Carpe Diem – Seize the Day

Much of last week I was away attending the National Catholic Development Conference. Besides looking at good business practices, the conference also asks us to focus on ethics and care for donors and the spiritual and prayerful side of what we do. I met lots of other organizations doing amazing things to help those in need, across the country and around the world.

The conference was held in Nashville Tennessee, and I got to make my first visit to the Grand Ole Opry. The special night honored Loretta Lynn for being an Opry member for 50 years. Many singers who looked to her as their inspiration sang songs of tribute and a few ensemble numbers with her.

Back in the office there is always a pile of paperwork to catch up with. We met with the auditors to go over last year’s finances, and everything seems to be in order for next week’s board meetings. Thanks to our accounting and payroll staff who so carefully and diligently organize!

We also met with the architect and contractors working on the Akta Lakota Museum expansion. Thursday they reached the point of “substantial completion,” so we made out a punch list of things to be finished up and “took possession” of the building. Over the winter months, when we have fewer visitors to campus, the historical displays and museum upgrades will be installed.

This has been a gorgeous fall weekend. Yesterday, the Chamberlain/Oacoma Chamber of Commerce held its annual Fall Fest, including a farmer’s market with wonderful produce, pumpkin decorating contests and children’s games.  As I passed by Stevens Home (6th– 8th grade girls) I saw Caitlyn sharing a cake she had won downtown with the rest of her home. When I went to pick up mail I saw several of the homes walking downtown for the festival, and heard the crowd favorite was the hayride.

Our grade school football players took part in a jamboree on Saturday and got lots of playing time and experience. Most people at that age bounce back quickly from bumps and bruises, but we did have one broken finger amid memories of touchdowns and quarterback sacks.

At the end of mass today Steve, our High School Academic Adviser  announced grade point averages (GPA) for the first quarter. Four students are currently riding a 4.0! We have a traveling trophy for the home with the best average GPA, and the Hogebach girls reclaimed top honors with a cumulative 3.5 GPA. Besides rewarding good grades, we also want to acknowledge those who are making the best effort. We introduced a second trophy for the home which had the fewest missing assignments for the quarter. The Carola boys claimed that distinction.

That seemed like a good point for me to read a letter from one of our recent graduates to encourage our students. In her letter about college, Danisha sheepishly admitted that she hurt her finger climbing up a tree by the dorms, but otherwise sounds like she is doing great.

“I want everyone to make their school years the best and also to travel when you get the chance. Never step down from an opportunity because you never know where it will get you. I can say with so much excitement that I attended Gear Up as the first St. Joseph’s student, Crazy Horse as the second St. Joseph’s student, been on donor luncheons, went to Germany, organized two powwows for Chamberlain and can now say that I am a Dakota State University college freshman. As I finish up, work hard and Carpe Diem – “Seize the Day!”

Welcome to the Carola Home

Hey everyone, this is April. I am a 6 day houseparent for high school boys here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I work  with my husband Mike. This is my fourth year at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I have been a houseparent previously for 10 years in Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma.

Birthday parties are fun within the Carola Home!
Birthday parties are fun within the Carola Home!

I’m a first time blogger! We have 8 sophomores and 2 freshmen, as well as two of our own children staying with us in the Carola Home.

The year began with the football season where two of our boys, Shawn and Wyatt played for the Chamberlain Cubs. Our home went to many games to support their fellow classmates.

A typical day for the boys is waking up at 6:30 am, getting ready for school, having breakfast and completing their household contributions. Then their off for a full day at Chamberlain High School. Following school some are involved in various school activities while others have free time. After dinner is homework time. Some go to the learning center where they get help with their assignments. Most nights they go to the rec center to play basketball or work out in the weight room.

On the weekends, they do various activities such as going to the LifeLight Christan Music Festival and camping in Sioux Falls, traveling to Mitchell for dinner and the movies, walking along the beach and going hiking. On Sundays we attend Mass here on campus at the Lady of the Sioux Chapel.

The Carola Home GPA average is a 3.0!!
The Carola Home GPA average is a 3.0!!

One of my duties as a houseparent, is to check the school website to check the boys’ grades and missing assignments. When the boys come home from school, I talk with them about where they may need to improve or how they have progressed. I truly enjoy watching the boys’ faces as they learn that they can make good grades, or even make the honor roll. Some of the sophomores really struggled their freshman year, but this year it is so exciting to see how much they have matured and improved. The boys have worked very hard this year on their grades with 5 boys making the honor roll and the others 5 closely behind.

I am so proud to say our home GPA for the first quarter is 3.0!

Much more is in store with our boys.  We have 3 learning to drive, some seeking out a job and basketball season is around the corner. We are planning a home trip in February to go skiing at Terry Peak.