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!


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


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.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


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


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