The first day of classes at St. Joseph’s

The first day of classes! I enjoyed looking out my office window and seeing the playground, full of laughter and playfulness again.

I waited until later in the day to make rounds of the classrooms. The teachers need some time to get students settled and organized. The first graders especially will take some time to feel at home here and get used to the routine. As I walked into each classroom, I had our returning students help me meet and greet our new kids. I welcomed them and worked on remembering a few more names. We still have a few students who haven’t arrived, but know they’re on their way. By the end of the week when our high school students return, we should have everyone in place.

For supper I joined the girls of Stevens Home (6th-8th grade). They are enjoying the brightness and spaciousness of our newest remodeling job. The five 8th grade girls remember living in the home two years ago before the upgrades, and proudly showed off what they had done with the new spaces. While few of the students particularly enjoy cleaning, the houseparents, Frank and Wanda, told me the students have a little more pride and put in a little extra elbow grease to keep things looking nice.

After school the houseparents took the girls to Central Receiving, where all the new clothing that generous donors have dropped off or mailed in has been sized and sorted. They got to “shop” for a half hour, and were showing off their fashion finds. They were especially pleased to find a nice, dressy outfit or two for “church clothes”.

As I walked back to my office, I saw groups of the younger children playing in Wisdom Circle. I noticed that a good-sized group of Dennis Home (1st-3rd grade girls) were seated at the picnic table. Three were on the bench, and four others were sitting on the table, hovering above them and combing their hair.

A fair number of kids have returned from summer with head lice. It’s so commonplace here that it isn’t embarrassing, but a back-to-school routine that we have to plan for. Their housemates were gently and carefully combing and pulling nits out of hair. It seemed to build a sense of care and community among the girls, and they were enjoying the great outdoors, talking and getting to know the new students.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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