Rise Above the Storm and You will Find Your Sunshine

The eighth grade class of 2021 posed for a group photo. You can feel the love they have for one another!

If you are a supporter of St. Joseph’s Indian School, think back on how long you’ve been a part of our thiyóšpayeextended family. Maybe you’re new to the crew. Or, maybe you’ve stayed loyal to the Lakota (Sioux) children and have been supporting them for three, five or even 10-plus years.

Regardless of how long you’ve been our kȟoláfriend you can take pride in what your support has accomplished for the eighth grade class of 2021. Of our graduates, four of them have been at St. Joseph’s since the first grade, or eight years. Three have been here since the second grade, or seven years. While another three have been here for six years …

In fact, the shortest stay of any child in this eighth grade graduating class: three years.

Some eighth grade students made papier mâché projects in art class.

Throughout your years of support, these are the faces of the children you have stood beside. You’ve helped provide them with a quality education, nutritious meals, warm clothing, Christmas gifts … the list is endless. And now, they’re reaching the pivotal milestone of graduation.

Two eighth grade girls participate in the Potato Dance during powwow.

And grateful doesn’t come close to describing how they feel. Because others first reached out to them, they can continue reaching for their dreams. Some of the eighth grade graduates had this to say:

“Thank you for donating to my school so that we can do fun things here. When I grow up, I want to be in the Army.” — DeVarrell

“Thanks for helping us get what we need. Later in life, I want to be a basketball player.”— Aiden

“Thank you for donating to my school. When I grow up, I want to be a lot of things, but I mainly want to be a nurse. I want to be a nurse is because I want to help people.” — Mersayis

Some of the eighth grade class posed for a photo during College, Career and Military Day at school.

As these smart, kind students graduate from the eighth grade, their class flag will be hung in St. Joseph’s Rec Center among all the other graduating classes as far back as 1978.

Typically, the graduating class’ motto is front and center on these flags — a phrase they decide together that sums-up their time at St. Joseph’s leading up to the monumental day of graduation. For instance, the flag of the class of 1979 reads, “We get by with a Little Help from Our Friends.”

The flags of every graduating class as far back as 1978 are hung in the Rec Center at St. Joseph’s.

The class of 1988 chose the phrase, “We had the time of our lives.” The 2001 flag reads, “Watch Us as We Change the World.” In 2013, our graduates chose the words, “We all take different paths in life, but we will take a little of each other everywhere we go.”

The motto our graduates chose is so fitting … “Rise Above the Storm and You will Find Your Sunshine.” It’s an original quote — one created by Leslie, a 2021 eighth grade graduate.

Following a year of new procedures and responses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we think it’s perfect. This class has weathered the world’s recent storms so triumphantly. They’ve refused to settle for anything other than sunshine.

And we couldn’t be prouder.

We hope you are filled with a sense of pride, too. Although it’s likely you won’t meet these faces in person, the impact you had on them will be something they carry with them into high school and throughout the rest of their lives.

Philámayayethank you for helping make the wishes of our eighth grade graduates come true!

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.

5 thoughts on “Rise Above the Storm and You will Find Your Sunshine”

  1. I love how the students learn the meaning of the jingle dance and that they all work together to make the dress with the jingles and prayer ties. When they do the dance they understand and acknowledge the true meaning and inspiration of the dress and dance.
    Thank you for sharing this lovely tradition.

  2. It is a deep and lasting joy for me to give what small amount I can to enhance the lives and possibilities of the Lakota Sioux children. They are the substance of a great tribe… it’s in their bones and their blood and as before, they will feel and know this as they grow more… they will be a Light for all others to see and to embrace. The past is that which was, guiding, bringing them now to a future of greatness. You are most beloved of those who’ve walked there before where you are walking now. Know this. Be glad. It could never GET any better.

  3. Congratulations to the class of 2021. What a year in which to graduate! Stay the course students as you continue your studies in high school.

  4. To all the beautiful 8th grade students…I love you and I am so proud of you all! Middle school is the hardest time of all school years, so if you made it this far it will only get better! I love to see you grow and progress towards your high school graduation from Chamberlain High School. Hang in there and keep showing us your beautiful smiles and culture! You are so loved!

  5. Eighth grade class of 2021 you all should be so very proud of your accomplishments-especially in this time of COVID-19 ! Congratulations Graduates!!!! I have donated in the past when able- & hope to again soon!

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