Spiritual Connections Made Across St. Joseph's Indian School Campus
By: Danielle Kucera, St. Joseph’s Indian School
(Chamberlain, S.D.) –From March 15 to 19, St. Joseph’s Indian School students and staff found creative ways to celebrate the annual Feast Day of St. Joseph, the Father of Jesus. To honor the school’s patron, students worked on a beautiful stained glass portrait of St. Joseph designed by Graphics/Preflight Specialist at Tipi Press, Ann Lens. This picture is an expression of both the Lakota culture and Catholic identity. March 19 is a special day for St. Joseph’s Indian School to celebrate the school's patron but even more so this liturgical year as Pope Francis declared it the year of Saint Joseph. Students will continue to learn about St. Joseph and the important role he had as father of Jesus through this painting and other lessons.
On March 17, the hallways filled with excitement and student remarks of, “Hey, that looks like my brother. Wait that is my brother.” “Do you know the person in that poster? That’s my auntie.” The students recognized their relatives in college and military posters. With school spirit of all colors and collegiate backdrops everywhere, students and staff participated in an annual “St. Joe’s College, Military and Career Day.” Special guests offering advice and encouragement through video conference included retired football linebacker Ben Leber, who played for over ten years in the National Football League. Two recent alumnae of St. Joseph’s Indian School and current college students, Lily Castrellon and Jeremy Herron, also shared their school spirit from their current schools through video conference.
Transition specialist Krista Lepkowski enjoys watching the students walk the halls and get excited about what they can pursue after graduation. “The opportunities and paths to pursue beyond high school are endless, and the learning experience involves many people—staff, peers, people within the community, and of course family! I have heard students mention that they’re interested in a path because of a parent, aunt or uncle that is in that particular career field,” said Lepkowski.
On March 18, students from Mount Marty University paid a visit to campus in hopes of seeing how St. Joseph’s Indian School educates Native American students through mind, body, heart, and spirit while intertwining the importance of culture and religion. The group spent the entire day touring all parts of campus and ended the day with a group service project.
More Than 220 Native American students in first through twelfth grade find hope and opportunity through our educational, counseling, and residential programs. Strengthened by spirituality and culture, St. Joseph’s Indian School transforms lives—mind, body, heart and spirit—every day. Visit us at www.sjiskids.org and www.stjo.org.