Hello! My name is Jean and I am the Residential Coordinator for the 4th & 5th grade homes. I came to St. Joseph’s Indian School planning to volunteer for a year or two, but the children and staff proved to be too great of a lure and 31 years later, I’m still here!
There have been many changes over the years, one of which was the addition of the Summer Break Home, which is offered to our students who will be in the second through eighth grades next school year. Part of my job is to help supervise this break home. We have 11 students with us this summer. Unlike most years, all of the students this summer are from the younger grades. They are excited to do almost anything we can come up with! These students are here for a variety of reasons, ranging from an educational need to the desire to continue to be in a setting where they are comfortable and secure.
The students start off the day with Summer School from 8:30 until 11:30. This is staffed by our Title 1 teachers and they are able to work with the students in small groups on academic needs or on reinforcing the learning that took place during the school year. They went on a field trip last week to the Lewis and Clark rest area in Chamberlain, South Dakota – right on Interstate 90. This is a great place to check out if you are in the area. The students could walk outside from the mezzanine level into a replica of the keelboat or longboat, in which Lewis and Clark traveled up the Missouri River as they demonstrated the possibility of overland travel to the Pacific Coast. The students and teachers also enjoyed a hike in the hills behind the rest area.
On school days, lunch is served in the Dining Hall. The students enjoy visiting with their friends who are attending the Rising Eagle Day Camp, who also eat lunch there. A lot of our other students from the Lower Brule Indian Reservation and Crow Creek Indian Reservation, who went home for the summer, come back for the camp.
The afternoons, evening and weekends are filled with outside activities. The students enjoy swimming at the Chamberlain pool (which boasts diving boards and slides), playing in the park, hikes, cooking outside and some trips out-of-town. The students have already enjoyed a trip to the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls and a trip to the Mitchell Aquatic Center with their houseparents. Some friends of St. Joseph’s recently gifted the students with a number of summer activity items ranging from bug spray and sunscreen to giant marshmallows and squirt guns. Talk about a fun time!
The staff for the break home consists of houseparents who may work with a different age group during the school year. Lisa, who normally works with sixth through eighth grade girls, said today that she has a whole new respect for those who work with the younger students! I think we have set a new record for using band-aids this summer. Between bike riding and skateboarding, we have gone through a lot of them. When I saw the students at lunch yesterday, they were proudly showing off their scrapes and battle scars!
Thank you all for your prayers and support. The students remember you daily in their prayers, also!