Guest Blogger: Joe

Last week in Religion class, the third graders watched a five minute video titled “A great day.” They are a great group of kids because they always come in with smiles on their faces and ready to learn.  At this age, the Lakota boys and girls are full of many questions which can be a good thing and sometimes very challenging.

On this particular day, I told the class that we were going to watch the video two times. The first time we would watch it straight through and see what stuck in their minds.  After this, we planned to watch the video again but we would stop it a couple of times to discuss what was happening.

I pushed play and the students’ eyes stared at the screen. I looked around and could see the wheels turning in their heads. These students were getting something out of this simple five minute video.  Once the video concluded, I asked the students what they thought was going on in the film.  One young boy raised his hand and simply said,

“Today is a gift!”

In my mind, this was the best answer that you could expect from watching the video.

As we watched the video a second time, I paused at the beginning to talk about “the gift.” (If you are not familiar with the video, the gift is that you get to live another day.) I told the students that God has a plan for us. God knows what we did five minutes ago and God knows what we are going to do five minutes from now.

“So God knows that I am going to pick my nose in a few minutes?” one boy asked.

After controlling my laughter I told him simply “yes.”

As the video went on, I paused it again to talk about things that the students could do to help make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. Things like using their eyes, their smile, a touch or their presence can be very powerful. I told the students that these four things, under their control, can change another person’s day.

After finishing the video, I asked the students what they thought of the video after watching it for the second time. A young girl then said,

“We are blessed!”

I asked her what that meant and she went on to tell the class that we are blessed to receive another day of life. I added that each student was blessed to have many things and that we should always be grateful.

In the last fifteen minutes of class I asked the students to write down what they are thankful for.  They were asked to write down as many blessing as they could.  As soon as I handed out the paper there wasn’t a single noise in the classroom. By the end of the class every student had filled out at least the whole front side of a piece of paper.

When the class period ended, I sat and thought about how everyone at St. Joseph’s is blessed and thankful for everything that happens here on campus.

So, I ask you to join us. Take out a page of paper and write down what you are thankful for.  Remember to write down as many things as you can think of.  Whenever you are having a bad day, look back at what you wrote down.  Then you can be as thankful as our third graders here at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Guest Blogger: Marina

Hau kola – hello friends!

My name is Marina and I have worked at St. Joseph’s Indian School since 1971.  As you can imagine I have seen many changes and they definitely have all been GOOD!

I work in our business office where I manage our mail schedule and send out all the special packages you receive, keeping you informed of what the Lakota boys and girls are doing.  Over the years our mail program has changed in many ways. We are always looking for new ways to share information with you on what the students are doing, how they are progressing in school and the importance for each child to be proud of and learn about their Native American culture.

For those who are just learning about our work with Native American children I invite you to visit our website, It is filled with information that will give you an inside glimpse of what we are all about.

Although, I don’t work directly with the students I am proud to be a part of their tiyospaye extended family.  To see the happy faces of the children as they play outdoors, participate in our annual powwow and just enjoy the safety they feel in their homes and classrooms is simply amazing.

Thank you for the special part YOU play in making their dreams come true as you share your blessings with each Lakota child!

I hope the photos and mailings I send your way bring you a sense of joy and pride for all you do for the Native youngsters on the prairies of South Dakota.

May our paths cross as we put our efforts together to provide a hope-filled future for the Lakota boys and girls.

Heartwarming conversations

Hi! My name is Tina and I am the receptionist in the Development Office at St. Joseph’s Indian School. I have the pleasure of visiting with many of you each day when you call St. Joseph’s. The heartwarming conversations and generosity of so many make my job rewarding.

I’m always happy to answer your questions or, when necessary, direct you to the appropriate staff member. Many requests I hear and can assist with are:

  • accepting donations
  • taking address changes
  • sending additional address labels
  • limiting the number of mailings you receive
  • excluding gifts from mailings
  • seeing that we correspond with you through email only
  • sending additional Christmas cards or other gifts
  • removing someone from the mailing list

In addition to my receptionist duties, I enjoy spending time with a sixth grade St. Joseph’s student as a mentor. Even though her houseparents are very loving and supportive, living in a home with 12 other girls does not allow for much one on one attention. I’ve been a mentor for 3 years and have learned about many challenges the children face on the reservation.

Thank you for the many blessings you share with the Lakota boys and girls!