High school drop-out rates on South Dakota Indian reservations hover around 50%. For many Native American young people, this means graduation from any level of school is more than a milestone … it is a far-away dream.
Native American students graduate
Thanks to friends across the country, American Indian children in need find stability, education and hope at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
Pilamaya - thank you!
2013 Class Motto:
We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go,
we will take a little of each other everywhere we go.
St. Joseph's Indian School 2013 Eighth Grade Graduates:
Thomas, Justin, Elliot, Daryl, Josh
Brianna, Vilencia, Daisy, Fr. Steve, Deavontay, Cassidy, Melivina,
Trenton, Ashley, Danielle, Kezrai, Selena, Ellie, Janis
Hey, my name is Trinity. I’ve been at St. Joseph’s for a total of five years. Out of those five years, four years were spent roaming the halls of Chamberlain High School.
Trinity, Class of 2013
I was a cheerleader for the boys’ basketball team; I was also in the Native American Club and Key Club. I met TONS of new people - people I will never forget and who made me the person I am today.
Senior year went by super fast and I have to admit, I really enjoyed being at St. Joseph’s. I wouldn’t change it for the world. If it wasn’t for my mom and St. Joseph’s, I don’t know where I would be. Honestly? St. Joseph’s has helped me out a lot all these years. I can’t thank them enough! I don’t know what I’m going to do without them next year … or what they’re going to do without me!
By this time next year, I’m hoping to be all settled and in the Army. But, no matter where I’ll be, I know St. Joseph’s will be there too. I’d like to thank everyone at St. Joseph’s for all they did and everyone at Chamberlain High School. I’d like to thank my mom for putting up with me through everything and I’d also like to thank my Grandpa Ben. Even though he’s not here to see me graduate, I know he’ll always be with me.
A word of advice to you younger students: DON’T FALL BEHIND!
After high school, Trinity plans to join the Army.
Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping Trinity build a hope-filled future!
My name is Elijah and I have been at St. Joseph’s Indian School since seventh grade. I was involved in basketball, cross-country and soccer. I also helped in theater, designing sets.
Elijah, Class of 2013
My favorite memory is going to the South Dakota State Fair every year with my houseparents and the other guys in my home.
Something St. Joseph’s has helped me learn is to respect people. My plan for the future is to attend college and get a master’s degree in Athletic Training. Then, hopefully get a job with a professional basketball team to help the players improve their game.
I would like to thank all the people who have helped me out a lot you know who you are.
My advice to younger students is to study hard, work hard, and pay attention in school because it will help you succeed in life. Also, the same thing applies to your sports. When challenges come up, take them and achieve them.
Next year, Elijah will attend the University of Kansas to pursue his degree in Athletic Training.
Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping Elijah build a hope-filled future!
Hey, I’m Erika. I have attended St. Joseph’s Indian School on and off since I was a first grader. I have been involved in various and diverse activities my last four years of high school: golf, Native American Club, Our Lady of the Sioux Church Choir, Improv, plays, high school choir, Chamberlain Talent Show, St. Joseph's Big Sister Program, FCCLA, IHR and many other extra-curricular activities.
Erika, Class of 2013
At St. Joseph’s I have no particular favorite memory because every single second I was with whom I would consider my family, I would make it a memory! This includes everything from running into a light pole during a game of 21 with Chris, all the way to throwing a temper tantrum coming back from a college trip with Pam and Steve.
My words of advice are to have no fears and be involved as much as you possibly can. As a senior in high school, you look back and think of everything you could have been involved in. It is better to have a life of 'oh wells' than a life of 'what ifs.’
I was pretty much raised by my extended family at St. Joseph’s and the most important thing I have learned is that no matter what you do or where you go, you are never alone and there will always be a helping hand. So, I know when I leave St. Joseph’s to further my education I will always have a helping hand from St. Joseph’s staff, friends, family and all the donors who will continue to donate to St. Joseph’s out of the generosity of their hearts.
Two people I would really like to thank are some of my houseparents Chris and Diana because they are like a mother and father to me. Every day in the Pinger Home, I loved waking up and getting to see these two. They made my junior high years a world of fun and really had a big impact in my life. Not a day would go by that these two wouldn't put a smile on my face. They honestly have a knack for their jobs because when you’re sad, upset and feel like your world is crumbling down all around you they both manage to find a way to make you laugh and smile. Thank you guys. I love you both!
Next year, Erika will attend art school in Minnesota to study fashion.
Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping Erika build a hope-filled future!
My name is Christopher and I am part of the graduating class of 2013. I have been at St. Joseph’s since second grade (except for my eighth grade year). At St. Joseph’s I was involved with dancing at powwows, running cross country and track, basketball, softball, tee-ball, Student Leadership Counsel and dressing up for every single dress-up day.
Chris, Class of 2013
I was also on the Substance Abuse Prevention Committee.
While at Chamberlain High School, I was involved with fall plays, one- act plays, Drama Club, Key Club, Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), Native American Club, Improv and choir. I was also the Chamberlain school mascot and traveled to Washington D.C. with Close-up.
One of my favorite memories is from sixth grade when one of our houseparents scared us. It was hilarious! I also appreciated all of my home trips and the experiences that I had at St. Joseph’s Indian School.
St. Joseph’s has taught me many valuable lessons like cooking in Personal Living Skills Class, learning to be responsible and being independent. Those are just some of the many lessons that I will take with me when I go to college. I would like to thank everyone at St. Joseph’s.
The advice I have for younger students is:
Everything you do is important! Get involved, stay involved and be you. Keep school work first, but most of all have FUN!
Next year, Christopher will attend the University of South Dakota. Though he has not decided on a major, he hopes to pursue music and theatre productions and is also looking into a degree in technology. He will spend the summer at the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse.
Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping Christopher build a hope-filled future!
My name is LaToya and I have been at St. Joseph’s for five and a half years. I came to school here the second semester of seventh grade. In eighth grade, I was involved in Cross Country and in high school I was involved in gymnastics, Native American Club and the school Recycling Program.
LaToya, Class of 2013
My favorite memory is when I was able to visit Germany through the Exchange Program.
I would like to thank the houseparents that I had at St. Joseph’s for helping me with my homework and anything else I needed. The main thing that St. Joseph’s has taught me is how to get along with people.
My advice to the younger students is to keep your head high and never give up on something, whether it is little or big, because life is too short to stop and give up on something that can make a difference in your life.
Next year, LaToya will attend Presentation College in Aberdeen, South Dakota to major in Nursing.
Wopila tanka - many thanks - for helping LaToya build a hope-filled future!