An Adventure in Washington D.C.

Hi!  I am Dianne G., Administrative Assistant at the school. I haven’t blogged for awhile so I will fill you in with my news.  I actually have missed quite a bit of work in January and February—my husband received a kidney transplant on January 3 and he was hospitalized in Omaha, Nebraska, for a total of 30 days.  Our prayers were answered and e is now doing well and recuperating at home!

I was totally out of the loop for awhile, but now am back!

Earlier this fall, I was selected along with one of our houseparents to accompany three of our Lakota students on a trip to Washington, D.C. — a fantastic gift from one of St. Joseph’s donors!

We left early on a Saturday morning (we got up at 4:00 a.m.!!) and flew to D.C.  Two of the girls had never flown before so it was a new experience for them, as was the entire trip to everyone but me (I went to D.C. last June with my son and his family).

I was so glad that I had been there before as it helped me to plan the itinerary for the trip.  We were five very busy people.  As soon as we got to our hotel and unloaded our luggage, we walked to the Hard Rock Café and had a scrumptious supper along with a fun-filled dining experience.  We then went to Union Station to pick up our tickets for the Moonlight Monument Tour.

D.C. is a beautiful sight at night—all the memorials that were lit up were awesome.  We also drove past Arlington National Cemetery, the Pentagon, the Capital, the Supreme Court and made stops at three of the memorials. The girls were amazed how large Lincoln’s statue was in his memorial.

While touring we saw the President’s helicopter flanked by two other helicopters heading for the White House!  Our tour guide provided us with historical facts and trivia questions.  Such a great time!

The next day, we went to the Holocaust Museum which made such an impression on the girls—we all had tears in our eyes.  Then on to the American History Museum where we saw Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, Kermit the Frog, the flag that the Star Spangled Banner was written about and so much more!

We walked around the White House and took tons of pictures. We went to the P.O.V. Terrace, which is at the top of the W Hotel, where we could see all of Washington from above.

Later on, we dressed up for dinner, which was fun, and ended up eating hamburgers and fries!!  Our girls gave their uneaten fries to a homeless person who they saw outside the restaurant.

On our last full day, we went to the National Museum of the American Indian, where the girls played interactive games and crafts and received stamps on their “passports.”  We had a little snack there after seeing an awesome movie about the different tribes and then walked to the Dirksen Building (in the rain).

We went to South Dakota Senator Thune’s office, where we had scheduled a tour of the Capitol and hoped to meet Senator Thune.  We had a great tour guide and learned a lot of the history of the capitol, along with some fun information like the whispering spot where we could hear our guide from across the room!  We did not get to meet Senator Thune as he had flown home to South Dakota when the Senate recessed.  We were disappointed about that.

After that we headed to Union Station where we ate some delicious sandwiches and rested our feet for a little while.  We then caught a taxi and headed for the Spy Museum where we were involved in solving a mystery!  Wow!  After all this activity we were T-I-R-E-D.

We spent the rest of the evening packing our things and resting our weary bones.  We flew out the next day and spent a lot of time in airports—seeing the sights there also.  All of us had such a great time but were ready to come home and see our families.  Heidi and I took the kids home after arriving in Chamberlain around 10:00 p.m., so it was a late night for us.

What a wonderful experience!  We are very thankful for such a great trip!

The Lakota students visited the Oval Office.
Vilencia sits at the President’s desk in the Oval Office!
Thanks to a generous benefactor, three Native American students from St. Joseph’s visited Washington D.C.
The girls dressed up for their tour of the Capitol Building.
The Lakota students enjoyed the National Museum of the American Indian.
A highlight of the trip was the National Museum of the American Indian.

Guest Blogger: Dianne

Hi, my name is Dianne—I am Administrative Assistant in the school— and I just thought I would catch you up on what is going on at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

We are in the fourth week of the second quarter of school—just a couple of weeks until Thanksgiving Break, and midterm is a week away.  This year has gone by so fast, but time flies when you’re having fun!

And fun we have had … Halloween was so much fun for all the students and staff. A good portion of the school was dressed up in their costumes for the day and after school everyone went trick or treating here on campus.  I, myself, came as a rock star!  Many of the offices and all of the homes have had Halloween treats to share.  At the end of trick or treating, the Rec Center has a grand march and costume judging contest.  There are so many innovative costumes to see!  It really is fun to watch!

We are very busy here at school with our regular schedule of classes and many extracurricular activities also.  Today, we have two girls basketball games—one here at St. Joseph’s and one away.

Service Plan Meetings are being held, which are much like Teacher/Parent Conferences and are held twice per year. These include the teacher, the parent/guardian, the family service counselor, the houseparent and the student themselves.

This week we will have our Honor Roll Assemblies for first quarter.  Our prizes have arrived and they will be given out to those on the A and B Honor Roll and those with Perfect/Outstanding Attendance for first quarter.  I think the students will love what we ordered for them—notebooks and bookmarks with Native American designs. They are quite beautiful!  I also have made their certificates on award paper with Native American designs.

We have a lot to accomplish before Thanksgiving Break, which seems to be just around the corner.  It will be a good time for staff and students alike to take a little break from all the daily schoolwork and teaching to regroup and be ready to begin refreshed when we return.

Thanks for all your support to aid us in what we do for our Native American students!

Guest Blogger: Dianne

Hi!  My name is Dianne and this is my first time blogging! I thought I’d start by letting you know a little bit about myself.  I have been Administrative Assistant here at St. Joseph’s going on 36 years.  I love my job, love the kids, and love what St. Joseph’s stands for.

My job in the office is always very busy—students come to me when they don’t feel well and I determine if they need a cough drop, an ice bag (quite a popular seller here!), if they need to go to the Health Center, or just some tender loving care.  We see many students for other reasons like “I can’t find my planner,” “I lost my glasses,” “Which class am I supposed to be in now,” “I’m lost,” etc. !

We have several new students and this way I get to know them personally.  Actually, the kids are my favorite part of my job!  They come from many different places, but seem to find their place in the world here, make friends, and do quite well!  The little first graders are so darn cute—they steal your heart away.

Two scary monsters at St. Joseph's Indian School.
Two monsters at an Academic Awards Banquet!

Today we have many different things going on in the school—we just finished our first quarter of school so I am busy getting report cards out and figuring out who is on the A and B honor roll.  We will have an awards assembly and present them with their certificate and a prize.  If students are on the honor roll two quarters in a row, they get to attend the Academic Banquet.  I have helped with the banquet several years now—we always have a theme with fun decorations, serve a meal and give door prizes and awards.  Some of our themes have been The 50’s—Rock and Roll, Tie Dyed—70’s, Monsters, Candy Land, Disco and many, many more.

We are now on Infinite Campus, a statewide program, so the job of grades and report cards has been made easier for all.  Also, the students’ parents and/or guardians can check their progress at home.  It has been a challenge for us all to acclimate ourselves to doing things a different way, but will be well worth it in the long run.

I keep track of attendance and also of activities on campus which I include on the weekly FYI.  I enjoy putting this together and adding clip art and pictures of our students along with the activities.  I have been including powwow pictures for some time now as they are enjoyable to look at and very colorful also!

Our school is always a very busy place like all schools—our Native American students live here on campus and go to school also. This gives us a good chance to really get to know them well. I still see kids who went to school here years ago—many of them have their own kids enrolled here!  I think this speaks very highly of what we do here.

Thanks for your support!