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!!”

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!”

Guest Blogger: Pamela

Hello to everyone out there!

I am Pamela. My position here at St. Joseph’s Indian School is Transition Specialist. So what do I do? I help our eighth grade students transition from St Joseph’s elementary school to Chamberlain High School.

We have a summer program here for our new freshmen, which allows them to take classes in the morning up at the high school with some of the high school teachers. This gives them the opportunity to get to know some teachers and the school before they attend in the fall.

Native American student shopping in a college bookstore.
Danisha shopping for her new school colors!

Another part of my job is to help our high school students transition from high school to the real world of being an adult. I have one senior girl attending the American Indian University at Crazy Horse. This gives her the opportunity to take college classes from the University of South Dakota and work at the Crazy Horse monument. Danisha has the opportunity to earn 12 college credits before starting her college years at Dakota State University.

Erin is another graduate who is making great use of her summer. She is working now and will be attending the Davis-Bahcall summer program. She will study physics for two weeks here in South Dakota at the Homestake mine and then go on to Chicago and finish the experience in Italy. Another one of our graduates is attending INMED at the University of North Dakota. INMED is a program for Native American students interested in a career in the medical field.

Four Lakota graduates.
St. Joseph’s Indian School high school graduates.

I also work with our high school students in the world of employment. We have students working on campus learning about careers. We have day camp counselors, janitors, maintenance workers, museum workers and students working in the dining hall. This gives our students a chance to earn some money over the summer and learn about the responsibility of having a job.

Summers can be as busy as the school year around here! It is nice to see our American Indian students doing things that will help them prepare for their future.

Wishing you all a great summer!

Field days and math tests

Great throw Miles!

The school was unusually quiet when I visited yesterday. Grades 1-5 were up at the high school track for their field days.

As this school year ends, I was involved in meetings with staff about next year’s schedule and our long-range maintenance and planning needs, so I didn’t make the festivities. When I caught up with the students after school, they proudly displayed the ribbons they won for 100 meter dash, softball throw or a score of other events.

Our middle school students were in the classrooms. One very quiet room was finishing up the last math test of the semester. The 6th grade language arts students had finished their Literature reader and were taking off dust covers and cleaning up the books to prepare them for next year’s classes. All the classrooms are scheduled to get a clean coat of paint over the summer. As the teachers put things away, the walls are starting to look especially bare to prepare for that work.

Today was the last faculty meeting of the year. Kathleen, our principal ordered the makings for banana splits and I helped dish out ice cream and thank the teachers at the close of another successful year. Some of them will work for parts of our summer program. Some will take the summer off or do something completely different to renew themselves for next year. Richard and Vaye Jean are retiring, and Kathleen presented them with a small gift as a token of our affection.

Human Resources (HR) updated me that we’ve filled most of our school positions, but are still interviewing for four more positions. Our advertising and word of mouth seems to be working as there are a good pile of resumes to review and references to call. HR is one of the busier groups on campus over the summer as we try to get new staff trained and in place for a smooth start in the fall.

Most of our donations are small, regular sacrificial gifts in the $20 range. Larger gifts usually come in the form of a bequest or a charitable gift annuity. But today I was surprised by the biggest unannounced donation I’ve seen this year – enough to pay 3 teacher’s salaries, or help with special projects wherever it is needed! When I made a personal call to thank the donor, he was a man of few words, but just wanted the money to benefit our students and our programs. I am humbled and grateful for people’s generosity, and committed to running good programs that use these resources to make a difference.

Fr. Steve’s updates

I appreciate good staff, grow close to them and hate to see them go. But we always seem to find others who take up the commitment to our mission and help out with their own unique gifts, talents and personalities.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

At afternoon work break, our business office said goodbye to Desiree, who will leave us to work at home on the family ranch. I appreciate good staff, grow close to them and hate to see them go. But we always seem to find others who take up the commitment to our mission and help out with their own unique gifts, talents and personalities.

We have two homes open for our students who need the support of  St. Joseph’s  summer program. I stopped in for supper in the Summerlee home, and enjoyed the company of a half dozen of our young women, grades 3-8. They have three hours of school each morning, then afternoons filled with recreation or other activities. The favorite activity seems to be the trips into the town pool, and playful interaction with other kids their age.