Snow day in South Dakota

Monday, January 31, 2011

Due to blowing snow Chamberlain (and most of South Dakota) public schools were canceled today, but since our students are all here, our only concessions was to start 90 minutes later to give our grounds crew more time to plow the snow, and staff extra time to dig out and navigate on the slippery roads. This week is Catholic Schools Week; once everyone arrived, we gathered all the staff and students in the Recreational Center for a prayer service. Fr. Anthony enlisted the help of Summerlee girls (4th-5thgrades) to help with reading our petitions. Some were quiet and nervous, others clear and loud. I like to encourage our American Indian student involvement in events we hold.

Several staff members couldn’t make it in, including our cook. But I don’t mind, because that gives me an excuse to eat lunch in the dining hall with the students. The kitchen staff is trying to introduce a greater variety of vegetables this year. The leafy greens for salad are more nutritious than plain iceberg lettuce, and most students ate it, but a few played with the differently shaped leaves. The butternut squash was tasty, but because it looked different, that was a harder sell. We’ll keep trying!

In the school, I checked out some of the latest art projects. Dave, our art teacher, is back after spending the fall semester with the National Guard, and it’s great to have him here full-time again. The students are currently working on clay creations. Bowls, characters, and hollow things that rattle are in different stages of completion. Dave tells me that besides being most popular with students, they are also most likely to be saved and given to their Native American family members as gifts.  He’d also like to see them save more of their paintings and drawings, but works done on paper sadly are often thrown.

Outside the first grader room was their project, “What I would do if I had one-hundred dollars”. Besides a few savers, buyers of school and clothing items, three said they would buy a car, one a house, and one a castle! I encourage our Lakota kids to dream big, yet it looks like somewhere in our curriculum we need to teach the real purchasing power of a dollar.

With the public high school canceling school and activities, I know our high school students would all be home, so it was a good night to enjoy some hot soup with the Giles Home (HS girls). Most everyone loves a day off of school; although with basketball games, practices and other activities on hold, and homework caught up, I think some of the students were actually feeling bored. When we have days like that on campus, we see if there are activities they can plug into, including spending time to help tutor our grade school students, or visit the homes that they were once a part of.

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.

3 thoughts on “Snow day in South Dakota”


  2. I suppose you MUST be prepared for snowy winters in South Dakota-seems you have
    snow quite frequently.We complain when we have 3-4 inches in Maryland plus schools are usually cancelled -we had 8 inches last week and schools closed for 3 days.
    I got a chuckle out of buying a house for
    $100.Out of the mouths of babes.
    God bless!

  3. We can remember when a prettuy good house only cost #100.00 ! Ydep..and that has not been too long ago ! A German-Russian “dugout” cost nuthin’ but your time in about 1890…and not a bad place to live. They resembled a hogan..
    Those were the days..
    Hugs and Prayers..
    To All..
    Mia and Bob

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