Do you know that you help provide so much more than a standard education to the Lakota boys and girls?

Pam, St. Joseph's Personal Living Skills teacher.

Pam, St. Joseph’s Personal Living Skills teacher.

St. Joseph’s eighth graders have been working hard developing the skills needed to maintain a personal checking account. First, they learned about checking account basics and then actually write checks, make deposits, keep records, and reconcile the monthly statement. Special banking services such as pre-authorized payments, wire transfers, mobile banking, making loan payments and ATM transactions are also incorporated.

This not only teaches our students an important aspect of money management, but also develops good habits for the future.

 
At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we are privileged to work with our students not just during the school day, but after hours as well. When they are not in school, our houseparents care for the children in their campus homes 24 hours per day.

When they are not in school, St. Joseph’s houseparents teach them valuable life skills in their campus homes.

St. Joseph’s eighth graders are working hard developing the skills needed to maintain a personal checking account.

That means that, even when school is out, students are learning important life skills – social skills, caring for themselves and their homes, and more!

Pilamaya – thank you – for your support!

Pam, Personal Living Skills Teacher

Good morning friends of St. Joseph’s!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

This week, the Lakota (Sioux) students join thousands of others in celebrating drug free lifestyles with Red Ribbon Week. Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’ Tuesday, they showed their drug free school spirit by wearing blue and gold. Later in the week, they will be wearing special sobriety celebration T-shirts that say ‘Our School has SWAG (Students Who Achieve Goals).

Friday, of course, is Halloween. The children have had a wonderful time preparing ghoulish costumes and decorating their homes. Wendy manages our in-kind gifts and has collected a good supply of costumes and accessories for the day. After trick or treating on St. Joseph’s campus, students will gather in the rec center for the Costume Grand March. Prizes will be awarded for best costume, scariest pumpkin and the home with the cleverest decorations.

St. Joseph’s holds sobriety celebrations with the Lakota students three times per year.

Monday, students wore their pajamas to class to remind one another ‘Follow your dreams — don’t do drugs.’

Pilamayathank you – for your donations of gently used decorations and other items for every holiday of the year!

In addition to these festivities, preparations have begun for those students participating in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program to receive Baptism, First Communion or Confirmation. With the support of their families, students have the chance to learn about and deepen their faith commitment in a special class offered each week. Families join their students on campus for a one-day retreat to offer support and encouragement to their child.  Please keep these young people and families in your prayers as they prepare to receive these Sacraments in April.

I spent Monday at a board meeting in Eagle Butte, South Dakota.  As part of St. Joseph’s outreach to Native Americans, we support a domestic violence shelter, a thrift store and an adolescent care facility on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation You can read more about their work and other outreach programs of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

I hope each of you has a great week and a fun Halloween! Remember, this weekend we move our clocks BACK an hour.  Enjoy that extra hour of sleep!

Sincerely,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

My name is Chelsey and this is my first “official” year at St. Joseph’s Indian School. While finishing up my Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Resource Development

St. Joseph’s Family Service Counselors spend time with the Lakota children and their families.

Chelsey loves the time she spends getting to know the Lakota children.

last year, I was an intern here. I grew up right here in Chamberlain, South Dakota, however, and have been familiar with the school my entire life.

I have always enjoyed participating in activities on campus and a trip to the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center is still one of my favorite ways to spend a day. I’ve always had an interest in the Native American culture, and now I have the privilege of working with the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families on a daily basis.

When I first considered going into the counseling field, I asked to shadow a few of the counselors at St. Joseph’s. As I was asking many questions about the field and how things are done at St. Joseph’s, I remember one counselor telling me he could sum it up in one word…relationships.

After being at St. Joseph’s for a little over a year, I could not agree more. There are so many relationships that impact my job and daily responsibilities.

The most important relationship in my life is that with God. I feel so blessed to work at a place where I can openly share my faith while participating in mass, prayer services, and home prayers.

Relationships with the students are next, especially in my position as a Family Service Counselor. My favorite times during the week are spent in sessions with the students and after school in their homes.

Closely following the relationships with the students, is the relationships I have with their parents/guardians. One of my main responsibilities as a Family Service Counselor is to be the main contact person with the families. This allows me work through the struggles of each student with their parent or guardian, and also join in celebrating their successes.

Working at St. Joseph’s also gives me relationships with my co-workers and other staff who are all working toward the same mission: to educate the Native American youth for life – mind, body, heart and spirit.

St. Joseph’s Indian School is truly a family of its own and I am so honored to work for this organization.

Each day, I see examples of the staff coming together with different ideas, activities and projects to further the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School and serve those around us.

With the years to come, I look forward to strengthening my relationship with God, building long-lasting relationships with the students and their families, and continue to fulfill the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School with the wonderful staff that surround me.

Chelsey, Family Service Counselor

Hello from St. Joseph’s seventh and eighth grade community! My name is Frank and I am the Residential Coordinator for this community, which means I oversee all the

Frank, 7th & 8th Grade Residential Coordinator

Frank, 7th & 8th Grade Residential Coordinator

seventh and eighth grade houseparents

With the blizzard of activities that surround our students and staff, I sometimes get lost in the perpetual motion. I also sometimes forget that our students have more going on in their lives than just what goes on here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Our mission is to minister to the needs of the whole student – mind, body, heart and spirit.

I was reminded of the real goals of our mission recently.

During the week, I work later in the evening to spend time in the homes, visit with the students and help out where I can. I went to one of our girl’s home and as I walked in the houseparent asked me to prop the door open.

This is actually against the rules. Our homes are set up to maintain utmost safety for our students and staff, so outside doors are always locked. Students have a code to let themselves in.

It does happen on occasion that the doors are propped open – maybe the air needs to clear quickly from a burnt pan or simply to let in some fresh air. When the houseparent asked me to prop the door, I asked if she had burnt something and was trying to keep the fire alarm from sounding.

She said no and politely explained the reason – the home was having an honoring supper.

One of the girls lost their father last year and this was the anniversary of his passing. The student had been down during week, but her houseparent had picked up on her mood and made the connection. As she continues to struggle with the grief of her father’s passing, an honor supper is meant to help the student grieve and celebrate her father’s life and spirit. The supper symbolically hosts his spirit and helps the student connect her father in healthy, culturally significant way.

St. Joseph’s has many Native American houseparents like Rachel, who teaches students about powwow dances.

St. Joseph’s is blessed to have houseparents from all walks of life, especially those who can help the Lakota (Sioux) children learn about their culture.

The supper table was laid out spectacularly with a spot for everyone in the home and an extra place of honor for the student’s father. At this place on the table, there was a picture of him with sage and flowers arranged around the picture. The honor spot, with his picture, was placed at the head of the table in a simple gesture of respect for his spirit. The student invited her older brother from one of the high school homes to be part of the special meal.

In accordance with Lakota tradition, the two prepared a spirit plate for their father to nourish his spirit in the afterlife.

As I had observed when I arrived, the door was propped open. It was open to welcome his spirit into the home and allow free passage.

I was completely chagrinned.

The simple gesture was out of concern for the student’s wellbeing – truly at the heart of St. Joseph’s mission.

St. Joseph’s houseparents live with our students day in and day out. They know the students well enough to pick up cues when behavior is out of the ordinary. They know their families.

This houseparent was able to connect the dots and then intervene in a culturally sensitive and meaningful way for the student.

In the hubbub of everyday life at St. Joseph’s Indian School, I tend to focus on results such as good grades and exceptional behavior from our students. It is easy for our focus to get stuck in one area of our mission, just like I was.

But as usual, circumstance came around to remind me what was really important and the scope of our mission as a whole. These opportunities, I believe, are designed by the Creator to keep us moving forward, to keep us focused on the mission as a whole and to humble us when needed.

St. Joseph’s houseparents are with the children all the time they are not in school.

St. Joseph’s houseparents transform houses into homes full of love!

I was humbled by the houseparent’s awareness and ability to help her student cope in a way which makes sense on many levels. Interventions and simple acts of compassion happen every day in our homes on campus; our houseparents minister in many ways to the spiritual needs of our students. We don’t always see those simple acts of kindness, but we do see the end result in the smiling happy faces of the children we serve.

I would like to thank all of our supporters – without you being part of our mission we would not be able to meet the needs of our students!

God Bless,

Frank W.

7-8th Grade Residential Coordinator

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we strive to education the Lakota (Sioux) children we work with for life – mind, body, heart and spirit. With a safe environment and enough to

eat, the students are ready to learn! As a fully accredited facility, St. Joseph’s meets all the academic standards put forth by the State of South Dakota. Because we are a private school, we also have the privilege of having Religion and Native American Studies part of our regular curriculum.

Nancy’s third graders won the trophy and pizza party this quarter.

Nancy’s third grade class had the highest GPA for first through third grades. They win the trophy for the quarter and a pizza party!

First quarter has ended for the Lakota boys and girls, so school is in full swing!

Earlier this week, we held awards assemblies honoring those students who made the honor roll as well as those who had perfect attendance.  We also introduced our traveling academic trophies. The trophy will now be part of the awards ceremony honoring the class with the highest collective grade point average. Our first winners were Brock’s 5th grade and Nancy’s 3rd grade; the classes also get a pizza party to go with their trophy.

Traveling trophies will now be awarded to the class with the highest collective grade point average.

St. Joseph’s new Academic Traveling Trophies.

This was an idea borrowed from St. Joseph’s high school program. The high school program awards the trophy by home rather than class, but still recognizes the highest cumulative GPA and fewest missing assignments. We have five high school homes at St. Joseph’s, and our students attend Chamberlain Public High School

In addition to recognizing academic achievements, we have an Acalympics team. Acalympics is an academic challenge in which students answer questions across the curriculum spectrum.  St. Joseph’s students have taken part in several of these over the past few years. Recently, our team hosted teams from Pierre and White River.

Brock’s fifth graders won the trophy and pizza party this quarter.

Brock’s fifth grade class had the highest GPA for fourth through sixth grades. They win the trophy for the quarter and a pizza party!

Congratulations to all the teams! Pierre came in first, White River second and St. Joseph’s team took third.

These are just a few of the things we do at St. Joseph’s to educate the Lakota children for life – mind, body, heart and spirit. Pilamayathank you – for being such an important part of our mission!

Sincerely,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

Good afternoon from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Last week, we had a staff appreciation breakfast and handed out a small lapel pin to everyone. We’ve shared a pin each year over the last several years and ask staff to wear them, especially on the 19th of each month. This day corresponds with the feast of St. Joseph in March and is also when we end the monthly novena of Masses we offer for our benefactors (the novena begins on the 11th of each month).

The pin gives all of us a visual reminder of our benefactors’ generosity. As we lift all of you up in prayer, we renew our commitment to use the resources you provide to the best of our ability in reaching out to meet the needs of the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families. Pilamayathank you – for sharing your blessings!

The St. Joseph’s Braves finished their season playing the Chieftains from the Crow Creek Reservation.

St. Joseph’s football team burst onto the field to start their last game!

Our volleyball and football seasons were also wrapped up last week. The girls earned a victory against the Warriors from Pierre Indian Learning Center (PILC) to close their volleyball season. At home, the football team hosted Crow Creek.

There are several students from the Crow Creek Indian Reservation who attend St. Joseph’s, so many players knew each other. There was great cheering from the crowd as many students and staff had come out to watch the boys play.

It was a close game! Everyone played hard and the Crow Creek Chieftains came out with a 50-46 win over St. Joseph’s Braves.

As the nets, cleats and pads are put away, our students will unpack their sneakers and gym shorts and get ready for basketball. The girls begin team practices next week and the boys will play in St. Joseph’s inter-city league on Sundays. After Christmas break, the boys and girls will switch – the boys will begin their regular basketball season and the girls will play inter-city league.

We hope you all have a great week.

Know we keep you in our prayers asking God to bless you and keep you healthy and happy.

Sincerely,

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

Last Friday night, the St. Joseph’s Children Count Mentor Program headed to east to Sioux Falls, South Dakota for a picnic and corn maze. For those of you who have never

Claire works with St. Joseph's students in the homes and at school.

Claire

been to one, a corn maze is a series of paths cut into a corn field. Once inside, you must follow the twists and turns to find a series of 10 clues, using a map, and the setting sun for a compass.

Small groups of mentors and their matches travelled through the maze together. The Lakota students, full of youthful exuberance, quickly bounded into the corn field shouting, “I found the path!” As if there was just one path and not, oh, 7 or 8 of them. It really didn’t matter which one, since everything was brand new and exciting to them.

Off they went, with us slow adults in tow, struggling to keep up.   About three turns in, we were hopelessly lost. Well, not hopelessly. After about 10 minutes of random running around, we actually bumped into the third clue completely by accident.

This is when the map came in handy.

Having established our location, deep in the corner of the maze, Cindy deftly took over and began guiding us, turn by turn, back through the rows of corn until we found the preceding clues. This was how we proceeded for the rest of the 90 minutes we spent in the maze—Cindy guiding us carefully to the general vicinity of the next clue and then

St. Joseph’s students and their mentors visited a corn maze.

An aerial view of the corn maze.

the kids fanning out and locating the clue with a lot of shouting and jumping up and down. “I found it!”

This is how relationships at St. Joseph’s work a lot of the time, really. Kids are exuberant and full of energy, but aren’t always able to discern the right path. Adults can guide them most of the way, advising them where to turn and where to stop along the way. In the end, the kids have to make it to the goal themselves.

Life is like a corn maze, isn’t it?

There are plenty of opportunities to reach dead ends, back track and start over again. We can take shortcuts, but mostly we have to go the long way around and just be patient. Sometimes we’re not lost, we just don’t know exactly where we are. The important thing is to stick together, listen, and look out for each other. Also, be open to the tiny miracles along the way. Like a red moon rising over the horizon. Or someone unexpectedly offering you their gloves for your frozen hands.

My group found all ten marked clues, and headed triumphantly for the exit, brandishing our flashlights in victory. Eventually, all kids and adults were accounted for, giving a new twist to the No Child Left Behind law. We trundled onto the bus for the two-hour drive back to Chamberlain and St. Joseph’s Indian School, happy and tired.

I’d like to say thank you, not only to the people on the Mentor Committee who worked so hard to make this happen (Celia, Dee, Sherry and Jim), but also to the generous benefactors who support us in our work. Like flashlights in a maze, every little bit helps us to get where we are going!

Claire

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