Today the Lakota (Sioux) students begin Easter break.

We had a very busy weekend at St. Joseph’s – Saturday was packed, but started on a sad note.

In the afternoon, Chamberlain saw its first Annual Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Walk.  The walk was held in loving memory of Mason Naser, a young child from the area who suffered fatal abuse at the hands of his father’s girlfriend. He was a sibling of one of St. Joseph’s boys in the Ambrose Home.

To show support for their housemate, the boys and their houseparents took part in the walk to affirm Dr. Seuss’ statement and the walk’s rallying cry – “A person’s a person,

St. Joseph’s staff coordinated the Mr. Relay for Life Pageant to raise money for cancer research.

Stefen, a St. Joseph’s alumnus, was crowned Mr. Relay for Life 2014!

no matter how small!”

Saturday evening held the second annual crowning of Mr. Relay for Life – a ‘beauty’ pageant for Chamberlain area men.  There is a lot of laughter involved in support of dealing with something that isn’t funny — cancer.

Some of the outfits put Lady Gaga to shame as the participants took part in an evening gown competition, talent contest — thankfully only a minute in length – and an interview.

St. Joseph’s Residential Director Julie helped organize the event which, in its inaugural year, raised over $4,400.00 for cancer research! We were blessed to have many more

St. Joseph’s staffers involved, including Bryan, our Rec Center Director, and Doug, a houseparent, as contestants!

At the end of the evening, St. Joseph’s alumnus Stefen was crowned Mr. Relay for Life 2014!

Kudos to everyone who participated and helped exceed last year’s results by raising a whopping $7,000!

One local group that helped raise money for the event was the Explorers.  This is a program for middle school boys, giving them opportunities for camaraderie and service, working to raise money for local needs.

Recently they had the chance to take a trip to the State Capital in Pierre, South Dakota. They had their picture taken with Governor Dennis Daugaard and had the chance to visit with Marty Jackley, the South Dakota Attorney General.

They are currently planning their big car wash fundraiser in late April, with the profits being used to buy some much-needed playground equipment for the park at American

The Explorers got to meet South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

The Explorers got to meet South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.


Several St. Joseph’s students are involved in this and have been officers in the program over the past few years.  They will end the year in May with a trip to Kansas City for a professional baseball game.

God bless you this Holy Week! May we all take time to reflect on what takes place as we celebrate Holy Thursday, when Jesus gives us the gift of Himself in the Eucharist and appreciate the price He freely chose to pay to redeem us from sin by His Passion and Death on Good Friday and the joyous victory He achieves over sin and death by His resurrection on Easter.

Fr. Anthony


Memo to Mother Nature — enough is enough, please make up your mind! This past Saturday was gorgeous but Palm Sunday was cold and windy, which kept our blessing of the palms indoors.  I hope spring has really sprung for you, wherever you may live.

Last week, we were honored to have Fr. Steve back on campus.  In his new role as Provincial of the United States Province he had two tasks to fulfill during his visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School.  First, he visited with all the SCJs in ministry here in South Dakota to check in on how we are doing in terms of health, ministry and spiritual lives.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls matched up against staff for a basketball game.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls vs. staff.

Second, he was part of the board meeting that reviews finances and ministry of the work the community is doing.  The meeting was held in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, so board members could visit St. Joseph’s Donor Care Center. The board was impressed by the ability of Donor Care Center staff to reach out to our benefactors, offering birthday greetings, answering questions and helping people learn more about St. Joseph’s Indian School and the programs we offer the Lakota (Sioux) people in Chamberlain and on South Dakota Indian Reservations.

Before heading to Sioux Falls for the meeting, Fr. Steve enjoyed watching the basketball games between staff teams and our eighth grade boys and girls’ teams.  Our young ladies were up first, and staff players gave us a glimpse of glory from their younger years.  The effort was there, but it took them awhile to hit their stride.

It was 12-11 in the staff’s favor at half.  The fans were into the game, pulling for their side in good fun. The staff team was in the lead as the final few minutes wound down. The eighth grade coach sent his whole team out to play in a sneak attack that resulted in the eighth graders getting the ball for one last shot! They made a long 3-point shot to tie it at the buzzer ending the game tied at 33 all!

Many laughs were had by all, setting us up for the boys vs. staff game.

When the game got ready to start, Fr. Steve came out to administer the opening toss up and then scrambled out of the way as everyone rushed to get the ball.  The staff team came at the eighth graders in waves – they had enough players to sub in and out. The eighth grade boys, however, had just five players!

St. Joseph’s eighth grade boys matched up against staff for a basketball game.

St. Joseph’s eighth grade boys vs. staff. Derek, a houseparent, is cleverly disguised in a St. Joseph’s Braves uniform.

The boys held their own, however, and lead at half 13-9. Once the second half got underway, it got a bit confusing – many staff were wearing St. Joseph’s team uniforms, so it was hard to make sure you were passing to your teammate and not the opposition.  The fans kept rooting for the students as the minutes ticked off the clock. There were lots of oohs and aahs as shots went up but not in. At the buzzer, the staff escaped with a 23-21 victory.

It was a great way to finish the week!

It was a busy weekend at St. Joseph’s, so stay tuned to hear more about Saturday’s many activities.

We hope that whatever activity you chose for Lent has proven beneficial and has you ready for Holy Week. May God continue to bless you all and reward you for your generosity.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls had another opportunity for hands-on learning last week when they attended a GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) conference at

Claire is a St. Joseph's houseparent


South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota.


As one professor pointed out, eighth grade is a critical time for girls in math—some of them are taking algebra and for the first time are struggling to “get it.” Later, they may start avoiding taking math and science classes based on the faulty belief that it is too hard, or they just can’t do it. Besides, girls don’t do math, right? HA!


GEMS was an opportunity for them to learn that not only are math and science accessible for girls, they can be a lot of fun! They had 15+ volunteer role models to show them how great it is to be a girl-geek in engineering. Both students and professors were on hand to show them around and guide them through four activities.


St. Joseph’s eighth grade girls programmed a robot to navigate an obstacle course as part of the GEMS workshop.

The girls were careful to start their robot in the same place each time to navigate the course.

Engineering is all about solving problems, so the girls were given several cool tasks to try out for themselves.


Problem #1: Control a Robot. Instead of using a remote control, the girls wrote the actual program to guide the robot through a maze drawn on a floor mat. Wow! Just like the Mars Rover! They wrote lines of code and then tested them out on the robot, tweaking distances and degrees of turns. All the while, their college mentors modeled how to solve problems. “You might want to shorten the turn there. Make sure you always set the robot down in the same spot.” The girls were fascinated, frustrated and elated.


Problem #2: Solve a Crime. Oh no! Somebody broke into the lab, broke a planter, stole some copper wiring, and spilled a suspicious white powder on the floor. Plus, they left

While learning about how buildings are constructed, the girls wore regulation Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE.

Personal Protection Equipment – it’s what all the cool girls are wearing!

behind their half-eaten chocolate bar. That’s just WRONG.


The girls got to use techniques like fingerprinting, dental casting, foot printing and chemical analysis to figure out whodunit.  I can’t wait until someone’s snacks go missing in Pinger Home, because I am sure the St. Joseph’s CSI team will be on the case. Stand back!


Problem #3: Build a New Laboratory. Well, the girls didn’t actually have to help construct a building. But they had a very enthusiastic tour guide explain to them all the different teams who have to work together to complete a complex structure (not unlike the crew who completed the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center renovation last fall). Plus they got to wear PPE – Personal Protection Equipment – goggles, hard hats and reflector vests. It’s what ALL the fashionable girl geeks and engineers are wearing!


Problem #4: Build a Bridge. This was their absolute favorite activity. It involved working in a team with a tour guide. They had to build a working 6-foot bridge with tinker toys, cardboard, string and two bricks. As one girl said:

At first, I saw the space between the two desks and I thought we could never do it. And then we just… started building. I really had to exercise my brain.

The importance of mentors became really clear.

I liked building the bridge because our guide stayed with us the whole time instead of rotating to other stations. She could tell we were really into it.

The Lakota girls worked in teams to build a bridge spanning 6 feet using only string, cardboard, two bricks and tinker toys.

Their favorite task was building a 6-foot bridge, working only with cardboard, two bricks, string and tinker toys.


The girls really enjoyed their trip to SDSU, even though it meant getting up at 5am (on a Saturday!) to make the 3-hour trek from St. Joseph’s Indian School to Brookings. I really hope their experience will help them the next time they get stuck in math class.

This may be hard, but I can do hard things. I can solve this problem.

Once again, I thank our generous donors and SDSU for giving our Native American girls such an awesome learning opportunity. Girls Rock!

No way!

Geri, St. Joseph's Major Gifts Director

Geri, St. Joseph’s Major Gifts Director

Isn’t it just amazing how sometimes a plan comes together?! And how quickly it can happen? Don’t you find yourself saying, No way!?   St. Joseph’s Development Office just had one of those moments.

At St. Joseph’s Indian School, we don’t just provide for the education and basic needs of poverty-stricken Native American children – we make dreams come true. However, we couldn’t do it without the generous support of our many friends, our tiyospayeextended family – of donors who want to make a difference to a Lakota child.

Recently, we reached out to such friends – a foundation in California whose last gift to St. Joseph’s Indian School arrived in October 2009. We were challenged to find a correct phone number for the foundation and ended up leaving a voice message with an attorney, assuming we’d run into a dead end.

However, in a few days we received a phone call from a very excited donor who was anxious to hear how things were going at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Here’s where the story gets interesting…

As we described our plans to open another home on our campus for our Native American students this fall and supply an additional second grade class, we could hear her excitement. She then inquired about other projects, so we described our plans to completely renovate our playground. At this point, the donor’s enthusiasm bubbled over! She asked that we send her a detailed proposal.

Thanks to the generosity of many friends, the Lakota children have a safe place to play and learn at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

The Lakota children love playing outside on St. Joseph’s playground!

We cautioned her that it was a very large project including new basketball courts, a walking track, a new play structure and a rubber tile surface covering nearly 10,000 square feet – costly, but a safety requirement for the children.

We stressed that the project would only be possible with many gifts of all sizes. Unperturbed, she asked how quickly we could get a proposal together for her.

Eight business days after sending a proposal, we heard back from this spirited donor, indicating a check was on the way that would cover 45% of the project! No way!

When we explained that we were overwhelmed by the size of her gift, that our average gift is around $21, this donor replied, “I know – that’s the size of gift I used to make.”

We aren’t in the fundraising business. We are in the Making Dreams Come True business. Not only for the Lakota (Sioux) students and their families we are privileged to serve, but also the donors with whom we are blessed to work.

Pilamayathank you – for being part of our work and making dreams come true!

We hope this finds you all healthy and doing well! The weather in Chamberlain is keeping us guessing, but the last couple of days have been warming up… Dare we say spring

Fr. Anthony is St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Fr. Anthony with the Lakota children

is really here?

St. Joseph’s Native American students have taken advantage of the nice days and are getting out for some activities. Tonight, the junior high softball league will start. The fourth and fifth grade softball will have a meeting today and start their season in the next day or two. Our youngest students (first, second and third grades) take part in T-ball and they kick off their season tomorrow afternoon.

Last Thursday, I had the chance to attend the Chrism Mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The oils used in church rituals during this year were blessed and then distributed to all the parishes. The clergy gather to re-affirm our commitment of service to God’s people and to take the oils home as a sign of unity within the diocese. These oils will be used on April 27 when our Lakota (Sioux) students who are taking part in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Children (RCIC) program will receive their Sacraments.

Saturday was a big night for our high school students – prom! Since the festivities go through the night, we decided to push back our Sunday Mass at St. Joseph’s Indian School to late afternoon so everyone could get some sleep. It was nice to see other prom goers from the community join our later service after taking the opportunity to sleep in. Check out our photos from the evening!

Most of St. Joseph’s high school students attend the Chamberlain High School prom last weekend.

St. Joseph’s students and their dates at the prom!

Everyone was very excited to have Fr. Steve back with us to be the celebrant at our afternoon Mass. He is in South Dakota for a board meeting this week and to visit with the local SCJ community members in his role as Provincial Superior.


It is hard to believe Palm Sunday is coming up this weekend. We hope it will be a special day for you as we continue our journey to Easter.


Take care and know we are keeping you and your intentions in our prayers.

God bless,
Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Jeshua shared in his blog some of the hands-on learning opportunities the Lakota students have on St. Joseph’s campus like drum circle and inipi (sweat lodge). These past

Claire is a St. Joseph's houseparent


few weeks, the students have also had some awesome opportunities for hands-on learning off campus.

Our junior high students had an opportunity to participate in Camp Med at Chamberlain’s community center downtown. Sponsored by the local Sanford Health Center, Camp Med led students through a series of stations, which focused on different aspects of the health care field. Part vocational education and part health education, students got to work with health care professionals and try their hands at some challenging skills.

Students at the Nursing station got to practice giving “insulin” injections (really just saline solution) to an orange. Although we have a student on campus who does administer her own insulin, most of the students have never used a needle and syringe before. They cautiously drew out a dose of saline and poked at the orange under the watchful eye of a local nurse. I am not sure I would want to get my flu shot from any of them just yet, but I was surprised at their level of respect and skill while handling the equipment.

Camp Med offered a host of medical-related booths to give the Lakota students a hands-on idea about careers in healthcare.

St. Joseph’s students practice injections on oranges at the Nursing station during Camp Med.

The Surgery station had a few old school Operation games for them to play—we heard a familiar brrzzzz sound pretty often as the metal tweezers touched the edges trying to reach the funny bone or the appendix. They also had the option of trying to do a laparoscopic surgery simulation, working clips and clamps from the outside of a box while viewing their actions on a monitor. Pretty tricky, even for our video game savvy students.

They really liked using the stethoscope on a model patient, and were excited at the opportunity to win one at the Career booth. Then they enthusiastically tried out their stethoscopes and “syringe” hi-lighter pens on each other. They enjoyed taping each other’s wrists and ankles at the Athletic Training booth, and admired X-rays at the Radiology booth. They tasted food thickener at the Dietary booth, but preferred the suckers they got from the Laboratory Science booth.

Maybe the scariest booth was the Infection Control station, where they used a UV light to see the dirt and germs left on their hands after washing. Ugh!
A close second was the booth where they used goggles to simulate macular degeneration, an eye disease associated with smoking. They were surprised at how poor their basketball skills were with their vision so badly clouded. Yet another reason to be smoke free!

Thanks to our generous donors and Sanford Medical Center for providing such a wonderful learning opportunity for our students!

One student remarked that she didn’t know there were so many choices in the health care field. Exposing them to these options may help students in their career planning later, especially with extreme healthcare needs in Native American communities. In the meantime, they can try out their stethoscopes and tongue depressors. Maybe they will even be inspired to do a really really good job washing their hands before dinner.

Happy Spring!

Julie is a counselor for the Lakota boys and girls at St. Joseph's.

Julie, Family Service Counselor

Even though the weather cannot seem to make up its mind here in South Dakota, spring is officially here! The Lakota (Sioux) students returned from spring break a couple weeks ago and all seemed to have enjoyed the time they were able to spend with family. As we move into April, the final weeks of classes at St. Joseph’s Indian School year will become very busy.

Track has started for our students – the team is 24 strong! St. Joseph’s high school students will run track for Chamberlain High School. Good luck Cubs!

St. Joseph’s junior high students (grades 6-8) students will also start softball in the near future. Hopefully, the weather will start to cooperate and we will have some nice days for our students to participate in these sports.


St. Joseph’s students learn basic softball skills – hitting, catching and throwing.

Swing, batter batter, swing!

Our seniors are getting anxious and ready for graduation, as are our eighth grade students. It’s time for pictures, dress and suit shopping; the joy our graduates are feeling about their accomplishments is nearly tangible!

We wish them all a happy remainder of the school year. Hang tough graduates, the end is near!

We are also fully immersed in the Lenten Season, and the students are looking forward to one more short break for Easter. As we are called in this Lenten Season to prepare our hearts for Resurrection of our Lord, we are also called to serve one another.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our donors and benefactors for their generous donations, which make it possible for all of the staff of St. Joseph’s Indian School to serve the Native American people. Without your support, we could not do the good that we do.

The Lakota children play softball each spring.

If the weather cooperates, the Lakota children will have lovely green grass to play on by the end of the school year!

I wish you all a warm and joyous Spring, Lenten Season and Easter Season.

May the Lord bless you abundantly and keep you and yours safe and healthy!

Julie, Family Service Counselor


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