Despite the muddy circumstances 2020 brought upon the world, you helped bring so much joy to approximately 200 Lakota (Sioux) boys and girls. Surely we faced challenges, but so many other successes took place.
Take a look as we highlight some of the great things you helped make possible at St. Joseph’s Indian School during 2020 …
- Students participated in the Lakota Nation Invitational and participated in archery, the Lakota Language Bowl and the Knowledge Bowl categories.
- Students celebrated Catholic Schools Week.
- St. Joseph’s provided assistance to families on reservations during cold weather.
- Joseph’s students went to the Dakota Oyate Challenge (DOC), an annual archery event. A total of 18 students in grades fourth-12th competed.
- Joseph’s eighth graders traveled to Pierre, SD, to learn about the South Dakota State Legislature and tour the historical capitol building.
- Third grade students hosted their wax museum — embodying the famous faces of Sally Ride, Martin Luther King, Jr., Amelia Earhart and others.
- Gymnastics, wrestling and basketball wrapped up for the season.
- Students left for Spring Break and were unable to return for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- St. Joseph’s sent numerous truck and trailer loads of supplies to reservation communities due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- Distance learning took full effect, with classes moving online and homework packets mailed weekly.
- Prayer services with Fr. Anthony went digital in the hopes of providing comfort to students and their families from afar.
- Distance learning and mailing of homework packets continued. Teachers and counselors checked in on families through regular phone and video calls.
- Because many elderly in reservation communities were unable to see their families due to social distancing, St. Joseph’s sent care packages with activities books, hygiene products and homemade masks to a care center on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.
- Twenty-three eighth grade students received their completion certificates and two students graduated from high school! However, no formal ceremonies and celebrations were held in-person this month.
- St. Joseph’s Indian School was awarded the honor of Top-Rated Charity by GreatNonprofits for the fourth year in a row!
- Care packages filled with books, toys, games and learning materials were sent to all of our students through the mail or curbside delivery.
- We implemented 11 food box delivery routes across the state to deliver meat, cheese, eggs, bread, fruits, veggies and more every other week to our students and their families.
- Rising Eagle Day Camp was sadly canceled due to COVID-19.
- St. Joseph’s graduating seniors were honored at the local public high school’s rescheduled graduation and feathering ceremonies.
- This month, houseparents mailed books home to students.
- The Bookmobile outreach program safely delivered thousands of books to reservation communities.
- The new 2019-20 school year began.
- Even more CDC guidelines were strictly enforced to keep children and staff as safe as possible.
- We hosted our 44th Annual Powwow from a distance, as COVID-19 kept our wonderful donors, parents and the public from attending this year.
- Students celebrated Native American Day by focusing on their traditions, heritage and stories.
- The school celebrated Red Ribbon Week by decorating campus trees with red ribbons.
- Students collected candy in a Halloween parade in place of traditional trick-or-treating to maintain more social distance.
- Students spent the month celebrating Native American Heritage Month. Although heavily focused upon throughout the year, classes took even more time focusing on the Lakota culture all month long.
- Students celebrated All Souls Day by remembering loved ones who have passed on by making prayer ties and displaying them in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel. We are hopeful the seventh grade cultural trip will take place May 2021 so the prayer ties may be taken with and used during an inípi — sweat — ceremony.
- Eighth grade students participated in a Buffalo Hunt.
- Students gifted the presents they had picked-out for their siblings, parents/guardians and grandparents from our campus Christmas Store.
- Students grades 2-8 returned from winter break and began the second semester in an eLearning/quarantine setting.
It was a year of changes and challenges — perhaps a year filled with many, many winds from the North. But, as the Lakota believe as part of the traditional Four Directions, if someone has the ability to face these winds like the buffalo with its head into the storm, they have learned patience and endurance. Generally, this direction stands for hardships and discomfort. Therefore, North represents the trials people must endure and the cleansing they must undergo.
Perhaps you also faced harsh North winds. We pray 2021 is a year of cleansing for you, your loved ones and everyone around the world.
If you would like to see more updates about the great things happening at our school, follow us on Facebook by going to www.stjo.org/facebook!
8 thoughts on “St. Joseph’s 2020 Year in Review”
You do so many wonderful things for with your students and their families and I am so proud to be part of your Tiyospaye. Congratulations on adapting to the pandemic “new normal “ in so many creative practical ways. So proud of you all…
I am so thrilled to be a donor to this wonderful school. Resources have been limited and I hope to do more in the future. I love these children and what you do for them. Their culture is so important.
Thank you & God be with St. Joseph’s school for all you do there. I am proud to say I support the school and the children there. Again Philamayaye !!!!!
May Almighty GOD bless you all. always, with HIS abundant love for your sacrifice, hard work & care giving to so many native Americans, especially the children’
Thank you for sharing these events with us. We will always remember the events of 2020 and how we were challenged. Truly, God must have miraculously stretched your resources to make it all possible. Thanks be to God for those who helped make it all possible.
These pictures are so priceless! The work was truly a service from the Lord to bless the St Joseph students, staff and their families during 2020. I am very thankful to be sponsoring such an important organization as this, very close to my heart. I was so sad I missed the Pow Wow this year, both in person and online, but I hope and pray to be a part of it in 2021. Keep up the good work and the Lord will continue to bless you.
How wonderful to receive the “year in review” of what’s happened at St. Joseph’s! I feel a true connection the the kids and the school because of Shawn, who always continues to remain in contact with me. I am so grateful!
It is so wonderful to see all the beautiful children!!