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.


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!


Last week, a group of 16 matches from the Children Count Mentor Program traveled to a corn maze in eastern South Dakota. Every year, the shape of the corn maze changes

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

An aerial view of the corn maze.

– this year it was a bear!

Students and their adult matches were divided into groups and given a map and a list of questions. The map showed the location of nine stations to be found. Each station provided the answer to a question and a clue to finding your way out of the maze.

The questions were – you guessed it – all about bears! The students also had a chance to find a treasure chest. It wasn’t on the map but, if found, awarded a special treat. This was highly sought after by each group. A few of the groups actually found the treasure after much searching.

St. Joseph’s Indian School has 35 students matched with adult mentors

Mentors and their student matches had a great time!

Each year, St. Joseph’s Mentor Committee organizes different gatherings throughout the year. These activities along with individual outings, allow students to have time with an adult to build another positive relationship.

There are about 35 mentor matches between Lakota students and St. Joseph’s Indian School staff members. To be a part of the mentor program, a student is matched based on their need for one-on-one time and positive adult role models in their lives. Matches are made based on mutual interests.

Everyone had a great time at the corn maze! Pilamayathank you – for your generosity to support programs like this for the Native American children we serve.

Dee & Celia, Mentor Committee

We had a very busy weekend at St. Joseph’s Indian School, including celebrating Native American Day yesterday. South Dakota has celebrated Native American Day instead of Columbus Day since 1990.

We were also honored to have Fr. Steve on campus for part of the weekend!

One of St. Joseph’s students took second place in the hand throwing pumpkin contest.

Seventh grader Haesel came in second in the hand-throwing section for her age group.

Fr. Steve, now our SCJ Provincial Superior, was back on campus to take part in St. Joseph’s semi-annual board meeting.  It was good to see him; his health is good and he’s

The Lakota boys and girls participated in the parade for the River City Band Festival in Chamberlain.

St. Joseph’s students carried banners in the parade for the River City Band Festival.

enjoying his new position.

During his visit, Fr. Steve was able to take part in Enrichment Night activities with the Lakota boys and girls and visit with some of the Hogebach girls who took part in an inipi ceremony the afternoon he arrived.

Saturday, he attended the River City Band Festival Parade with many of our students and staff.

Local and regional bands march in a parade and then perform in the field competition at the Chamberlain High School football field. During the parade, 40 St. Joseph’s students helped by carrying banners to advertise the local sponsors.

Sunday was the parish festival at St. James Catholic Church in Chamberlain. Several young men from the Cyr Home (fourth, fifth and sixth grade boys) volunteered to set up, help with some games and then take part in the clean-up.  One of their houseparents is the parish secretary, which inspired them to volunteer.

St. Joseph’s students and staff participated in a local pumpkin throwing contest.

St. Joseph’s maintenance crew constructed a pumpkin chucker for the local fall festival.

At the Chamberlain community fall festival the St. Joseph’s Chuckers won the contest for who could shoot a pumpkin the farthest with a catapult.   Several members of our maintenance crew worked together to construct a launcher and won 1st place.  Haesel, one of our seventh graders, came in second in the hand throw contest for the 10-15 year age group.

As the autumn days slip away, we see the football and volleyball seasons wind down and come to an end.  The seventh and eighth grade football team will have their last game of the season this week as they host Crow Creek.  The girls’ volleyball teams will be on the road to Pierre to play PILC (Pierre Indian Learning Center).  Our flag football season is also winding down and the students had another good year.

May God continue to bless and reward each of you for your generosity for the education and care of the Lakota boys and girls.  Be assured of our prayers for you and your loved ones.



Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Hello and greetings from Mike and the Pinger Home!

Mike works with the Lakota girls in 4th and 5th grades

Mike, a St. Joseph’s houseparent

After spending my first 11 years at St. Joseph’s Indian School in the William Home with fourth and fifth graders, I have moved! I am now in the Pinger home with fourth, fifth AND sixth graders. The school year is off to a very fast start – it is truly hard to believe that the first nine weeks end today!

As always, the start of the year brings on many new things.  There are new staff, new kids and new memories to make.  Powwow is truly one of my favorite days of the year.  Watching the kids get prepared and the practice they put in to their dancing leading up to the big day.  We were delighted to have both Miss St. Joseph’s and Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s – Shawnna and Diamond – in our home. We’re so proud of them!

The Pinger Home is so proud of Diamond and Shawnna being named Jr. Miss and Miss St. Joseph’s.

Diamond, Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s, and Shawnna, Miss St. Joseph’s, are both in the Pinger Home.

Things can be hectic this time of the year too.  We have girls in cross country and volleyball as well as a large number in martial arts.  Trying to find a schedule that makes sense can be difficult at times, but the girls can adapt to most anything and we seem to make it work.  With volleyball and cross country winding down, it means that basketball season is right around the corner, so I will add coaching and refereeing to my list of things to do.

Next week, we will be time to start our morning walking group. Last year, the girls set the bar pretty high by getting in over 21,000 laps in the rec center gym.  That is over 1,000 miles! This group is out to set a new record and raise the bar again.  We will keep you updated on our progress.

Thanks for your support and we hope you enjoyed our first blog from the Pinger Home!

Mike, Houseparent

Greetings from a chilly Chamberlain!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Throughout the school year, St. Joseph’s high school students visit various colleges and trade schools as they consider their future. Last week, several or our seniors, juniors and sophomores traveled to the University of South Dakota to learn more about the campus and classes offered there.

On the trip to USD, our students were thrilled to catch up with St. Joseph’s alumni Errol and Wyatt, who graduated in 2014 and now attend the University of South Dakota. It was great to have their insight about the transition from high school to college. Thanks guys!

You may have heard about the recent difficulties at Chicago’s airports. The ripple effect of this disruption in air travel made it all the way to South Dakota. Our team going to the donor luncheon in Chicago this past weekend had their flight cancelled. In an effort to keep our scheduled events, the decision was made to drive to Chicago.

Everything went great!

The Lakota (Sioux) students prepare for the future by visiting colleges and tech schools.

St. Joseph’s high school students visited USD and met up with alumni Errol and Wyatt.

Justina and Treyah did a great job speaking to our donors. The trip was made extra special by a visit from Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, past Director of St. Joseph’s and our current Provincial Superior. He joined the team for the Saturday lunch and sightseeing. Fr. Steve grew up near Chicago and was excited to show the team the local sights.

During the donor events we hold in different cities around the U.S., two of our Lakota (Sioux) students share with our benefactors how their generosity touches the lives of the children who attend St. Joseph’s.  Our next luncheon will be in San Francisco, California in January. You can register online or call 1-800-584-9200. We’d love to have you join us if you are in the area!

Within the next few days, St. Joseph’s will be hosting exchange students from Germany. In June, we send a couple students to visit Germany and France. In the fall, our European counterparts become our guests and visit St. Joseph’s Indian School.  They will attend a few days of classes with our students at Chamberlain High School, do some sightseeing and make a presentation of what life and school are like in Germany.

I hope that everyone has a great week.  May God continue to bless and reward you for your generosity.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Hi everyone! My name is Robin and I am the Department Chair for Special Education at St. Joseph’s. I am also the instructor for Fast


Robin, St. Joseph’s Special Ed Teacher

ForWord. I just want to say first and for most I LOVE it here at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

There are so many wonderful opportunities for our students as well as staff. We care for the WHOLE CHILD – mind, body, heart and spirit! I believe that’s really important. We try to give our students the best education possible by introducing new and exciting programs, but also incorporating “tried and true” techniques. Sometimes it feels as though there is not enough time in the day to accomplish all that we would like, but we do our best!

Along with new and exciting ways of learning, there are always tried and true methods used in the classrooms.

Along with new and exciting ways of learning, there are always tried and true methods used in the classrooms.

One of the things I do is work with the Fast ForWord program. This program works with the cognitive mind by teaching and re-teaching the brain how to think, find information, retain information and recall it. To the students, it’s a computer game. I currently have eight students working with this program. We are looking at a few more students to see if they would benefit as well.

They love it! The boys and girls are motivated and look forward to coming each day. We start earlier than normal Friday mornings (7:30 am) as Fridays are busier than other days. Despite the early hour, they are here right on time!

I have two who have “leveled up” already this semester, after just two and a half weeks – I am

St. Joseph’s is fully accredited and meets all the standards of the State of South Dakota.

St. Joseph’s gives the Lakota children opportunities to learn in different ways.

so proud! There are a couple of other students who are so, so close. Keep your fingers crossed for them!

I am so proud of this group, as I am of all the students of St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Have said lately how much I LOVE it here? Thank you for your support!


St. Joseph’s seventh and eighth grade football team is working their way through the season and learning a lot!

Last week, they took on the Warriors from a school in Pierre, South Dakota. The team was looking forward to taking on the boys from Pierre and saw some familiar faces. Excited as they were, the opposing team seemed to triple ours in numbers AND size!

The boys played hard throughout the game and had no complaints about being tired or needing a break. We had an early injury, which kept a player out for much of the game. This led the young men to have to play “Iron Man Football” and have no breaks because we had no one left to substitute in.

St. Joseph’s Braves take a break between plays on the football field.

St. Joseph’s Braves got their first victory of the football season last week!

After the injury, the team’s spirits seemed to falter a little. However, the support of our fans in the St. Joseph’s Indian School crowd helped pep them back up! There were a couple of long drives plays by the Warriors that lead to scores that brought St. Joseph’s down by 14. Our Braves did not stop fighting, however, and came back to score the go ahead points in the middle of the 4th quarter!

All that was left was to stop the Warriors from scoring and run out the clock… However, the Warriors were marching down the field determined to score and take back the lead.

The Warriors had the ball at about the 15 yard line, looking to score, when Harold intercepted a pass to stop their drive! The boys then ran the final minutes off the clock to secure our first victory of the season.

The crowd went wild!

Both of us coaches are extremely proud of how well the boys played. That they did not let up on their efforts on the field in the face of adversity. It is as very good sign of things to come in the future.

Final Score = St. Joseph’s Braves 26 PILC  Warriors 20

You can watch some of the game here – St. Joseph’s Braves are wearing the yellow jerseys.

Thanks for your support of this great team!

Coaches Dave & Andrew


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