How Hope Will Triumph
Sapa Un Catholic Academy
In September of 2013 we established the Sapa Un Catholic Academy to provide bilingual and bicultural education for the students. The Academy will require strong family involvement and the staff will work not only with the children but with their parents as well. We are proud to call the Academy by the name Sapa Un (which is the Lakota word for Catholic, as well as Jesuit or “Black Robe”).
We have based the Academy on the highly successful Nativity educational model, founded by Jesuits in 1971 to serve at-risk youth in New York City. This model has worked so well that there are now 41 such academies providing formation for students who have the aptitude, family support, and personal character to do well in college and their chosen professions.
Nativity academies succeed because of many factors: the students selected want to learn, their parents and family members are committed, students and parents alike contribute services to the academy, the teachers are dedicated, the student to teacher ratio is favorable, and the academic day and year are extended. In our case, the intensive curriculum for Sapa Un includes religious education and requires families to be in their parishes. Upon graduation our students will not only be prepared for college but also disposed to return to the reservation after college to help others overcome the cycles of poverty, despair, abuse, and addiction.
Sapa Un Catholic Academy plays a major role in developing a large number of Lakota professionals to lead and serve the people of Rosebud Reservation. The people here will benefit greatly from having more Lakota professionals among them, including teachers, doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, administrators, entrepreneurs, lawyers, priests, sisters, and brothers.
We are turning with hope to our old friends and our new friends, as well as foundations and businesses, as we seek $10 million in funding to advance the work of the Mission. Please consider a generous pledge to the Triumph of Hope Campaign. Each religious or social program of the Mission is an essential part of our living the Gospel among the Lakota. We feel compelled to do what we can to prevent suicide, just as we feel compelled to minister the Sacraments.