After a two-week vacation, our Native American students returned to St. Joseph’s campus shortly after noon when our homes opened.
Today, was still the legal holiday for our year round staff, so morning was very quiet in the office. I’m going to miss the uninterrupted times to work on projects. But, I missed the students and child services staff being away even more, and was delighted to welcome them back.
I made rounds of most of the homes. Early in the afternoon, when only a handful of students were back, proved to be a good time to check in with houseparents about their holiday break. Closer to supper time, more of the children were around. Some were unpacking or doing laundry. Since our students come from across the state, they may not get to see each other when they are home. Many were checking in with the friends they hadn’t seen in a while.
Twenty-six degrees seems cold, but when I came by the football field, the Ambrose boys (1st-3rd grade) were out under the lights and were having a great time tossing a ball around and dreaming of one day playing in a Bowl game. I’m glad that our students are more likely to play games outside than watch them on TV. I am concerned that when like most kids, they have a tendency to overdo the video games.
The health center was a hub of activity. After each student dropped their belongings at their homes, they came to see our nurses for a brief examination, a screening for head lice and a check on medications, cuts, bruises or injuries needing attention. We try to keep a close check on health issues, fully buying into the maxim that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Semester breaks are also times of student transitions. I met Kayla and Anthony, two of the new students we accepted from our waiting list once we had an opening. They are both excited about the opportunities here and scared about how they will fit in. I tried to learn their names right away. It’s important as a child when adults know you as an individual and can call you by name. (Something biblical about that as well!)
School starts tomorrow. Welcome back everyone!