On a slushy, icy morning this week, a garbage truck knocked over an electrical pole in downtown Chamberlain and knocked out power to St. Joseph’s whole campus just as school was beginning. Teachers had to scramble with their lesson plans, and go back to pre-technology activities like reading poetry and solving math problems with pencil and paper. The classrooms have enough windows and natural lighting to get by, but the littlest Lakota students were reluctant to go into the darkened bathrooms and were very relieved when the lights finally came on an hour later.
Over the weekend, the Hogebach Home (HS girls) made a trip to the Twin Cities in Minnesota. I stopped by their home for supper to hear all about their adventures. For many, their favorite event was shopping. I’ve been to the Mall of America before and was overwhelmed by too many choices. But they loved the variety, and were even happy window shopping before making a choice. Most of the students in this home work part time jobs, so they had saved up money to buy some fashions not easily found in our small South Dakota town.
When our St. Joseph’s homes travel as a group, we ask them to include some educational or vocational activity during their time.
Erika, one of our seniors, has been accepted to an art school in the Twin Cities, and made a special visit to campus to receive more information and orientation. She and houseparent Robb were impressed and pleased by what they heard and saw.
Many of our students come from low-income families and often qualify for grants and financial aid. St. Joseph’s also helps with some scholarships. I tell our students that if they have the perseverance to stay in school and do well with their studies, we will help them find the funds to make it through.