Guest Blogger: Robin

This month has been very busy here at St. Joseph’s!

With Thanksgiving just past, we have much to be thankful for. Our Lakota students are continually progressing in their studies and the weather (even the chilly parts) is not bad for this time of year. We are grateful for those friends who have come and gone from our lives, and for the multitude of blessings that our Creator has given us.

In the Special Education Department, we are assisting in the classrooms with those students who require our services and others who are working on the same concepts. This is going well, as the students get the individual or small group help they so need to be successful.

Another highlight is that the students are beginning to ask for help and taking on the responsibility of their own learning. As a teacher, this is what we hope for!

It is so fun to see the light spark and shine in their eyes! We have many people who are willing to take the extra time with our students.

The students now see this as a positive! It takes a while to earn trust, but when it happens, it is truly a blessing.

So count your blessings each and every day – no matter how small. They all add up to something great.

The students here at St. Joseph’s Indian School are a blessing to all of us working with them!

Did I remember to say how much I LOVE it here?!?!

Have a very blessed Christmas Season and a Merry and Happy New Year!!!!

Fellowship, support and story telling

Over Thanksgiving break, we only have three students on campus in the break home. Everyone else has gone home for Thanksgiving weekend to be with family and relatives. Many parents and guardians came to campus to pick up their children, and stayed for lunch. By the official 2:00 dismissal time, many of our students had started the journey home, since some live as many as five hours away. We were thankful for the sunshine and good weather that allowed for trouble-free travels.

The SCJs from the area parishes gathered at the SCJ house on St. Joseph’s campus today for an early Thanksgiving meal. They will be spread out for masses tomorrow, and this was a relaxing time to spend in fellowship, support and story telling. The offices and homes will be closed until Sunday afternoon.

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!

National Family Week Project

National Family Week is an annual celebration observed during the week of Thanksgiving that celebrates the family and its value to society.

These siblings made beautiful cards to take home to their family.
These siblings made beautiful cards to take home to their family.

St. Joseph’s Indian School has recognized and celebrated national family week for over a decade.  With the assistance of the Shakopee Tribe, we are able to provide $30 worth of food to each of our families.  For the convenience of our families, food cards are purchased in advance and distributed to parent/guardians as they pick their child(ren) up for Thanksgiving break.   These cards empower families to shop independently for necessary items to complete their Thanksgiving meals.  When families have higher needs or find themselves in a difficult position over the holidays, St. Joseph’s staff assesses the situation and makes recommendations for further assistance.  For example, this year one single, working mother’s financial resources were spread so thin that the return of her two children for Thanksgiving created a larger grocery bill then she could provide.  St. Joseph’s was able to provide an additional food box filled with staples such as dry cereal and canned goods.

While food cards are greatly appreciated by our families, they are only one piece of our family week celebration.  One week before the students departed for break, sibling groups were brought together for one hour to create and decorate items for their families.  Each sibling group customized a card of THANKS and a I AM THANKFUL FOR … sheet.  While parent/guardians and other family members enjoy reading these cards and treasure them, I believe that the students’ energy around this night is the highlight of the week!  Older siblings will join younger siblings in their homes, while sometimes younger siblings join older siblings in their homes.  Regardless of the combination, sibling groups are together – laughing, giving hugs and talking about things that they are thankful for.

This year a larger group gathered in the Perky Home to shared stories about each other and their family.
This year a larger group gathered in the Perky Home to shared stories about each other and their family.

This year, I was in the Perky Home where a larger group gathered to shared stories about each other and their family.  As the younger kids looked at and talked with their older brother and sisters, their admiration and excitement was obvious!  Older siblings began to delegate coloring projects and ask the younger siblings what they were thankful for, one couldn’t help but smile as the groups worked and laughed together.

This group of sisters had such a great time during National Family Week!
This group of sisters had such a great time during National Family Week!

I also joined the Stevens Home, where a group of four sisters not only worked together, but also played together.  After wrapping up their projects, they posed for pictures, allowing their personalities to shine through.  Following pictures, they joined their cousins in the TV room where they all played “Just Dance” and enjoyed each other’s company.

A reflection upon National Family Week, always helps me to remember how truly blessed we are at St. Joseph’s Indian School …