgement of the kids who have the best attitude, make the most improvement and show leadership by their teamwork.

While being a little competitive is a good thing, I hope the sports and activities here teach our young people teamwork and the importance of preparing, practicing and working hard especially when the odds are against you.

Join our Tiyospaye Club

A couple from Kansas stopped by the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and asked about sponsoring a American Indian student. We don’t offer individual sponsorship of the students, if people want to help on a regular basis we have our monthly Tiyospaye Club, where people get a hand written copy of a thank you letter and drawing from a different student each month. One of the keys to our being able to fund a students’ education is that many different people band together. When everyone gives a little, it quickly adds up to a lot.

We are grateful for the generous support we do receive.

Go Braves! The boys at St. Joseph's Indian School played great!
Go Braves! The boys at St. Joseph's Indian School played great!

We played our cross town rival Chamberlain a second day, this time in football. Our boys played good team ball and outlasted the Cubs 22-8. It’s tough for us to beat Chamberlain, and while we are 3-1, it’s one of the main games that a successful season hinges on. We have bragging rights for this year anyway. I cheered for both teams since we have many staff children and grandchildren playing against our teams. It’s my hope that next year many of these 8th graders on both sides of the ball will be bonded together as friends and teammates as our students move into the Chamberlain High School program.