Two Employees Receive National Awards
A listening heart, respect, community outreach and involvement, volunteerism, engagement, innovation, leadership – these are the attributes shared by two longtime St. Joseph’s Indian School employees that made them standouts to receive national awards at the Council on Residential Excellence Banquet in Little Rock, Ark., Wednesday evening, October 16, 2019.
Brock Sundall of Chamberlain, S.D., received the Catherine Hershey Award “Educator of the Year,” and Odis Cosgrove, also of Chamberlain, S.D., was honored as Catherine Hershey “Houseparent of the Year.” The two have been with St. Joseph’s Indian School 18 and 19 years respectively.
Brock’s nomination cited the 5th grade teacher’s mastery as an educator who engages students and draws them into understanding because he makes content relevant to their life experiences. Whether using the idea of a motel and its multiple levels of rooms to teach volume or explaining averages with basketball scores, Brock has the students’ attention, and they learn. He organizes and hosts STARBASE, leads field trips and is instrumental in a regional knowledge bowl.
Odis was recognized for his ability to connect with a traumatized student, his strong and positive relationships with students’ families and his participation in the school’s summer outreach Bookmobile that travels to communities throughout the state. The students’ culture is a priority to Odis, who on his personal time completes research on Native American culture and sacred sites in order to supplement the education on the topics provided by the school. He goes the extra measure to take students on field trips to these sites to build pride in the students’ understanding of their ancestry and identity.