Our Favorite 2021-22 Memories at St. Joseph’s Indian School

Kids say and do the darndest things, we know that’s true. So what happens when you place approximately 200 students within 20 homes at St. Joseph’s Indian School?

The answer: A whole lot of silliness. A whole lot of love. A whole lot of saying, “What in the world?!”

We polled some of the houseparents at St. Joseph’s in the hopes they would share some of their favorite memories that took place over the past school year. Share they did! Their answers will warm your heart, tickle your ribs and make you smile!

Pinger Home Story:
One of the kiddos stained their white shirt while eating a chili dog. She was asked to treat the spots with Shout and put it in the laundry to wash. After it came out of the wash, the shirt was still stained.

I said, “Aww, kiddo! Look, it’s still stained! Did you put plenty of Shout on it like I asked you to do?”

The child looked right at me without skipping a beat and said, “It’s not a stain, it’s a memory.”

— Brittney, houseparent

Speyer Home Story:
Last winter, a boy from Speyer was caught with food service gloves at school. Why? So he could eat Cheetos he had snuck in his bag without getting caught with orange fingers! Genius! 

Another story, same boy: He asked to clean his shoes, so I set him up with soapy water, rags, etc., but then he decided he needed a toothbrush. A few minutes I’m hearing a noise that sounded like a small motor: he was using his electric toothbrush! He assured me he wouldn’t be using it for his teeth! His shoes are very clean …

— Deb, houseparent

Summerlee Home Story:
While we were coming back from our home trip, we stopped to eat at McDonald’s. The girls immediately noticed a homeless woman and her dog sitting on the curb. The girls were so concerned about them and decided that they wanted to give her some money and food. The girls all pitched in together out of their own money and raised about $8 or $10 that they wanted her to have. They also loaded her up with drinks and snacks — giving up their own snacks. 

I gave everything to the woman just to be safe and protect the kids. But, I told her that there were a bunch of little girls who cared enough about her to sow into her. I then prayed for the woman and her dog. She was very touched by the girls’ generosity — wóčhaŋtognake.

I don’t think I have ever felt more proud of our girls, and I let them know it. Everything we have sown into them is now coming to fruition, and it is so beautiful to experience. This is the best ending to this school year that we could have had! Go Summerlee!!!

— Jared, houseparent

Dennis Home Story:
Mike and I feel so blessed to see the joy and excitement that magical figures can bring to the 1-3rd grade girls in our care. The girls get so excited when they lose a tooth and they get to leave their tooth on the counter for the tooth fairy. Sometimes they leave a note or a question for the tooth fairy to answer.

For many years now — shortly before Christmas — our Home’s “Elf on the Shelf” has come to visit. The children named our Elf “Buddy DJ Thunder”. He arrives on our doorstep in a large beautifully wrapped box with a lovely ribbon and bow. Buddy is encased in a Christmas see-though container with a lid — as you can’t touch Buddy — and he brings with him a Christmas “Elf” story book and videos that help to explain the magic and spirit of the season. Last year, Buddy brought with him a puppy that the girls named “Mudball” after their favorite no-bake cookie.

A couple of years ago, Suzy Swoof, a fairy and friend of the Tooth Fairy, started arriving in the Fall. For a few consecutive weekends, she brings with her small gifts for the girls at night when they are asleep. Suzy has a storybook that was written about her explaining how she was bullied and teased by the other swoofs. In the story, Suzy does not return the unkindness. Instead, she chooses to be kind to those who mistreated her. Suzy can’t fly like some fairies, but comes via balloon or kite through a cracked window we leave open at night.

Some of the girls believe they hear Suzy or Buddy when they come into the Dennis Home while we are asleep after bedtime. All of the girls gleefully watch for Suzy’s gifts or look for Buddy the Elf’s new spot in our Home after he visits the North Pole.

All of the girls talk to their families on the phone and gleefully tell them about their magical friends. The joy that Buddy, Suzy, and Mudball bring to our home is hard to describe but I am thankful for the magic and happiness that they bring to our Home each year.

— Bette, houseparent

Rooney Home Story:
We seem to have a lot of comedians in the Rooney Home. One day as I was doing logs, one of the boys (an 8th grader) came up to me and asked me if I could print him out a picture.

I said, “Yes of course, what do you want?” 

He said, “Can you print me out a picture of a phone, so I can take it upstairs and have it in my room?!”

I could not stop myself from bursting out laughing and just calling him out on his silly foolishness. He had the biggest smirk on his face! (In our home, boys cannot take their cell phones upstairs and teens being teens, they always want their phones with them so they are constantly begging us to let them take their cellphones for the night. This is why he had asked me to print him out a picture of a phone so he could at least have this.) These boys! J

— Julie, houseparent

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we don’t take for granted the immense gift it is to help Native American children grow up in a safe place with everything they need. We’re thankful to parents who enroll and entrust us with their greatest treasures — their children. We’re also so thankful for kind and generous people — people like you — who make it so.

Philámayayethank you — for supporting our mission to educate Native American children and families for life — mind, body, heart and spirit.

Learn more about the Residential program at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

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.

4 thoughts on “Our Favorite 2021-22 Memories at St. Joseph’s Indian School”

  1. Sending Love and Light to ALL the house parents AND the children. We are all blessed with the communion of giving and our lives are enriched by the doing of it. All kinds of friends and all kinds of families. Friends are Forever. Families are Forever.

  2. Thank you St. Joseph’s Indian School for all you do for the children at your school. I trust that they will grow up to be happy healthy young people and great contributors to our society.

  3. Hi! I am so pleased with all you posted. I have a large amount of items for your students and teachers and you can give to the student’s parents. I feel better doing this as you do not have to buy these items and you can help every student and even teacher with items. They will be mailed soon and you can have them ready for when school starts up again or even the ones that are there all the time.
    God Bless All of You,
    Lynne Houser Reese

    1. Thank you so much, Lynn! We will get in touch with you through email very soon. We appreciate your kindness and generosity.

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