New adventures, abroad and in the snow

Each summer, we offer a 3-week exchange program with our sister school – also founded by the Priests of the Sacred Heart – in Handrup, Germany. Yesterday, eight of our Native American high school students interested in applying for consideration had their chance to make a power point presentation to a the staff of St. Joseph’s High School program.

They were honest about their fears: lost luggage, not understanding much German, how would they get along with the host families. They also spoke of what they hoped to gain from the experience: a different sense of history, the self-confidence that comes from trying new adventures, appreciation of another culture, and preparation for college.

One girl said that, while both of her parents are Sioux, one of her great grandfathers was a German Homesteader, and she would be fascinated with exploring that connection.

I enjoyed each of the presentations. I was there for moral support, and am glad I’m not the one who has to make the final determination on who goes. Most of the students were juniors, but a couple are still sophomores, so if not selected this year, they will have the chance to try again.

Our younger Lakota students are taking computerized standard testing called MAPS. They’ve proven to be patient throughout the sometimes trying process. One benefit for them is that homework is light this week due to the tests.

After school, many headed to the football field to take advantage of sledding. The sun came out and warmed the ground above melting. Once the sun went down, the slopes refroze and created conditions for long and fast runs down the hill.

As I called it a day, and came past on my way home, the squeals of delight rang in my memory.

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 90 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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