As the new school year quickly approaches, St. Joseph’s wanted to take a moment to look back at the past school year. 

Cathy, Houseparent

Hi! My name is Cathy. I am a houseparent in the William Home, one of St. Joseph’s 4th-6th grade girls homes.

Adventure and Way to Go!! are always a couple of the themes interwoven into the William Home’s experiences.

Adventure 

Adventure is defined as ‘an unusual and exciting experience or activity, especially the exploration of unknown territory.’ It also means taking chances. 

Adventure walks were one of our students’ favorite things to do last year! Normally, their favorite activity was the playground, but sometimes an adventure/mystery walk would be offered.

Initially, there were complaints and grumblings because they would want to know exactly where they were going… but we would tell them that knowing doesn’t fit the definition of adventure or mystery!

p2Now, the girls would not hesitate to say ‘YES’ because they know the walk will result in a fun activity! Wondering and guessing where our destination was always added to the excitement.

To be honest, I usually do not have a clue as to where we are headed, but by starting out in any given direction, I know we  will find our destination along the way. It might be a new hill to roll down solo or in tandem, or a really neat place to play hide and seek!

Each time is always a different and fun adventure.

On Valentine’s Day,  a few of the girls said ‘YES’ to a mystery walk. This particular stroll definitely became an adventure with a capital A!

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Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School.

As some of you may know, this year has been proclaimed a Holy Year of Mercy by Pope Francis. Part of the celebration calls for people to visit the Cathedral and pass through the Holy Door as part of a pilgrimage. I joined parishioners from St. James Catholic Church in Chamberlain and St. Margaret Catholic Church in Kimball to visit the Cathedral of St. Joseph’s in Sioux Falls.

To meet the requirements for the plenary indulgence, the trip was geared to have the opportunity for Confession, to offer prayer for Pope Francis’ intentions and to receive the Eucharist by joining in the noon Mass. After the Mass, we were given a guided tour of the Cathedral and the renovations that were done in the past few years. The group joined together at a local Perkins for lunch before heading home. We enjoyed sharing reflections of what had impressed people the most about the experience and the tour.

The team at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center has received some great reviews from recent visitors! You can read some of the reviews for yourself by clicking HERE.

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Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School.

It has been an exciting few days at St. Joseph’s Indian School! On Monday, the city of Chamberlain put on a wonderful fireworks display and on Wednesday, a storm with fierce winds and rain moved through town. Luckily, there was not much damage with the storm, other than a few tree branches here and there.

The students in the Summer Break Home all headed home this week. Prior to their departure, they made a trip to Omaha, Nebraska. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves! They swam in a wave pool, rode a roller coaster, raced go-carts, visited an aquarium and made a trip to the zoo to see

Picnic

A picnic in the park was a cherry on top of the Summer Break Home’s trip to the zoo!

orangutans, polar bears, gorillas and elephants—certainly animals that are not normally seen on the plains of South Dakota! (more…)

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School here in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

 
The weather has been beautiful these last several days. The temperature is predicted to climb over 100 degrees today, but things are still nice and green due to the rain we have received.

 
You can tell that summer vacations are beginning to pick up speed—the interstate is full of campers and cars heading in all directions. Last week, we had a large caravan of 12 RV travelers visit the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. They nearly took up the entire parking lot.

 
Our Dining Hall staff is very busy! The Rising Eagle Day Camp for the children from the Crow Creek Reservation is in full swing and students from the Chamberlain area taking part in the PAWS (P-programs and pupils, A-after/before School, W-winners in School, S-success) Program are enjoying nutritious meals multiple times per day. This free summer lunch program is just one of the ways that St. Joseph’s seeks to use our facilities to meet needs in the local community.

 
On Tuesday, those taking part in the Rising Eagle Day Camp had the opportunity to learn some water safety from members of the Game, Fish and Parks Department. The instructors explained to the children how important it is to wear your lifejacket and stay seated when the boat is in operation. They also reminded them to be aware of which direction and how strong to current is when swimming, so as not to get swept away from shore. They had a fishing boat the kids could climb around in and life jackets they could practice putting on.

 

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Summer fun and water safety at St. Joseph’s Rising Eagle Day Camp!

We are grateful to the instructors and hope the children put what they’ve learned into action each and every time they are near the water. Lessons like this are very important since Ft. Thompson, Crow Creek, Lower Brule and St. Joseph’s are all located right on the banks of the Missouri River.

 

This past Saturday, nearly 100 alumni and former staff gathered to celebrate an Alumni Reunion with the purpose of renewing old ties, looking over old pictures to see who could be identified and thanking Mary Jane, our Alumni Liaison who is retiring after 45 years at St. Joseph’s.

 
The day started at 9:30 AM and went until 2:00 PM. We all gathered in the Medicine Wheel Garden for an opening prayer. Soon after, many former staff and alumni took tours of campus and re-visited the underground tunnels. Some of the alumni visiting campus were here prior to 1970 when St. Joseph’s was still utilizing dorms and an old school building, so they were very surprised to see all of the changes!

 
After lunch, a group photo was taken and door prizes were distributed. The day ended with an Honor Song for deceased members of St. Joseph’s alumni and their families as well as St. Joseph’s Alumni who have served our country.

 

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I enjoyed visiting with the Summer Break Home! 

This past Sunday, I took some time to visit with the students staying in the Summer Break Home. They have been having a variety of experiences and journeys around the area. They have really enjoyed spending many days swimming at the local Chamberlain pool since a lot of waterslides and other activities were added last year. They have also been to the Black Hills and Pierre. This weekend, the students and their houseparents hope to head to the Twin Cities in Minnesota for some sightseeing.

 
As you can see from the picture, they were very excited to share what they have been doing. I’ll try to touch base with them upon their return and share with you what they did in Minnesota.

 
This weekend I’ll be away too as I have been invited to the ordination of a young man in Indiana who I baptized when I was stationed in Houston, Texas. He tracked me down last year and invited me to his Deaconate Ordination and now I have been asked to come again for his priestly ordination and 1st Mass. It will be a very special honor. Please keep Michael in your prayers, that he has a long and fruitful ministry serving God’s people.

 
I hope all of you have a wonderful week. May God continue to bless and reward you due to your generosity towards St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota!

Summer is ‘officially’ over here in Chamberlain. The new city swimming pool is closed for the year and public school started this week.

Our high school students arrived on Sunday and participated in a two-day orientation program before school began on Wednesday. Our high school volleyball, cross country and football teams all have meets and games this week.

I recently attended the football team’s scrimmage and joined the coaches and players when they came out to St. Joseph’s for a team building meal at the Sheehy Home. It was a great night.

You may recall that I recently mentioned our 4-6 grade students can participate in football with the local team. They had their first practice on Tuesday evening. Our students were very excited to try on their equipment and hit the field. St. Joseph’s is honored to be able to host the practices and games as a way to help our students get to know their peers from the Chamberlain community better.

On Saturday morning, some of our students participated in the Chamberlain Youth Triathlon. They were able to swim, bike and run—all on campus. It was a fun experience for all!

A boy dances during St. Joseph's Annual Powwow.

Our Lakota (Sioux) students enjoy learning about their Native American culture and participating in our annual powwow.

We were scheduled to have an inipisweat lodge—  with our 7-8 grade boys on Saturday afternoon, but the high wind made it too dangerous to have a fire.

Please keep the members of the American Province of the Priests of the Sacred Heart in your prayers this week. Since our former Provincial, Fr. Steve Huffstetter, SCJ, was elected to our General Council in Rome, we are gathering this week to elect a new Provincial and Council. May the Holy Spirit guide our deliberations.

Our students are getting ready for our 39th Annual Powwow on September 19. They have several dance practices scheduled and staff members have been meeting to talk over plans to ensure another successful event. We have even started praying for good weather! We hope you will be able to attend. If you have any questions about the three day event, please feel free to call 1-800-584-9200 or visit www.stjo.org/powwow.

Have a great Thursday. May God’s blessings continue to be with you and yours.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

Hello from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Colton gives two thumbs up for the camera.

Colton, HR Intern

My name is Colton, and I am an intern in the Human Resource Department here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. My major is Business Administration and I am specializing in Human Resource Management.

To me, it was a no brainer to intern at St. Joseph’s. The intern position fit perfectly with my major and my family lives in Chamberlain. Growing up, I witnessed the “community within a community” atmosphere at St. Joseph’s and I wanted to experience it for myself. Everyone is so friendly and always has a smile on their face and it is extremely rare to drive by a fellow employee and not get a warm smile and a wave from them. You get a sense of family whenever you work and interact with your co-workers.

All staff members also make sure to do everything they can to give the kids the absolute best place possible to call home during the school year. You don’t even have to question what St. Joseph’s “mission” is… if you ever have an opportunity to visit campus and see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they play and learn, or see the tireless work being completed by the houseparents , grounds crew, etc. There truly is a ‘bigger purpose’ at St. Joseph’s  and I look forward to seeing how it continues to grow in the future.

Two girls create a heart shape with their hands on the playground

Our Lakota (Sioux) children are at the heart of everything we do.

As for my internship, I have gotten the same exact feeling from everyone in the HR department. They let me know if I ever have any questions to not hesitate to ask. They are very accommodating to everything going on in my life. I’ve learned far more than I could ever learn in a classroom setting and I am not even done interning! It has been a great experience thus far and I know that I made the right choice in coming to St. Joseph’s.

I have worked in several different places and by far St. Joseph’s takes the cake. Pilamayathank you—for supporting St. Joseph’s and the mission we all serve.

Colton

Hi, my name is Bob. My wife Angela and I are high school houseparents here at St. Joseph’s Indian School, working with girls in grades 9-12. At St. Joseph’s, the high school

Bob, Houseparent

Bob, Houseparent

students live on campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School. They participate in sports, clubs and other extra-curricular activities. It’s a great way to stay involved with the community!

Houseparents normally have summer off. This summer, however, we stayed on campus to work in one of the break homes. But not just any break home… this one was special – the Transitional Living Program for our oldest students.

Two homes were open to offer this opportunity to St. Joseph’s upperclassmen – one for the girls and one for the boys. Each student was ready to see what

a dorm-style, away-from-home lifestyle would be like. It was designed to be much like they will experience in college.

The program had several ground rules:

  • Student had to have a job and provide their own transportation to and from that job.
  • Each student was responsible for their own preparation of meals, laundry and housekeeping.
  • Those who had the privilege of driving St. Joseph’s cars (which most of them did) were responsible for their own gas and oil as needed.
  • Each student could come and go as they chose, provided they let the on-duty staff know where they were going and when they planned to return. They also had to check in by phone from time to time.
  • They had to return by curfew and could not leave the Chamberlain area.
  • Sunday morning all students attended church services on campus. If they were working, they attended Mass elsewhere during a time they were not working.

    St. Joseph’s high school students live on campus but attend Chamberlain Public High School.

    At Chamberlain High School, St. Joseph’s students participate in sports, extra-curricular activities and more.

Our eight students had various jobs, both on St. Joseph’s campus and in the Chamberlain community. We had students work in the restaurant field, at a car dealership and at a hotel.

After the six-week program concluded, the students went home to finish their summer vacation and spend some time with their families. Hopefully, they went with a better understanding of work ethic and independence that will help them in the future.

We had a great group of students and really enjoyed spending some of their summer with them. We saw some real life changes in this group of wonderful, mature, young adults and hope the experience will impact their future in a positive way.

Thank you for the support you give St. Joseph’s Indian School to make these opportunities possible for the Lakota students!

Bob, Houseparent

Greetings! My name is Bette. My husband Mike and I have recently moved to South Dakota to work as houseparents for St. Joseph’s Indian School. It has been a joy working

Bette and her husband Mike recently moved to Chamberlain to be houseparents at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Bette and one of the summer students at the local library.

here in the summer break home. The students attend school for a few hours each morning and then our afternoons are filled with many fun activities.

We have students in our break home who will be in the second grade through ninth grade next year. Some of the younger students have enjoyed weaving potholders and some of the older students have learned how to make knitted hats using a round loom. Everyone has enjoyed making muffins and sugar cookies from scratch.

One student recently celebrated a birthday, so we had the joy of giving her a party complete with cupcakes and candles and party games. We also made homemade ice cream by shaking cream, sugar and vanilla in a baggie surrounded by ice.

We love celebrating summer birthdays!

Happy birthday Aralyn!

Some of the students guessed we were making cheese, but we kept it a secret to the end. We shook the bags for about 10 minutes – there were a lot of sore arms, but it was worth it when they got to taste the final results!

In the past few weeks, we have gone to the movies, had a picnic, gone bowling and, of course, out to Dairy Queen and McDonald’s for ice cream on a warm day. There are a lot of activities planned for the Fourth of July including a parade, car show and rodeo here in town. Next week, there will be a special party to celebrate the last day of school (I know the students will feel sad and need some cheering up – ha ha!).

The students have also attended our local library’s summer reading program. This year they have a super hero theme. One student was overheard saying this was “way cool”

as he designed his very own super hero shield and decorated it with stickers. They got to perform superhero dances, listen to stories and make special masks as well.

One very busy spot has been our Chamberlain Community Pool. It received a face lift this spring with the addition of a 100 foot curvy slide and a water basketball hoop. It has kept our kids very happy on warm days!

There is a playground right next to the pool, so the students have the best of both worlds. When we are not at the pool, students can often be found riding their bikes around campus or using a scooter or two.

Students created 200 luminary bags for the Relay for Life.

Students worked hard to design luminary bags for the local Relay for Life.

Our students truly have warm, giving hearts and have embraced the idea of helping with our local Relay for Life this year. We are assisting with the decoration of the paper bag luminaires that will light the pathway during the Relay.

The students listened to a story that was written by a young child diagnosed with cancer to gain a better understanding as well as increased empathy for those undergoing treatment.

Mike and I have been proud of the amount of care and attention that each bag has received. The kids really want to do a great job in making these special for the recipients. We have about 200 bags to decorate and are almost finished.

Thank you for allowing me to share some of the activities that have gone on here in the summer! The summer break home has been an eventful place filled with wonderful memories of a summer spent with beautiful kids.

Bette

Houseparent

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

After all the wild weather last weekend, things have calmed down a bit.  Branches keep coming down here and there around campus, but the majority of damage has been cleaned up by our grounds crew along with help of other St. Joseph’s maintenance staff.  It was really a team effort as electric saws, manual trimmers and hand-powered rakes were used to repair what Mother Nature tore apart.  There was some minor structural damage, but nothing of a serious nature.  We are grateful, but it is a shame that so many trees were damaged or lost completely. Several tree stumps still need to be removed and there will be

a lot of replanting to come. We received word from our fellow SCJs (Priests of the Sacred Heart) on the Lower Brule Indian Reservation that they too had high winds which brought down some trees. Thankfully, no buildings or cars were hit and everyone is safe.

Several trees were lost, but we’re thankful that no one was injured in last week’s storms.

Several trees were damaged or destroyed completely in last week’s storms.

You can tell the travel season is well underway by looking at the number of cars, tour buses, campers and RV’s in the parking lot at the Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center. I can see the parking lot from my office window and it is interesting to see visitors from all over the country stopping in to learn about the Lakota (Sioux) culture and walk through the new alumni and historical center that gives a brief overlook of St. Joseph’s history. If you would like to about others’ experiences to help you decide if your travel plans include a visit to St. Joseph’s Indian School, you can check us out on TripAdvisor.

The pool in our rec center is undergoing some repair. It is such a blessing and provides so many good things for our students. It is good exercise during the long South Dakota winter, helps fight childhood obesity, enables water safety and swimming lessons

St. Joseph’s pool provides exercise and lots of fun for the Lakota children.

The pool is such a blessing to St. Joseph’s students, and does so many good things for them!

to be conducted; and provides the opportunity for laughter, fun, friendships and fond memories to be established. The pool is also a benefit we can share with our staff and their families, as well as the local community. Stay tuned for details and updates!

A few weeks ago, the Chamberlain Junior Achievement program held its annual golf tournament hosting 16 teams. Participants helped raise over $3,000 which will go toward the various programs sponsored by Junior Achievement.  I’m happy to announce the St. Joseph’s team won the event with an 18 under par score of 54 over 18 holes. Congratulations!!

Hope everyone has a wonderful Independence Day weekend.  If you are using fireworks, please stay safe and enjoy your local festivities.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ

Chaplain

It is a universal understanding that people who work at schools should get the summers off. Well I am here to tell you this is a myth! Folks I talk to always ask what I do with

Frank W. 7-8th Residential Coordinator

Frank W.
7-8th Residential Coordinator

summers off… and then become perplexed when I tell them that, at St. Joseph’s Indian School, I work all summer.

This is when the questions comes out: What do you do all summer? I usually answer “not much” with a sly smile on my face.

The campus is different type of busy from June to August. Between Rising Eagle Day Camp in June, high school students working summer jobs and going to camps, the summer home for grades 1-8, interviewing potential houseparents and planning programing for the next school year, we tend to keep pretty busy. I think there are more kids on campus during June than during a month during the regular school year!

There are approximately 14 Lakota students in grades 1-8 who stay on campus until mid-July.

Students in St. Joseph’s summer program recently had a field trip to the local airport.

In the organized chaos that is summer, I help supervise the summer home with the other Residential Coordinators. We have approximately 14 Lakota students in grades 1-8 who stay on campus until mid-July. There are several different reasons for students to stay on campus in the summer home, but all come with their parent or guardian’s request and approval. The kids have a great time over the summer with extra trips, daily visits to the Chamberlain pool and community service projects. The hard part is that they have to attend school Monday through Friday, 9am to noon.

For our high school students, a major part of their summer being able to work in various jobs on campus. We have junior houseparents who went through an interview process and earned a spot working in the summer home. Junior houseparents help with supervision of the students, preparing meals, and even some paperwork. Students earn valuable work experience and get to see the other side of the fence of living in a St. Joseph’s home!

Another part of what I do in the summer is work with other administrators to plan for next year. Decisions need to be made about programing, policies and updating rules. This is a really boring process, but it’s important to ensure everything on campus runs smoothly next year.

The last big piece of summer at St. Joseph’s is interviewing and hiring new houseparents. Our Human Resource Department works hard at recruiting, screening and bringing in potential houseparents for interviews. This is a lengthy process, but necessary to ensure we find the right people to care for the children in their campus homes.

St. Joseph’s has junior houseparents who went through an interview process and earned a spot working in the summer home.

RJ, a 2015 graduate, is working with summer school teachers in the mornings and as a junior houseparent in the afternoons.

When summer starts to wind down in July and the summer kids leave for home, campus becomes really creepy quiet! I use the word “creepy” because, without the laughter and noise of the kids, campus just doesn’t feel right. The kids are definitely the heart and soul of our campus life and are duly missed when they are not here.

As staff, we appreciate the down time, but the creepy quiet also reminds us why we are here, and renews our faith and belief in the mission of St. Joseph’s Indian School.

So folks, that is what happens on campus in the summer!

What I do is small piece in the bigger puzzle of St. Joseph’s. Our development office, maintenance crew, rec staff and Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center staff work hard all summer doing their part to keep campus running, make repairs and welcome visitors.

We only have seven weeks until new staff training starts. And the kids come back for the new school year just two weeks after that!

Please pray for our staff to receive rest and renewal on their time off and pray for students to have safe and happy summer. As always, thank you for your support! Without your generosity, we could not continue the work we do to help the Lakota (Sioux) children. Thank you!

Frank W.

7-8th Residential Coordinator