Returning to campus after a donor event

We’ve just returned from our Sarasota donor luncheon trip. After walking along the beach barefooted and enjoying supper at a an outdoor sidewalk café, coming home to -5 degrees and scraping snow and ice off the windshield was quite a shock to the system!

Why couldn’t I get any sympathy from the staff who were here all along facing the frigid wintry blast?

To make matters worse, a semi truck slid into an electrical pole and knocked out power for an hour Sunday night. At St. Joseph’s, we have a fuel-powered backup generator, and were able to keep key areas of campus warm until the power company got things squared away. In the winter, I say regular prayers for those who work in the cold to keep us safe and warm.

There was a big crowd in the gym last night for fourth, fifth and sixth grade boys basketball games against Chamberlain. When we have three games like that, the other Lakota children come and go for supper, homework and other activities, but everyone stops by for a few quarters to cheer the teams on.

It was also the debut of St. Joseph’s cheerleading squad. They added spirited encouragement and got the stands more involved. Their new pom poms added to their look, and they wildly waved them at exciting moments throughout the night.

All the games were very close, with Chamberlain winning the first two and our St. Joseph’s students prevailing in the nightcap. In a few years, many of these boys will be competing alongside each other instead of against one another, and we work hard to build good sportsmanship.

While I missed the weekend performances of the high school’s one act play, I did get home in time to enjoy their last dress rehearsal before they took it to Pierre for the regional competition. There they received a first place rating, and will continue on to the state competition.


I’m glad and proud when our Native American students have opportunities to participate in arts activities.

After being gone from campus for a few days, I made the rounds to different departments and checked on how things are going around campus. The warehouse was stacked with bales of cardboard and shredded paper ready to be trucked off for recycling. While we actually earn a few dollars over the course of the year for doing so, the big benefit is that it doesn’t just go to the landfill as garbage, but can be reused and we help do our part for the environment. That was one of the goals of our last strategic plan.

For our current plan, we’re holding more listening meetings with staff again this week. It’s been time consuming; over two weeks I’ve met with 15 different small groups for an hour each. But we’ve heard good ideas and answered questions as we try to move forward with improving student achievement and success, and a host of other goals.

Over and over again, I appreciated how committed and passionate our staff is about trying to improve in every area on campus.

We had a farewell for Amy K, who is leaving her job in the mail processing room to go back to school. It’s always sad when part of our community moves on, but I’m happy when people take the chance to improve their education and set themselves up for better opportunities. We wish her all the best!

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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