Guest Blogger: Shana

Native American kids at St. Joseph's Indian School's powwow!
Everyone had a great time at St. Joseph’s Indian School’s powwow!

Hello everyone! I’m Shana, High School Residential Director, and I can’t believe how this year is already flying by. Mid-terms are next Friday and our Lakota students are doing very well – even several of the freshmen students who typically struggle with the transition from eighth grade to high school. Our tutor has been very busy and it’s great seeing the students utilize the assistance that we have for them here at St. Joseph’s.

The Drama Club won 1st place!
The Drama Club won 1st place!

Last week was VERY busy as it was the Homecoming week for our high school students and our St. Joseph’s powwow.  Our high school students attend the Chamberlain Public School and they were having fun with the dress up days, coronation and getting their floats prepared for the Homecoming parade. The Drama Club won first place and our St. Joseph’s students rode the float and were all smiles.

Our students are also very involved in Native American Club and their float was very creative, they received 2nd place! One of our St. Joseph’s students dressed up like a ‘falcon’ and of course each individual class float was very well done! We have two boys voted as class representatives (Sophomore and Junior classes) and they rode their class floats proudly! The football players all rode on top of a huge fire engine. It was a beautiful day for a parade and football game The Chamberlain Cubs beat the Falcons and it was a great game!

Football players riding the fire engine – hold on boys!

Several of our students attended the Homecoming dance and THEN had to get up bright and early for the powwow festivities that started Saturday morning!

Our American Indian Day powwow here at St. Joe’s is a wonderful event. If you haven’t visited during this amazing time, I would highly suggest you make future plans to do so!! It’s educational and fun; our campus is located right along the Missouri River and it’s beautiful. Many of our high school students volunteer to help with home tours, parking, cleaning up the dining area and cleaning up after the powwow is over. It’s a lot of work, but with our staff and high school students all pitching in, we create an awesome weekend powwow!

On a more personal note, my grandma who was 88 years old passed away two weeks ago. Her and my grandpa have been such a huge part of my life and I loved and respected them greatly.  My grandma and grandpa have been donors to St. Joseph’s Indian School for over 30 years!

It was always wonderful to discuss the goings on at St. Joseph’s with my grandma, as she remained very concerned for the students here. She was very generous as she knew her donations were going to a wonderful organization. I am very sad for my grandpa as they were married over 65 years. While reading all of the heartfelt words people expressed in their sympathy cards, my grandpa thought of something special he could do – donate all of the money he received from the sympathy cards to St. Joseph’s because he knew that would make grandma happy … that one of her final acts was continuing the care and generosity she showed all of her life.

Then my grandpa asked me about how he would go about leaving a small life insurance policy he has through the Knights of Columbus to St. Joseph’s as he would also like to leave a legacy as he passes from this world onto the Great Spirit. I have been truly blessed to have the most loving and caring grandparents that anyone could ask for! They’ve lead by their strong example in both the Catholic faith and in their generous efforts to support reputable organizations such as St. Joseph’s Indian School.

My grandma will truly be missed and I can only hope to live up to the great example she taught me through her actions in the wonderful 88 years she lived. Generosity is one of the virtues of the Native American culture and we talk with our staff and students about role modeling and exhibiting generosity in a humble manner. I am very proud to be working here at St. Joseph’s Indian School and will continue to do my best for my staff, our students and families and for all of the caring donors who share their blessings with us!

Thanks to all of you who make St. Joseph’s possible and Thank You Grandma for everything you did and still do for me and I will always keep your memory alive in my heart.

God Bless,


Busy in the high school program

Hello, my name is Shana and this is my fifth year as the High School Residential Director at St. Joseph’s. We always have a very busy schedule the last couple months of school and this year is no different.

We had several students wake up early to take their ACT’s this past Saturday morning. Then, many Juniors and Seniors enjoyed the Chamberlain High School Prom on Saturday evening. It’s always great to see the girls with their beautiful dresses with their hair done up and the boys in their tuxedos and shiny shoes! Our houseparents in the Sheehy Home once again prepared a wonderful fancy dinner for the prom-goers with our girls from the Crane Home serving; everyone does their best to make this a special night for our Native American students.

This coming Friday is the high school talent show and we are looking forward to watching the creativity and talent of our high school students in action! Last year, we had students place in 3rd and 1st  with their talent acts. Even though winning isn’t essential to having fun at the talent show, it always fills us with pride to see our St. Joseph’s students receiving credit for their many talents (and bravery) up on stage! Good Luck!

In two weeks the Chamberlain High School Powwow will be held. Many of our students participate in Native American Club and are an integral part of organizing this annual event. It’s always great when the students work hard on getting people to come together in our community to honor their Native American culture and traditions.

Once May is here it’s time to get ready for final exams! This is always a stressful time, but our houseparents and tutors continue to help and encourage our students to give their best.

The fun doesn’t stop after the last day of school! In June, our incoming freshmen will complete our summer transition program where they will spend half of their day taking classes up at Chamberlain High School with their future high school teachers and learning the layout of the high school building. They’ll  get to meet some of the high school houseparents and staff and live in the high school homes. This is a three-week program and helps acclimate the new freshmen to both Chamberlain High School and the High School Program.

Also in June, most of our current high school students will be participating in our St. Joseph’s High School Summer Program so they can attend driver’s education class or work – either on or off campus – in order to earn extra money.

In July, some students will choose to participate in our Transitional Living Program. They will continue to work as well as experience more independence through added responsibilities. We have some eager and determined students participating in other academic programs this summer including College Horizons, Gear-Up, Upward Bound, Math and Science Initiative, In-Med (Indians into Medicine) and the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse. One of our seniors has already enlisted in the National Guard and has been attending monthly guard drills. She will be leaving for Basic Training at the end of July after completing In-Med in June. Another senior was awarded the Davis Bahcall Scholarship and will get to travel to Italy over the summer prior to going to college. Several seniors have already been accepted into the universities of their choice and are looking forward to the next chapter in their lives.

Never a dull moment, even during summer ‘vacation’! Did I mention we were busy in the high school program?