My name is Aaron and I have the most interesting job on campus (in my humble opinion) and if you read this, I feel you will agree by the end. I am the videographer here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. My job is to make short videos that tell the stories of our students and campus events. I consider it an immense privilege and responsibility to be handed the task of telling another’s life story.
The balance of a story involved in this job would surprise most, as even I was unaware that it would become my biggest hurdle. What do I mean? The high-dynamic relationship between such young kids’ trials and their victories propositions me with a critical decision. If the story focuses on the blunt reality of their hardships, I fear coming across exploitive. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, these kids’ stories NEED to be told and people need to realize the truth of just how amazingly difficult their lives are. How disclosing should one be? Long answer made short…I let the kids and families obviously tell the story, not me, and my job then becomes to make sure it is captured and edited in the most honoring way and approved by them before sharing.
An outsider cannot be motivated to help unless a problem is announced…but to obtain the proportionate amount of help needed to match the gravity of the situation requires some very tender information to be publicized. Striking this appropriate balance is a daily decision I do not take lightly. These students have a huge chunk of my heart and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else. Our campus is a family covered by prayer and protected by the help of donors all over the world. It is the most diverse, yet harmonious organization of which I am aware.
Hello everyone, my name is LaRayne. I’d like to give you a recap of St. Joseph’s Indian School’s Rising Eagle Day Camp. (Check out pictures here!)
Summer camp is a different time around St. Joseph’s Indian School. It is a time for new faces, old faces and a time for building a lot of new relationships. I have the pleasure of sharing some Native American cultural lessons with a twist of arts and crafts added to them. Each day is precious.
Having a class of 30 students is something I am not used to, but I have the help of some great young adult counselors who chose to share part of their summer with our day camp kids. It is great to have the help when we tackle making medicine pouches in one day, or learning to hoop dance in one morning.
St. Joseph’s Indian School campus becomes the village that raises the child for the day. We have caregivers, teachers, counselors, lifeguards, food service workers, recreation specialists and good ‘ol supervisors who look after the camp-goers each day.
I especially enjoy seeing former students, meeting new students, and talking to some students who hope to come to our school in the future. This camp brings together many good things. It is somewhat like a powwow. We celebrate, dance, create, build relationships, eat, play, and focus on culture. Yes, each day is precious in the life of a child.
Spring has sprung and the campus at St. Joseph’s Indian School is coming alive! The kids have returned from their Easter break and now look toward the end of the school year. With the warmer temperatures the students are spending as much time outside as they can! There are a great many activities going on for our students, tee-ball, softball, soccer and track to name a few. The students stay busy and and their teachers, houseparents and support staff are always there supporting and cheering them on in all of their activities !
What does the end of school year mean for the Clinical Services Department? Well, we spend the rest of the school year helping the kids stay focused on school and helping the older students finalize plans for driver’s education, summer employment, INMED (Indians in Medicine), Gear Up and plans for next year. We also work with our eighth grade students to to prepare them for high school.
As spring gives way to summer, we will start working on new student admissions for next school year. The Family Service Counselors travel in the summer to visit our students and meet new prospective students and families. Traveling around the state to visit with old and new students is always a great part of the summer.
As another year begins to wind down, I am thankful for the time I have been able to spend with our Native American students. The students get excited to go home and be with their families, but hopefully they know we will miss them while they are away for the summer!
I have the privilege to share with you what has been happening here at St. Joseph’s over this past weekend since Fr. Steve, several of our Native American students and some of our staff have been on a donor luncheon in the Napa Valley area of California.
From the students’ point of view, the biggest thing on campus is the start of the boys’ basketball and the girls’ intercity basketball seasons. The boys kicked off the season against Lyman here at the rec center and St. Joseph’s came out victorious with the 7th and 8th grade teams, but our 6th graders came up a few points short. The 7th & 8th grade teams also had the honor of being invited to attend a recent Chamberlain High School (CHS) basketball game, on which several St. Joseph students are playing, and sit behind the varsity bench and visit the locker room. This came about since the CHS team had been able to use our gym to do some practicing and the coach came up with this as a way of saying thanks. The girls’ intercity began this past Sunday with young ladies from the Chamberlain, South Dakota area joining with 6th, 7th and 8th grade students here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. They are divided up into four teams. Their season will run through the start of March. You may recall that when the boys had their season they had a special five-minute quarter for those who were 6th graders so they had the chance to play a bit; but the girls are trying out a different wrinkle in that each player has to play in each quarter. The coaches are trying to sub so that each plays about 3 minutes per quarter. The purpose of the intercity is to give the young ladies a chance to get to know each other so that when they meet up in high school they will already know something about the new classmates.
Another sports activity, geared to give our students something to do during the months that there should be snow outside, is our bowling program. Again this is offered to the students in the upper grades on Saturday afternoons with staff serving as team captains and coaches. The students enjoy it since there are quarters to be won for strikes and picking up the various splits that occur. The local alley also offers a choice of free drink or nachos if one of the participants gets a strike when a special pin is the head pin. To keep things on an even keel, each bowler has a handicap so that extra pins are given to make it as even as possible at the start.
The weather finally turned a bit winter-like. We received some snow and cold temperatures mid-week which allowed the students to hit the slopes and try out their sleds and ski boards received when they opened their ‘Christmas gifts.’ They enjoyed being out of the homes going up and down the hills. The joy they experienced reminds me to again say,
‘Pilamaya – thank you’ for your generosity towards our students.
It was amazing how generous you were and how excited the students were to be pulling apart paper and ribbons to see what else “Santa” brought them. Fr. Steve and I enjoyed having the chance to go to the various homes on campus to see the excitement.
However, the change in weather also brought some tragedy to the local Chamberlain community. Since we have had such a mild winter, the arrival of snow and ice did cause a few accidents. One especially, touched many here in Chamberlain as the pastor of the local United Church of Christ, Rev. Gregg King, was killed as he and his wife were taking their daughter to the airport in Sioux Falls. He lost control, crossed the meridian and hit an on-coming vehicle. Several of our staff are members of that local Faith community. We ask that you keep Reverend King in your prayers.
The new Bishop of Rapid City, South Dakota, the Most Rev. Robert Gruss, is scheduled to take place next week. He has just recently been installed as Bishop. The Diocese of Rapid City covers all the state of South Dakota west of the Missouri River. As many of our students come from West River areas, Bishop Gruss is their shepherd.
May the Great Spirit continue to bless and reward you for your generosity towards St. Joseph’s. I hope each of you have a great day and that your new year is offer to a wonderful start. Am happy to have had this chance to share with you some of what is happening here on campus. Looking forward to the next time I can share with you.