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November 01, 2023

St. Anthony Indian Mission

In this our 101st year of school we are trying to recover normalcy of routine after the pandemic, but with new challenges as long term members of staff have finally retired. For example, how we miss the presence of Priscilla in the office, who because of health reasons had to retire after 55 years of keeping us financially on track. How can we ever replace the irreplaceable? Notwithstanding it is all hands to the administrative wheel while the academic life of the school joyfully continues unabated.

School was interrupted (just a little) as the excitement of the Zuni Fair took hold of the students (and all of us). This was the first time in several years that the event could take place. We did miss the presence of the fun fair with its music and lights (Several parents whispered to me that the absence of the fun fair saved them a lot of money!)

Decorated floats, traditional dancers, music and flag bearers all added to the fun. Handfuls of candy were tossed to the crowds as the young and not so young scrambled to catch the “sweeties”. Even Fr Pat managed to get a few and of course shared them with the little ones who were not too quick at the uptake!

Although I ( Fr Pat) had no earthly reason to be so, I felt a great sense of pride as I watched the parade which was led by five military flag bearers. Three of whom were veterans and graduates from St. Anthony’s. They marched with precision and great dignity. My ‘wee brain’ was captivated as I watched the floats filled with people pass by. In almost every float, I could spot graduates from our school. At the center of the display from Zuni cyber academy was one of the centenary class graduates of 2023. He tossed such an exceptionally large bundle of candy straight at me that I had to duck!

I was left with an overwhelming feeling that everything we do here at the school is so worthwhile as we witness your ‘Kids’ take a prominent part within the community, build their own lives and contribute to those around them.

An extra joy is that the school bus service is in full swing running to a good time schedule. It really does contribute to the good running of the school. The driver tells me that the morning run is easy. The passengers come on board and fall asleep. The evening run is much more, shall we say, ‘lively’! Kids will be kids after all. The laughter as they board the bus in the evening tells its own tale of an enjoyable day at school.

Another return to ‘normality’ which causes a stir among the students is cross country racing. I watched in awe as the students exercised and ran round the school campus during training. (The students seem to love responding to Mr. Matt’s military style commands). The Zuni courses are over very rough ground but thankfully, there have been no mishaps in the races, the students put heart and soul into both training and competition.

Routine or otherwise each day brings its own excitement and laughter amid the sense of wonder at the growth of young lives. The Zuni fair gave as a glimpse into how much has been achieved and how much more we could do.