Maija


Our trip to France was fantastic!

A few weeks ago, I shared in a blog post that I was headed to France with Erica and Andrew. It was a wonderful trip!

St. Joseph’s staff and Lakota students enjoyed an exchange visit to St. Solange, in Chateauroux France.

Andrew, Maija and Erica had a wonderful trip to France!

Many of the French students thought we would arrive wearing traditional Lakota (Sioux) regalia instead of modern clothes – they were surprised to see us in jeans and

t-shirts!

We shared much about South Dakota and the Lakota culture, and the students and staff asked some great questions. Everyone appreciated the dreamcatchers we brought for them, and they all seemed to enjoy trying on some of the regalia. They were also interested in learning what kinds of modern music and video games our kids like and were surprised to learn of the similarities they shared. The younger students had a great time participating in the Circle Dance, learning Lakota words, and making beaded bracelets.

Our hosts introduced us to France’s Berry Region – a beautiful area with amazing culture, music and food! The town, Chateauroux, was lovely and some areas were quite old, with cobblestone streets and amazing architecture.  Some of the sights we were fortunate to see were the Chambord Castle (designed by DaVinci), Europe’s largest zoo, beautiful smaller castles and gardens, an organic goat cheese farm and – best of all – spending time with our host families and children at St. Solange!

Before we departed, the students at St. Solange presented us with gifts of music, poetry, and art in a wonderful celebration which included the benediction of their chapel. The festivities included traditional regional music and food, a visit from the mayor, reporters and lots of fun! We presented the school headmaster with an ironwood buffalo in thanks for their hospitality and generosity during our stay.

The whole day was truly touching; we were humbled by their kindness.

We had a short visit of Paris, the beautiful “City of Lights,” and we were not disappointed. We took a bus tour of Paris’ most visited areas, and went to the Louvre, Notre Dame, and the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, Sacre-Coeur (which is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus) at Montmartre. We felt this was an important visit, as St. Joseph’s was founded by the Priests of the Sacred Heart!

After a night in Paris, we took the Chunnel to London in preparation for the trip home.

Before we even left the station in Paris, we saw the Queen! She departed from the same train we were taking to England! It was exciting to see the guards in full dress, the reporters, and the Queen’s car.

Once in London, we met up with the group of St. Joseph’s staff and students who were in Germany, giving presentations as we were, to Gymnasium Leonium, in Handrup.

The students appreciated being in an English speaking country and loved the sights of the city of London, riding the “Eye” and seeing “Stomp!’ at the West End.

We all had a wonderful time learning about another culture and way of life. We are especially looking forward to our hosts coming to South Dakota in October to be our guests at St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Thank you for helping St. Joseph’s provide amazing learning opportunities for the Native American children we serve!

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On May 25, Erica, Andrew, and I left on the trip of a lifetime! We have the honor of representing St. Joseph’s Indian School at the Lycee Ste Solange School, in Chateauroux,

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

France, on a trip to our sister school!

Similar to the exchange program with our sister school in Handrup, Germany, we hope this experience will broaden our students’ horizons. In turn, we will share the Lakota (Sioux) culture and St. Joseph’s mission.

We spent several months putting together a presentation for the school to share information about:

  • The state of South Dakota
  • Powwows and traditional regalia
  • The Seven Sacred Lakota Rites
  • St. Joseph’s programs
  • Chamberlain High School

With the older students in France, we will make dreamcatchers and beaded bracelets using the colors of the Four Directions. The little ones will learn about the Lakota tipi, star quilt and drum. Erica will also demonstrate fancy dancing in her regalia.

Erica, a St. Joseph’s high school student, traveled to our sister school in France.

Erica

The past several months have also been spent getting to know our hosts. I have been in touch with Blandine, who is the school secretary and the headmaster’s wife.

Before Easter, Stellie (from St. Joseph’s office in Paris), went to Chateauroux and gave a presentation about St. Joseph’s mission and the Lakota children who attend our school. After learning why children come to St. Joseph’s, Blandine and the students organized the “Bowl of Rice” operation.

This activity came in conjunction with the Easter season of Lent. After a talk about what sacrifice means, students at their school were given a choice about their regular lunch.

They proposed having the students pay the regular price of a school lunch and, instead of receiving what they would normally have (starter, main course, cheese and dessert), it would be substituted with a bowl of rice, apple, and piece of bread. The difference in cost would be donated to St. Joseph’s.

Andrew, a St. Joseph’s high school student, traveled to our sister school in France.

Andrew

Two weeks ago, I received a very ecstatic email from Blandine – they had great success in Operation Bowl of Rice and raised 2,000 Euros (over $2,700)!

They never had so many participants, she added. She said everyone was so proud to be allowed to participate for Maija, Erica and Andrew’s school!

In thanks for their generosity, we’re showing our appreciation for the school children and staff at Chateauroux by offering a gift of an ironwood buffalo – a symbol of sacrifice.

The buffalotatanka – is considered a symbol of abundance. It is especially significant in the Lakota culture because it provided the people with everything they needed.

Thank you for helping St. Joseph’s provide amazing learning opportunities for the Native American children we serve and stay tuned for more details about our trip!

Maija

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I get to plan

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ve seen over the last few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes – and today is our final installment. We got started with the Hogebach Home, followed by the Crane Home and the Giles Home. Last week we heard about the boys in the Sheehy Home.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.

CAROLA HOME

Carola boys describe their home as a unique, fun, normal yet different home, which they’re glad to be a part of. The home is quite small for high school boys, but this provides them with what Wyatt calls a “male bonding” experience.
The boys of Carola are proud of their involvement in helping others in the community. They are COBRAS – Creating One Brotherhood Responsible through Actively Serving.

St Joseph’s high school boys visited the University of Minnesota during their home trip to Minneapolis.

On their home trip to Minneapolis, the Carola boys made a stop at the University of Minnesota.

The boys have done some really wonderful and helpful things for others, such as an activity with the elderly in a local assisted living center, sending packages to soldiers overseas, helping load and haul rock and wood for a home improvement and cleaning up the rec center gym after basketball games, to name a few.

 
They are also actively involved at Chamberlain High School. Jacob and JaTonne have been up bright and early several mornings for choir competitions. Other boys in the home play basketball, football, run track, and wrestle. Jacob is also looking forward to the State track meet and hoping to go to state for wrestling. Jeremy feels proud of his football season this year and if his muscles get any bigger, he’ll be a force to contend with for certain!

 
Jeremy is proud to have been accepted as one of four exchange students going to Handrup, Germany, this summer and is looking forward to learning some pick up lines he can use with the girls there German.

 
The boys hope to end the school year with everyone getting good grades and are looking forward to the weather improving so they can go fishing and have bonfires.
Pilamaya – thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

 
Have a great week,
Maija & the Carola boys

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

get to plan fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ll see over the next few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes! We got started with the Hogebach Home, followed by the Crane Home and the Giles Home last week.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.

SHEEHY HOME

The Sheehy Home boys describe themselves as a family, period. They enjoy residing in their spacious home, especially when they have to be indoors due to the cold weather. They spend some of their free time watching WWF (World Wrestling Federation) and, as a side note, they say Randy Orton is the best! They also like playing video games when they’re not at St. Joseph’s rec center playing basketball.

St. Joseph’s high school students work hard to keep the academic trophies in their home – one for highest GPA and one for fewest missing assignments.

The boys in the Sheehy Home have earned bragging rights as the owners of St. Joseph’s High School Academic Trophies!

They are proud to be an active bunch of young men –  just about all of them are involved with one of the Chamberlain High sports teams. This is not just a house full of “jocks” though. Sheehy Home has several boys who earned a spot on the Honor Roll and are still working hard keeping up with their grades.

This is a close-knit group. These guys have been together for many years, all working toward being positive leaders. No one has dropped from the high school program as they encourage each other to work hard, do well, and graduate.

Their hopes for the remainder of the school year are to have fun, get good grades, earn the academic trophy back and keep it!

Pilamaya thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,

Maija & the Sheehy boys

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

get to plan fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ll see over the next few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes! We got started with the Hogebach Home, followed by the Crane Home last week.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.

GILES HOME

The Giles home boys came up with some very creative descriptives for their home:

The Giles Home boys like hanging out together and playing games.

Relaxing and playing some Monopoly in the Giles Home.

  • Spontaneous
  • Fantastic
  • Brilliant
  • Miraculous
  • Fun
  • Fabulous

The boys never give up on each other, get along well, and don’t hold grudges…for the most part.

The Giles Home’s overall GPA has improved and the boys are worked hard to end the second semester strong. In addition to improving their grades, several of the guys have applications in to local businesses and hope to have part-time jobs and steady income soon.

These young men have some impressive goals for the remainder of the school year. They all hope to pass second semester with good grades and have no F’s.

Dawson especially hopes to pass his driver’s test, get a car and help his grandma out.

Deavontay is most grateful for the houseparents’ persistence in helping them succeed. The boys all agree – their houseparents never give up on any of them and always show they care.

This was obvious while visiting the home; the camaraderie and banter between staff and students was light-hearted and entertaining.

Pilamaya thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,

Maija & the Giles boys

The Lakota boys in the Giles Home went to Minnesota on their home trip.

The Giles Home boys and their houseparents during their home trip to Minnesota.

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I get to plan

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ll see over the next few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes! We got started last week with the Hogebach Home.

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.

CRANE HOME:

The girls in Crane Home describe themselves as close friends who are like one big family of cooperative, energetic, funny, and AMAZING girls! They love doing things together, like hanging out, watching movies, and going on home trips. They feel blessed to be big and little sisters who will always stand up for each other.

New houseparents Bob and Angie, who joined our staff after many years in residential care elsewhere, say they have never seen a houseful of teenage girls get along so

The Lakota girls in the Crane Home love spending time together!

For their Valentine’s Dinner, the girls toasted their favorite beverage – pomegranate juice with diet Sprite!

well.

Ashley, a freshman, is proud of how well she is adjusting at Chamberlain High School. All the girls shared that they are making new friends, becoming more outgoing, are comfortable and able to be themselves at school.

The girls are celebrating having the least amount of missing assignments of the school year. Their goal is to earn the trophy again. The quarter ended March 7, so we’ll know soon if they were successful!

In St. Joseph’s High School program, there are two traveling trophies that circulate through the high school homes:

  • Highest average home GPA
  • Fewest missing assignments per home

These trophies are awarded at mid-term and at the end of every quarter, so the homes have eight chances each year to steal it away from the previous winners.

Some recent excitement for these young ladies was when the one-act play, “Afghan Women,” earned a superior rating at the South Dakota State One-Act Competition. Erica has been involved with the drama team at Chamberlain for three years now! She admits the practices are sometimes long and hard, but the performances are outstanding and worth the effort. She likes that the Crane Home has good drama, not bad drama.

Katie is happy to be chosen to attend the donor luncheon in Los Angeles and is very excited about being a participant in the upcoming student exchange in Handrup, Germany this summer. She would like to learn some basic German prior to leaving.

Nine Native American girls live in the Crane home at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Leahanna, Katie, Danielle, Ashley, Kezrai, Erica, Martina and Lilly make up the Crane Home at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Each girl in the Crane Home has progressed academically and works hard at keeping up with their studies. The girls’ hope for the remainder of the school year is to stay as close as they are right now.

Pilamaya thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,

Maija & the Crane girls

Hello there! I’m Maija, and I have the best job at St. Joseph’s Indian School! I work primarily with the Lakota (Sioux) students in high school and junior high. I get to plan

Maija works with St. Joseph's high school students

Maija

fun activities with the kids, train new houseparents, call applicants and more.

I had the pleasure of putting together a series of five blog posts that you’ll see over the next few weeks – one post from each of our high school homes!

St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus, but attend Chamberlain High School, so their schedule is a little different than our younger students.

I hope this blog gives you a glimpse into our world; the activities the kids are involved with, their hopes, and goals.

HOGEBACH HOME: When one enters the Hogebach Home, they can just feel the good vibes emanating from these young ladies. They describe their home as:

  • Positive
  • Smart
  • Busy
  • Loud
  • Full of laughter
  • The best home ever
  • Amazing
  • Full of independent girls

Michelle sums it up by saying “we’ve got style.”

There are two freshmen and six upperclassmen in St. Joseph’s Hogebach Home.

Ashley, Michelle, Amber, Cassidy, Irene, Melvina and Angela, along with Eya the Dog, make up the Hogebach Home.

Hogebach houses two freshmen and six upper-class Native American girls. The upper-class girls are glad to have such smart freshmen in their home and have done a great job encouraging the younger girls to keep their grades up. They do this in part so they can earn back the academic trophies.

In St. Joseph’s High School program, there are two traveling trophies that circulate through the high school homes:

  • highest average home GPA
  • fewest missing assignments

These trophies are awarded at mid-term and at the end of every quarter, so the homes have eight chances each year to steal it away from the previous winners.

The Hogebach Home once proudly held both trophies for quite a long time. The Hogebach girls have been working hard and hope to win at least one trophy back at the end of the third quarter, which is March 7.

The girls love having Eya, their houseparent’s 13-year-old Australian Shepherd, in their home. They are the only home on campus with a dog and consider him a part of their family. Irene says that Eya loves popcorn and is smart; he knows when someone is sad and he’ll sit by them. Amber states the dog is hers. Either way, the smart dog and smart girls get along very well in the Hogebach Home!

The girls in the Hogebach Home enjoyed a weekend trip with their houseparents.

On their home trip to the Black Hills, the girls and their houseparent, Cheryl, had a blast tubing!

The end of the school year will be here before we know it. All the girls in Hogebach hope they get the trophy back, have no missing assignments ever again and everyone finishes the year staying positive!

Pilamaya – thank you – for your support of St. Joseph’s and these awesome kids!

Have a great week,

Maija & the Hogebach girls