Hi, my name is Odis. My houseparent partner Theresa and I work in the Cyr Home at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Odis, St. Joseph's Houseparent

Odis, St. Joseph’s Houseparent

We have 11 boys in grades 4-6 in the home, and I want to share with you how we keep the boys active in both body and mind.

One of our mottos at Cyr Home is “work hard, play hard.” On the work side of the equation, cold and snowy Friday afternoons are a great time to cut and sort Box Tops for Education and Campbell’s soup labels after school. We use labels and box tops to

Every year, houseparents Odis and Theresa take the Cyr Home boys to Farm Island for a hike.

The Cyr Home boys and houseparent Theresa on their 2015 Farm Island hike.

buy fun, extra things for the home, like i-Pads and other electronics, which are great to have around on long, cold winter days. The boys usually don’t get to play video games on school days, but on those days when the weather is too bad to go outside, we fire up the Xbox 360, and they use the Kinect to play games that are interactive such as dancing, bowling and baseball games.

A couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to Pierre to do our annual hike on Farm Island, which is around six-and-one-half miles round trip. We take a picture on the same log every year. As you can

Farm Island sits in the Missouri River near Pierre, South Dakota.

The Cyr Home boys on their 2014 Farm Island hike.

see, the log and the boys are getting older and older. I don’t know how many more years our picture log will last…

The island we hike on once had a Civilian Conservation Corps camp operating on it in the 1930’s and was the only one open in South Dakota for the full nine years of the program. Afterwards, it was home to a golf course and children’s camps, among other things. Needless to say, the overgrown island is now home to a lot of ruins and trails that the boys enjoy exploring.

The whole round trip got us very hungry, so we went to the Wonderful House of Jell-O a.k.a. The Chinese Buffet. We call it the Wonderful House of Jell-O because there are always a few boys who have never eaten at a Chinese restaurant and end up with nothing but Jell-O on their plates. The

Each year on their hike, the boys stop at the same tree for a picture.

The Cyr Home boys on their 2013 Farm Island hike.

joke in our home is that the buffet has the world’s best Jell-O because that is all some boys want to eat. The boys were more daring this year, however, and not one of them got Jell-O until they went for seconds.

We want all our readers and donors to know we appreciate your good thoughts and support. The boys at Cyr Home always have you on their minds and in our nightly prayers. Theresa and I thank you for your support of our work with the Cyr Home boys and St. Joseph’s.




Last weekend, Kathleen, St. Joseph’s Principal, and I took five eighth

Claire, Paraprofessional

Claire, Paraprofessional

grade girls to the Girls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) conference at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. GEMS is designed to show girls career options in science, math and technology – fields where girls are underrepresented.

One reason may be that when girls take algebra in eighth or ninth grade, it is the first time they have to really struggle with a subject. As a result, girls may come to the faulty conclusion that “Math is not for me!” or that “Math is for boys.”

At GEMS, they meet a lot of young women who love math and science and who excel at it. Having female role models helps break the stereotype that certain subjects or careers are off limits.

Engineering and math are all about solving problems, so our fearless girls got to try their hand at solving some interesting problems at GEMS. One problem was how to build a bridge that would hold up the maximum amount of weight while using the minimum amount of weight in materials.   Several students of civil engineering were on hand to help with blueprints and construction supplies.   The girls used folded paper, tape and brads to build a girder and beam-type structure that even survived the trip home.

Civil engineering students helped the girls learn about building bridges.

Treyah and Lara doing fingerprinting while Kathleen looks on.

Next, they got to try their hand at forensic science. They had to determine which of two suspects broke into the lab and stole some copper tubing. They took hair samples, dental impressions, fingerprints and footprints. They ran a chemical analysis of some powder that was left at the scene. A scientist from the state crime lab was there to show them how to do hair analysis. Pretty soon they had their culprit.

Finally, they got to program a small robot to run through a maze. They did all of the programming separately on a computer. The maze was laid out on the floor in another room, so they had to walk back and forth between runs. It was a matter of repeated trial and error. Each time they would get the robot to go a little farther and make the turns a little better. Mechanical engineering students were on hand to offer encouragement and suggestions on how to tweak the program. “Maybe you should try this…”

Even we chaperones were offered a challenge. We were given a pile of

Civil engineering students helped the girls learn about building bridges.

Sarah and Aalyiah building a bridge while a GEMS volunteer helps out.

parts and had to make a working robot. We had a battery, two motors, two wheels, a controller and a bunch of wires. With some encouragement, we found that we could follow directions and use the tools we were given. With patience and perseverance we managed to hook everything together. It was very satisfying to drive our little robot around in circles on the floor. Yipppeee!

GEMS was a good opportunity for our eighth graders to see what kinds of career choices were available to them. It was also a good opportunity to start talking about high school curriculum choices. The kinds of classes that they choose to take in high school can affect the college paths open to them. Most of our girls aren’t thinking quite that far into the future.

St. Joseph’s Indian School is a place of possibilities, where we try to expose our students to many options for their futures. Thanks to the staff and volunteers at GEMS for giving our girls such a great learning opportunity and for acting as positive role models. Girls Rock! Thank you also to all our generous benefactors who make trips like these possible. We couldn’t have learning experiences like this without you.



Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Students are receiving honors for academics and attendance during assemblies this week.

Fr. Anthony presents Aurelia with her award.

March is living up to its reputation of going back and forth between lion and lamb weather.  The initial plan for our Palm Sunday liturgy was to start with the blessing of the palms outside, but the 30-40 mph winds took care of that idea.  Students and staff received their palms and exited the chapel which then had palm fronds placed on the carpet to parallel what the people of Jerusalem did when Jesus entered the city.  The students held their palms high as the altar servers and I entered to start the Mass.

The return of the sun has brought a lot of fishermen to the Chamberlain area.  When the ice melted on the Missouri River, it seemed that fishermen appeared overnight.  The local marina is filled with license plates are from all over. We hope their presence is a sign that winter is over. We’re grateful for warmer weather, although we are badly in need of moisture.

Last week, we held the annual Service Awards Banquet to honor staff who have been with St. Joseph’s in five year increments.  We had 31 staff honored for a combined 530 years of service.  The longest serving member has been with us for 40 years! The most recent was a class of five who have been here for 5 years.  We are grateful for their devotion and dedication to St. Joseph’s Indian School, and our Lakota students and families.

Nancy’s third graders are tied with Katie’s second graders for best GPA.

Nancy’s third grade class.

Over the last few days we have been honoring students who made academic honor roll and had perfect attendance with assemblies by age group – grades 1-3, grades 4-6 and grades 7-8.  We are always happy to be able to reward students for their hard work. The class with the best grade point average wins a little plaque they can put up in their room and are treated to a pizza party.  For third quarter, Katie’s second grade classes tied with Nancy’s third grade class with a score of 3.6475. Now, THAT’S a tie!

Our principal, Kathleen, took our Acalympics Team to White River, South Dakota, for another academic contest.  There were ten schools represented and St. Joseph’s came in sixth with our highest score ever!  The team enjoys the competition and realizes the

Katie’s second graders have a collective GPA of 3.6475.

Katie’s second grade class.

necessity to be widely aware of what is happening in our world today.

On Saturday, Kathleen hit the road again. She accompanied several eighth grade girls to South Dakota State University in Brookings to take part in the GEMS program (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science).  The program introduces girls to careers in math and science and encourages them to consider these majors in college.

The best news I can share with you this week is that we are increasing our high school home capacity, so will be able to offer some new aspects of getting ready for college.  Pilamaya thank you – for your generous support of our students!

May your Holy Week be filled with many blessings. The Lakota (Sioux) children wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Easter!!!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Holy Week began yesterday morning here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. Outside, the South Dakota wind gusted across the prairie at 20-30 miles per hour. The cool

Mike, St. Joseph's President

Mike, St. Joseph’s President

nature of the wind and the sound of its force against the walls and windows of the chapel provided the setting for our morning. The Spirit was moving!


As students, staff and a few visitors gathered in the Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel, our Palm Sunday Service began with Fr. Anthony blessing the palms. Deacon Bud proclaimed the Gospel of our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. The assembly dispersed to the hallways on either side of the chapel to re-enact the procession along the road that Jesus traveled.


Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel ready for Palm Sunday.

Palm Sunday in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel at St. Joseph’s Indian School.

Banner carriers holding the colors of the Four Directions led the assembly back into the chapel accompanied by our student drum group singing and playing a traditional song. Everyone found their places and held their palms high as our dancers processed forth in traditional regalia down the center aisle. They were followed by the Eagle Staff Bearer, altar servers, Fr. Anthony and Deacon Bud. It was quite the multi-cultural celebration of our traditional Palm Sunday.


The morning’s Lakota liturgy also included the Lord’s Prayer said in Lakota and Amazing Grace sung by our student choir in both Lakota and English. Mass ended with our weekly Happy Birthday announcements and acknowledgement sung in Lakota, “Nita anpetu waste.”


I describe this celebration because I was awed by how our Catholic traditions and elements of the Lakota (Sioux) culture blended at this Palm Sunday Mass.


Not only was it great to see our students involved in dancing, playing the drums, speaking the language and singing, but also the colors, the movement and the language enhanced the meaning of the liturgy.


As we entered into the holiest of weeks in our Church year, one that begins with triumph and endures through crucifixion to Easter glory, the blending of our culture and our common history and humanity spoke powerfully of the mystery we celebrate.

The Eagle Staff leads the procession into Mass at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.

Catholic and Lakota traditions meet with the Eagle Staff leading the procession into Mass.


At St. Joseph’s, we provide our students with a holistic array of services, thanks to the generosity of friends like you. Through the support of many, their hands and feet in solidarity with our mission, we are able to carry this important ministry, helping children and families.


Yesterday’s Palm Sunday Service was one of many ways we look to preserve the Lakota culture for our students.


Pilamayathank you – for providing these opportunities!


Mike, St. Joseph’s President

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School,

It’s been another crazy week of spring weather in South Dakota! We had one day that broke an all-time record and hit 85 degrees last week, yet we are still having frosty cold mornings.  We are in desperate need of rain since the Chamberlain area is already in the early stages of drought. Today is cold and windy.

The Feast of St. Joseph, March 19, was the first day of the fourth quarter of the school year for the Lakota children. We had a nice prayer service geared toward

honoring St. Joseph in his role as guardian of Mary and Jesus.  March 19 also concluded our monthly Novena of Masses (the 11th through the 19th) for you, our benefactors.  The students keep you in prayer regularly and we include your intentions in our prayer requests at Sunday Mass.

Fr. Anthony sampled the monkey bread the sixth graders were baking in class.

Passing by the Personal Living Skills class, I was invited to sample the monkey bread the sixth grade students were baking. It was delicious!

When the prayer service was over, I jumped into my car and made a bee line east to St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to take part in the Chrism Mass for the diocese.  The oils used in the Sacraments for the up-coming year are blessed by the Bishop and then distributed to all the parishes and schools throughout the East River Diocese.  I brought the oils back and gave them to the religious education teachers who are preparing students to receive the Sacraments.

Last Friday as I was leaving the art room after visiting the second graders, I passed the Personal Living Skills classroom. It must have been my lucky day because I was invited to sample the monkey bread the sixth grade students were baking.  They did a great job – it tasted delicious!

We are in the planning stages for ‘SCJ Schools in Collaboration’ and there was a conference call yesterday. Schools in Collaboration unites the elementary schools ministered to by our Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJ) community in Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Mississippi. Our sister school in Germany was also part of the phone call.

Each year, one of our activities for Schools in Collaboration is a ‘battle of the books.’ Classes from each school read a number of the same books. Then the schools pair up to have a trivia contest based on what they read.  We are working toward having a joint prayer service in the next several weeks.

With Easter just around the corner, several of our students will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession this week.  If a student is not Catholic, they can still come in and talk over anything that may be troubling them.  It will also be the opportunity for those receiving Sacraments on April 12, 2015 to make their first confession.  Please keep these young people in your prayers.

I pray your season of Lent is proving to be a rewarding time for you spiritually as we strive to become more and more Christ-like.  Be assured of our continued prayers for you and your intentions.

Have a great week!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Greetings from a quiet St. Joseph’s Indian School campus!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

It is just not the same on campus this week without the Lakota boys and girls; it is Spring Break for the elementary students (grades 1-8) and staff.

They will return Monday, March 16, but in the mean time we have about 10-12 students who are staying in our break home and our high school students who attend Chamberlain High School (they have a slightly different break schedule). Students in the break home will be going to visit some of the local sights and enjoy a fun and relaxing week.

You may recall the old saying ‘March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb’ or the opposite, in like a lamb and out like a lion. Well, in South Dakota, we had that all happen within five days! Last week we had a blizzard with snow, cold and strong winds. Just a few days later, the sun came out, the temperatures were up and the snow was melting.  Today the weather is mild, with cool mornings and warmer days. We are hoping the break in the winter weather lasts!

Last week, St. Joseph’s students celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday. It was pajama day at school and the children spent time reading to one another.

Our seventh and eighth graders also took part in Camp Med last week, which is a hands-on health career learning opportunity.  The students learned about the job duties, educational requirements, rewards and challenges they might encounter in a variety of health careers. They experienced everything from reading x-rays and filling prescriptions to stabilizing a trauma patient and rehabilitating a stroke patient.

And Friday at 2 p.m., school was out!

Staff who have helped at the rec center enjoyed an outing to a basketball game.

St. Joseph’s Rec Director hosted an outing to a basketball game to thank everyone who helped out at the rec center first semester.

That evening, several staff members headed to South Dakota’s largest city, Sioux Falls, to take in a basketball game. As a way of saying thank you to everyone who has helped in the rec center during the first semester, Bryan, our Rec Director, hosted an outing to a D (Developmental) League game between Grand Rapids,

Michigan and the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Grand Rapids is a developmental team for the Detroit Pistons and Sioux Falls is a similar team for the Miami Heat. The arena is brand new and very fan friendly.  The game was exciting – players were shooting up threes from all over the court.  Offense was king and defense showed up occasionally. Everyone had a great time and a few even went home with a t-shirt and other goodies tossed into the stands.

I hope you have a wonderful week. Pilamaya thank you – for your support, encouragement and prayers!  We’ll be starting our Novena of Masses for you and your special intentions on Wednesday, March 11 and conclude on the Feast of St. Joseph, March 19.


Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


St. Joseph’s students celebrated Dr. Seuss’ birthday in school.

Happy birthday Dr. Suess!!

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School,

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

We’ve had a relatively mild winter in central South Dakota (we consider any day with sunshine and above zero temperatures “mild”), but that seems to be coming to an end.  The weather started terribly this morning with snow and very strong winds. St. Joseph’s even had a late start for the Lakota children!

Tomorrow’s weather is predicted to be extremely cold – it should be an interesting few days. But, I have also been told we will get a break at the end of the week with temps possibly up in the 40’s by the weekend. We’ll see what happens. I guess it is true that if you do not like the weather, wait a few moments and it will change!

This past Tuesday, we held the Staff Appreciation Breakfast, which is a way for the Priests of the Sacred Heart (SCJs) to say thank you to all the men and women who serve our missions so faithfully in a wide variety of ways.  It also allows the Lakota (Sioux) students to interact with those who work behind the scenes as well as staff members they encounter every day.  We had some trivia about Fr. Leo John Dehon, the founder of our SCJ community, and drew for door prizes.

Spring is right around the corner, which means some of our “winter” activities and programs are coming to an end.  Last Friday was the end of the bowling season.  Congratulations to the Rolling Thunder team and their captain Dave, one of our teachers, who captured First Place.

On our last day of bowling, the various teams were mixed together and we bowled 9 pin tap, which means the lanes were set so if you knocked down 9 pins it counted as a strike.  One of our high school girls, Irene, went crazy rolling scores of 245 and 251.  She even beat the bowling master, Andy, from the rec center who coordinated the league this year.  The students all did well and had fun.

The girls’ inter-city basketball season wrapped up on Sunday. There was a lot of improvement from when the season started. We hope friendships have been made that will continue through the years as these young ladies cross paths on the court or as they attend high school together in Chamberlain.

The Chamberlain High School girls’ basketball team is finished for the season as they lost their second round game in the state play-offs.  The boys’ team is the number 2 seed for their district and will not play until later this week when they’ll host one of the lower seeds.  If they win, they’ll play for the region championship and go on to the state tournament.  They ended their season against Stanley County from Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, this past Friday night and two of our St. Joseph’s players started — Adrian and Davis.

For Davis, it was a reward for how well he has played coming off the bench.  He showed his gratitude by having a double-double, in that he scored 11 points and had 10 rebounds to go along with several steals and assists. Great game, Davis!

Our St. Joseph’s boys’ basketball teams have also completed their season.  We hosted the sixth, seventh and eighth grade teams from Todd County this past Thursday.  The sixth grade won easily, but the seventh and eighth graders came up a bit short due to the Todd County press.  They made a run and got close but just could not get into the lead.  The seventh and eighth graders will finish their season today with a trip to Miller, South Dakota.

Be assured of our prayers for you; pilamaya thank you – for your continued support and interest in the Lakota children!

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ



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