Happy 4th of July Weekend from St. Joseph’s Indian School!!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!


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.


Summer Camp participants enjoyed the slip-n-slide waterslide!

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.

Continue reading “Happy 4th of July Weekend from St. Joseph’s Indian School!!”

Summer Camp Winding Down, Bookmobile Busy at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!


Even though summer officially began on Monday, temperatures are and have been very high around here for a few weeks. I hope everyone is making sure to stay cool and hydrated.


Last week, I was able to attend the ordination for two new priests for the Diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. During the 1st Mass of the newly ordained priest that I had baptized 25 years ago in Houston, Texas, the pastor mentioned that the parish has had 18 priests ordained in the last 11 years and will have another next year.  The parish has also been supportive of those who have entered the Brotherhood or convent.  May we keep the need for more vocations in our prayers.


We hosted our yearly Scranton Prep students from Scranton, Pennsylvania last week. They raise funds every year to bring their upcoming senior class to South Dakota. During their time in-state, they do some sightseeing in the Black Hills and visit several reservations prior to working as counselors for our summer camp. Several of the students mentioned how helping out at St. Joseph’s has really educated them of the Native American Culture. They appreciated the opportunity to bond with the young people at camp.


16002794Today is the last day of the 2016 Rising Eagle Day Camp. We’ve had a great time getting to know over 200 children from the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Reservations and look forward to some of them returning to campus for school this fall!

Continue reading “Summer Camp Winding Down, Bookmobile Busy at St. Joseph’s Indian School!”

It’s never a slow time at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from an active St. Joseph’s Indian School!

It seems the campus has been invaded by all sorts of groups. The 8th grade graduates who are moving into the high school program are back and taking part in an orientation program to prepare them for next year. They are busy meeting their teachers at Chamberlain High, figuring the layout of the school and taking a peek into the Homes they’ll be joining this coming August when school starts up again. They’ll be on campus until June 10th.

Four of our High School Homes are open to accommodate the 36 students who are staying at St. Joseph’s for the summer.   Nine of these students are signed up for Driver’s Education, which lasts for two weeks.  Some students are working on campus at our Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center and as counselors for our Rising Eagle Day Camp.  Others are busy tutoring students in the summer break home and helping with summer custodial work. A few are even working at local stores and car dealerships!

It’s been so nice to see many familiar faces around campus.

Four of our students—Liliana, Melvina, Ashley and Hope—and two advisors recently returned from Germany as part of our student exchange program!  Continue reading “It’s never a slow time at St. Joseph’s Indian School!”

Learning through life

I stopped by the computer lab to wish Gina, our Computer Teacher, a happy birthday. This is her first year, and she’s been monitoring the websites our students have access to. We’ve constantly worked at firewalls to block access to objectionable sites. On a positive note, she’s structuring our school web access so the students are directed to more academically enriching sites. Formerly when given time to surf, the students would mostly go to game sites. When some of their favorite sites didn’t work any more, they asked why!? Gina told them there are a lot more educational ways to spend time on the computer than only playing Mario Brothers. Begrudgingly, they kids are getting used to the “Gina rules” and hopefully using the computer time to enhance what they’re learning in the other classes.

After finishing up 2 ½ days of testing, the students with perfect attendance got to walk the mile to the downtown movie theater to see an afternoon matinee. The weather was perfect for the outing.

HR is busy with hiring boards, interviews and checking out references. Last week, we hired a new 8th grade teacher with a solid math background and a new houseparent, who will start next fall in the younger grade homes. Today I met another houseparent candidate from Michigan who is here for an interview.

Our tri-county area, which includes Chamberlain as well as the Lower Brule and Crow Creek Indian reservations, is planning to build a memorial to area veterans near the Interstate exit and overlooking the beautiful Missouri River. One of the organizers visited with me today to share more information and to ask for our help in promoting the project. Besides our many staff and students who have honorably served our country, there are actually quite a few priests and brothers who worked here over the years who were veterans before they chose to enter religious life.

Brother Steve Cyr SCJ  (died in 2003, the Cyr Home is named after) was a squad sergeant in the difficult battle of Monte Cassino in WWII. He said,

“I promised God that if He saw fit to let me survive that, when the war ended, I would become a religious and give my life in service.”

He worked at St. Joseph’s Indian School for 42 years, and admirably fulfilled that promise. We’re considering ways that we might honor and remember people like Brother Steve through this project.

I finished the evening by joining the Hogebach (high school girls) Home for supper. On the message board by the front door was a large “20” indicting the number of school days left at Chamberlain High School. Our three seniors in that home have even less. They’re getting very excited, but also having bad cases of “senioritis” and need regular reminders not to procrastinate and get caught up in missing assignments.

Many of these young women will be on campus for part of the summer, for driver’s ed or to help with our Rising Eagle Summer Camps. Some will continue jobs in town or try some new employment to gain work experience and save up a few bucks to help them realize future plans and goals. Just as summer is just around the corner, it won’t be long before the juniors in the home enter their final year of studies here.