Guest Blogger: Melissa

Hi, my name is Melissa and I work in Human Resources (HR) at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  I recently returned from the national SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) convention in Atlanta, Georgia.  We had amazing keynote speakers such as Condoleezza Rice, Malcolm Gladwell, Jim Collins and South Dakota’s very own Tom Brokaw, who were all inspiring.  It was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the direction that HR is going.  But most important was the idea that no matter where you work, it is employees who are the heart of the organization.

Of course, St. Joseph’s is all about people.  We serve children.  Our impact not only directly affects the children that attend our school, but also their families.  This in turn affects their communities.  The influence people have on others is an incredible idea.  At St. Joseph’s, we are fortunate to have some extraordinary people who are committed to changing lives of others for the better.

The work done at St. Joseph’s truly takes cooperation from everyone to progress in our mission.   One of my responsibilities in HR is to conduct exit interviews when employees leave St. Joseph’s.  One question that is asked of everyone during the exit is, “What did you like best about working at St. Joseph’s?”

The overwhelming response I get, even from employees who don’t work directly with the children is, “The kids.”

We couldn’t do it without the employees and donors who are paying it forward and helping make this world a little better for someone else.

Santa’s Workshop at St. Joseph’s Indian School

The kids had so much fun at their Christmas concert!
The kids had so much fun at their Christmas concert!

For grades 1 – 8, the first semester is in the books.  Our staff still has a couple of days of in-service, but classes wrapped up today and the students are now on Christmas break. The high school students still have another week of classes.

Today’s student Christmas program was a big hit. Most of the performances were done in larger groups, but three of our students had enough confidence and stage presence to serve as Masters of Ceremony. I was also delighted to see a few students brave enough to sing a duet. Sixth graders Caden and James did a rap song about Christmas that had the chapel rocking. We had an appearance by Santa and a teacher led Elvis rendition of “I’ll have a Blue Christmas Without You”.  The families who were able to come for the show, were all invited to lunch at the school cafeteria before hitting the road.

Santa’s Workshop at St. Joseph’s Indian School looked great!
Here’s just a glimpse of Santa’s Workshop at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

I faced one of the tougher challenges of my job when I was on a three panel team to judge the decoration competition in the basement of the Benedict Building between Human Resources and Facilities. They worked frantically this week to transform the offices into a winter wonderland. HR made their section of office look like a Ginger Bread house, complete with gum drops on the wrapping paper walls. Problem was we spied a  few 1st graders on their way home from school plucking them from the wall to have a snack! HR’s was more beautiful and appealing to the eye, but Facilities brought in a secret weapon – students dressed up as elves pretending to use the tools to make toys at a table labeled “Santa’s Workshop”.

With no collusion at all, when we added up the points for originality, arrangement, theme and overall presentation, we ended up with a real honest to goodness tie. But everyone who walked the halls had a smile on their face and felt like a winner.

Today’s guest blogger: Melissa

Today's guest blogger: Melissa
Today's guest blogger: Melissa

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School!  My name is Melissa and I’ve worked in the Human Resources Department for the past 13 years.

Although it is summer, campus is buzzing.  During this time of year, we add quite a few seasonal staff to work as counselors at our summer camp, help out in the museum and assist taking care of our grounds.  This is also the time of year we recruit for any teachers, houseparents and family service counselors that may not be returning.  Luckily, the majority of our staff is coming back, and we have very few holes to fill.  This is beneficial to our students because relationship building with their houseparents, teachers and counselors is very important.

Other responsibilities that I have, besides recruiting, are working with insurance benefits and employee recognition.  This makes every day different and new.  For example, in the summer we make root beer floats for our maintenance staff.  Summer s tend to get hot in South Dakota and our maintenance staff put in a lot of time modeling the campus homes for our students.  It’s always rewarding to do something that will brighten a person’s day.

I feel very fortunate to work in the human resources department at St. Joseph’s Indian School.  It is always a blessing when the people you work with are more like family than co-workers.

If you are interested in employment at St. Joseph’s Indian School, let me know…I can be reached by phone at 800.568.4434 or e-mail

Have a good week ! 🙂