Alumni visits, outreach programs and sports fill the days at St. Joseph’s Indian School

I hope everyone had a beautiful and blessed Easter.  It was a quiet weekend as most of our students were away for the Easter break.

All sorts of activity has taken place recently.  The eighth grade boys’ and girls’ basketball teams took on the staff and there were some exciting finishes.  The girls only had five players, so there was no break for them. The staff could keep sending in waves of replacements. Even so, the girls hung on for a 30 to 29 win.  The boys had the lead until the very end and came up one point short, losing 47-46.

The staff who take part in our student mentoring program recently attended a hockey game in Sioux Falls at the new Denny Sanford Premier Center.  The following night nearly 70 students and staff again made the journey to Sioux Falls; this time to watch the home opener of the Sioux Falls Storm indoor football team taking on the Billings, Montana Wolves.  It is an interesting game to watch with balls flying over the barriers surrounding the ‘indoor field’ and into the appreciative audience who gets to keep the football.  The Storm, four time defending champ, finally caught fire and won 56-41.  After the game, players are available for signatures. Several went out of their way to take some quality time with our younger students.

Families gather together for the first Family ACT.
The Family Engagement Program held its first family training program called ‘Family ACT (All Coming Together)’ at Lower Brule, SD.

The athletic spirit hit St. Joseph’s last week as spring football for fourth, fifth and sixth graders kicked off combining St. Joseph’s students with local Chamberlain players.  The sign-up sheets were also out for t-ball for the younger students and softball for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth grade.

On the weekend of March 27 and 28, our Family Engagement Program held its first family training program called ‘Family ACT (All Coming Together)’ at Lower Brule, SD.  In the past, families were invited to campus to take part in similar activities. We are now conducting reach outs on the various reservations so more families can attend.   Twenty-one families participated in sessions, activities and discussions while enjoying great food and fun.  The training covered issues such as setting healthy family goals, defining and honoring family, stress and balance, managing finances and honoring children through respectful, healthy relationships.

The staff at St. Joseph's posing for a picture with KP.
KP with the staff at St. Joseph’s.

April is Native American Career Month and St. Joseph’s was happy to welcome home alumnus, PFC KP Davidson, who came with Staff Sargent Tate, the Army recruiter in Rapid City, SD. KP came to St. Joseph’s as a seventh grader in 2006 and completed his junior year in 2011 before making the tough decision to finish high school in Eagle Butte, SD to be near his family.  After graduation he took a course in auto mechanics at Wyoming Tech.  He did his basic training at Ft. Benning, Georgia and just got back from a nine month deployment in Egypt.   KP enjoyed experiencing a new culture and had the chance to visit Israel, but not the pyramids.  He shared some of his experiences from when he attended St. Joseph’s Indian School, telling the students he was homesick at times, but found support and encouragement from his teachers and houseparents.  He urged the students to stick with it, not to get behind in their studies and not to do drugs.  He and Staff Sargent Tate shared opportunities that exist in the Army and answered questions about pay, schooling, job opportunities and shooting different fire arms. He also shared that there is no similarity to reality of war compared to what one experiences in video games. He is currently on leave but will be heading back to his unit at Ft. Hood in Texas.

KP sharing his experiences with staff and students at St. Joseph's
Alumnus, PFC KP Davidson, speaking to the students at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

One final note.  We have another donor luncheon coming up in Panama City, Florida on April 25th and 26th.  If you would like to attend or receive additional information, please call 1-800-584-9200.  Two of our high school students will be there to share insight into what St. Joseph’s is all about and to express their gratitude for your generosity.  Our next donor luncheon will be in New York City on June 7th and 8th.

May God continue to bless and reward you for your generous support of the Lakota boys and girls. We keep you and your special intentions in our prayers.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ



Honoring those who sacrifice for freedom

They say speakers who follow children or animals have a hard act to follow. This afternoon my turn at the podium came after an honorary fly-over by a B1 Bomber!

The people of our area today dedicated a South Dakota Veteran’s Park, a dream they have worked long and hard to bring about. Brigadier General Myrna Williamson, who grew up an hour away in Gregory, and is also being inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame, spoke about her life in the military. Then she introduced retired Major General Carl McNair who gave the keynote and told of the importance of honoring those who sacrifice for freedom.

One of South Dakota’s Gold Star mothers, whose son lost his life with the National Guard’s 200th engineering brigade while serving in Afghanistan, also gave a heartwarming reflection. She planted a tree on the grounds in his memory, and gave the memorial a special Gold Star flag to honor all families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty.

Research turned up that 15 of the SCJ priests and brothers who ministered here in South Dakota were also veterans. We purchased a paver brick with each of their names and dates of service. We also made tribute to all our St. Joseph staff and alumni who served.