Temperatures have dipped down into the low teens the past couple of days as winter reminded us it’s just around the corner. I bundled up good and walked down to chapel for our regular morning mass. When I came out of chapel, the high school students were walking toward the bus to pick them up. A few of our older students who have driver’s licenses and good grades have earned driving privileges, and we have a few high mileage cars in the fleet they can take to school, sports and/or play practices. Errol has earned that privilege, but today he also learned about responsibility. He had to come out early to scrape the ice off the windshield and get the car defrosted.
Another student was waiting for me by my office. All those going out for basketball have to sell a number of gift certificate packs to restaurants and businesses in town to help pay for their equipment. Kyle got my money, then later I was asked by two other ball players. Our staff tries to be generous and help students out with such purchases, but there are only so many coupons and magazine subscriptions you can buy.
We have finally gotten our expected winter snows and cold spell. The schools in town had a two-hour late start, but with all our Native American students right here on St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus, we began as usual. While most of us grumble at the cold and endure, the kids who got new sleds for Christmas are very excited and were out in force on the slope leading down to the football field after school today.
When I stopped by Religion Class for the 1st grade, Basil asked me,
“Do you walk in heaven?”
“Not yet, but hopefully one day.”
I’m never sure what kind of images go through the mind of a seven-year old. At least they’re not embarrassed to ask the questions that do come to mind, which is refreshing and prompts me to look more closely at my beliefs.
We had 12 of our 39 high school students make the first semester honor roll at Chamberlain High School. Many others came close and certainly improved their GPA from last year. Congratulations to the students who put in the study hours, and those staff who’ve worked so hard to point (and sometimes push) them in the right direction.
We’re starting to work on budgets, and one of the first tasks is to look ahead at all the building and maintenance issues that would be included in capital expenses. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we are able make changes on campus each year. We always do regular upgrades and maintenance, but every year need to discern what buildings and equipment have been fixed and repaired so often that they need either replacement or a total renovation. We start out with a big wish list, then have to prioritize and make some decisions based on the rest of our programs budgetary needs.
While we just started the new semester two weeks ago, we’re already working ahead and trying to firm up next year’s school calendar. What makes it tricky is that while our high school students attend the Chamberlain public school, we are never quite on the same schedule. We have more days of school, trying to give our students more time for mastery of their academic subjects. We don’t take off many federal holidays during the school year. Even during the breaks and vacations, we often have break homes to accommodate students who want or need to stay on campus. Luckily Karla is an able administrator able to keep up with those details and give us some solid drafts to consider.