Family, friends and staff filled Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel on May 25 to show their support for St. Joseph’s eighth-grade graduates and help them celebrate this important milestone.
The graduates were blessed to have State Representative Jim Schaeffer and his wife attend the ceremony, as well as representatives from Senator Tim Johnson’s office and Representative Kristi Noem’s office. Marcel Felicia, a St. Joseph’s Indian School alumnus and former employee, offered the keynote address to graduates.
“Never forget that you are the author of your life,” Marcel told the graduates. “This is the end of one chapter. However, the next chapter begins immediately. You have the power to decide what the chapters will be, to avoid bad choices and accept good advice.”
Marcel attended St. Joseph’s Indian School from first through eighth grades, experiencing his own eighth grade graduation ceremony in 1975. He graduated from Chamberlain High School in 1979 before joining the military. He returned to St. Joseph’s Indian School and spent a year working in the dorms in 1982.
Marcel works at Indian Health Service on the Crow Creek Reservation and recently earned his master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Occupational and Environmental Health from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He makes his home in Chamberlain with his wife and four children.
After eighth grade, graduates can continue their education through St. Joseph’s High School program, which partners with Chamberlain Public High School. Students still live on St. Joseph’s campus with houseparents, but attend classes each day at the local high school in addition to numerous extra-curricular activities.