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Native American youth graduate high school

Shaylene, Andrea and Dominic have graduated as part of the Chamberlain High School Class of 2011.

Each attended St. Joseph’s for some or all of their elementary education. Now, as college-bound high school graduates, they share some thoughts with staff, students and benefactors.

Shaylene -
Shaylene and her family presented Robyn, Shaylene’s counselor, with a star quilt.
Shaylene and her family presented Robyn, Shaylene’s counselor, with a star quilt.
I have been attending St. Joseph’s since I was in first grade!

I remember being a little kid in my first year and every day I would ask when the bus was coming to take us home. It was hard but I’m glad I stuck it out. St. Joseph’s has been a huge part of my life, since I have been here for 12 out of 18 years.

I have made many friends and a lot of great memories. I loved going to bonfires and when we would stay during the summer, we always got to go swimming in the river. I am really going to miss the girls in my home they were my family. When you live together all the time, you become like sisters. It’s going to be really hard leaving these girls behind … but they can always come visit me!

St. Joe’s has given me a lot of great opportunities. I’ve been able to see more of this great country, experience different lifestyles and see how different the U.S. is. I really enjoyed meeting new people as I entered high school and will treasure all the friendships from fellow classmates. I had the opportunity to meet great people in my life who have had an impact on me. Their understanding and caring spirit mean so much.

For younger students: If there is one thing you should take advantage of at St. Joe’s it would be all the opportunities they give you because when you’re done, you won’t get to experience them like this. You can really benefit from being here, if you choose to!

My advice for all the students at St. Joe’s would be this: “Be who you want to be, make mistakes, but learn from them. Make as many new friends as you can and get involved in your high school. And, always take advantage of all the opportunities that are given to you!”

Next year, I will be attending Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska to major in Business law. I’m extremely nervous but being here has helped prepare me for what’s next. So I guess it’s time to start a whole new chapter in the book of life.

I would like to thank every one of you, especially Pam, Maija, Robyn, Chris & Diana, Mr. & Mrs. Geppert, Mrs. West, Pazour, Mr. Krogstad, Schoney & Dot, Peggy, Judy, Scott, Sherry, and all of the people who have had the pleasure of being my houseparents over the years. I couldn’t have made it without the help of all these amazing people at St. Joes! I am going to miss all of you don’t forget to come visit me!

Andrea -
Andrea shares some parting thoughts with students, houseparents and other staff at the reception that followed the Graduation Liturgy.
Andrea shares some parting thoughts with students, houseparents and other staff at the reception that followed the Graduation Liturgy.
I have attended St. Joes since I was in third grade.

My experiences growing up on campus are unforgettable full of memories that I will cherish forever. I have truly been blessed to have St. Joseph’s as my second home because there are so many people here who want me to succeed; it is something that I know will be very difficult to find anywhere else. I plan to go to college, graduate, and find a job that I will love. St. Joe’s has helped me realize that I can do anything I put my mind to.

During my time here I have had many great accomplishments and opportunities. I had the honor of reigning as Jr. Miss St. Joseph’s when I was in fourth grade. Through St. Joseph’s I have traveled to Washington D.C., Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Germany, Massachusetts and Hawaii, as well as visiting several in-state college campuses. I had unforgettable experiences each place I went. St. Joseph’s helped me apply for several summer programs that helped me gain valuable skills and knowledge that will assist me as I meet new challenges.

I have received a great education while at St. Joseph’s. I have been on the honor roll every quarter. I was part of the LNI Knowledge Bowl Team that placed 4th one year and 2nd the next year.

I am a fancy shawl dancer, and I have danced at several St. Joseph’s powwows. I played basketball, volleyball, as well as throwing shot put and discus in track in middle school and high school.

While at CHS I have been Miss Chamberlain High School. I sang in one of the school plays as well as doing a dance in a school talent show with my sister and two other students. I was Vice President of the Native American Club and also a member of FCCLA. I had fun staying busy with school activities and loved hanging out and laughing with my friends.

After graduating from Chamberlain High School I will attend the University of Minnesota Morris. I would like to major in Native American studies and maybe become a teacher. I think it would be pretty cool to be a volleyball coach too. One can never be totally certain about what they will find themselves doing after high school but I know I will succeed in anything I choose.

There is much more to be said about how much St. Joseph’s has done for me. My house parents, my mentor, and counselors have had an exponential impact on my life and me as a person.

My advice to the students at St. Joseph’s would be to cherish the time you have here. You will not believe how much St. Joe’s does to help you until you have to leave it behind. Work hard always and remember my favorite quote by Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

Dominic -
Dominic has been with St. Joseph's for over five years!
Dominic has been with St. Joseph's for over five years!
I’ve been at St. Joe’s for a total of 5.5 years.

I’m extremely thankful for the support staff who’ve allowed me to travel to Connecticut for a donor luncheon I had a great time. Being at St. Joe’s, I’ve learned a lot about myself, life, and the world. I enjoyed all the time spent getting to know the houseparents, students, and staff.

I was first introduced to St. Joseph’s when I was in the 3rd grade. To be honest, I wasn’t exactly excited to be here. I could remember staying up late for like a week and watching out the window waiting to see my mama’s car.

Then I left and came back three times. I had moved to several different places and just simply didn’t know where I was going to be the next year. Then, at the end of my sophomore year, I came to St. Joseph’s with my cousin’s grandparents to pick her up. When we arrived on campus I didn’t really notice a change, just the way I felt about the place.

As we were taking Erin’s stuff to the car, I saw Maija who has been in my life since the third grade. She’s a real blessing! We got to talking, and she leaned over, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You should come back …”

So the whole way home I thought about it. That same evening I talked to my mom and she said it was up to me. I received an application in the mail and filled it out and sent it back the same day.

I was accepted into St. Joseph’s High School Program. When I came back I was a little nervous. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen and how (or if) I was going to fit in. I got over it eventually.

Being at St. Joe’s I was granted the opportunity to re-meet people and to meet others for the first time. Over these two years, I’ve created many friendships with my peers, houseparents, and faculty. We’ve created wonderful memories together and now this chapter is about to come to an end.

In the fall, I’m off to the University of Sioux Falls; a new place, new environment, and new people, but the relationships I’ve created here won’t be replaced or forgotten. I’d like to thank all of you for being in my life.

 

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