A Visit to the State Capital!

March 26, 2019

official photo with governor 2019


In spite of blizzards and flooding this past month, 48 adult English language learners from the Center for New Americans along with three English instructors and a volunteer, were able to visit the state capital on Tuesday, March 12.

Leaving Sioux Falls in the early morning hours, students representing 20 different countries headed towards Pierre, South Dakota. On the way they stopped and visited Dignity: Of Earth and Sky, at the Chamberlain wayside stop. This was just the beginning of a very eventful and fulfilling day.Full shot of Lady Dignity and our group 2019
The group arrived in time to see the House and Senate in session. Students and teachers alike felt teary-eyed as Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden introduced them to the Senate.

2019 fun photo in Governors Office
Later Governor Kristi Noem met with students at the capital rotunda, where she spent a brief time speaking and answering questions and then posed for a photo. Additionally Representative Michael Saba greeted the students in the governor’s office.

Pierre Lunch Group Photo 2019
Senator Reynold Nesiba, Laura Trapp of the Department of Labor, and Director Kendra Ringstmeyer were able to meet the students for a lovely lunch.

The group also spent time touring the capital building, visiting the Korean and Vietnam Memorial, and learning about South Dakota history at the Cultural Heritage Center. At the end of their busy day, they managed to make it home before the next snowstorm! Way to go!
Thank you to the South Dakota Department of Labor, Adult Education and Literacy, and Lutheran Social Services for sponsoring the event.


Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

51 Students Visit Pierre

March 22, 2018
students enjoy the sunshine on the capitol steps

Students Enjoy the Sunshine on the Capital Steps

Wednesday, February 28, was a busy day for many Sioux Falls refugees and immigrants. Waking up early in the morning and boarding a bus, 51 adult English language learners, 3 teachers, and 1 volunteer spent the day traveling to Pierre, SD, to see the state capital, watch the House session, meet the governor, talk with government officials, visit the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial, and tour the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center. It was a fun day for everyone!

Representing 15 countries, the students met with Senator Reynold Nesiba, Laura Trapp of the Department of Labor, and Policy Advisor Matt Konenkamp. They also were able to have a photo with Governor Daugaard in the capital rotunda, and Representative Tom Holmes gave a warm welcome to the students in the House.


Students Rest and Have Lunch

After returning to Sioux Falls, McKervans, a young man from Haiti said, “I had fun, so I want to go next year again. It is important to know other things like the museum and capital in Pierre. I’m so glad because I was able to know the capital for my first time.”

half of the students with Matt Konenkamp

Students with Matt Konenkamp in the Governor’s Office

half of the students with Matt Konenkamp #2

LSS CNA Studnets with Governor Daugaard 2018

Students and Teachers pose with Gov. Daugaard

Thank you to the South Dakota Department of Labor and Adult Education and Literacy for sponsoring the event.


Heather and Laura with a few students

Everyone Enjoyed an Eventful Day

91 New Americans Visit Their New Capital

June 5, 2013

Pierre bus Pierre bus 2

Pierre chatPierre ducks Pierre group pic Pierre Iman Pierre meeting Pierre monument Pierre Namaste Pierre walk Pierre wave

On March 5, 2013, 91 refugee and immigrants representing 15 different countries took a field trip with LSS President and CEO Betty Oldenkamp, their English teachers, and other LSS staff to Pierre, the capital of South Dakota.

“This is a big day for me!” said a man from Iraq, who came to South Dakota after fleeing persecution. Many refugees had no right to speak with government officials in their country of birth—in fact, government officials were oftentimes the people hunting and persecuting them.

But here in South Dakota, the new Americans found themselves welcomed—in fact, at one point when Lieutenant Governor Michels introduced them to State Senate and House chambers, they received a standing ovation!

The group, which represents an annual student body of 1,000 refugees and immigrants from 35 different countries, spent time learning about South Dakota history, U.S. citizenship, and civic engagement. They met South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, representatives from the SD Department of Labor and Regulation, and members of the State Senate and House of Representatives.

Thanks to the Department of Labor and Regulation and Lutheran Social Services for sponsoring the event.

You can help welcome new Americans by making a financial gift to LSS today.

[Post by Laura S-H and Amy S.Z.]

[Photos by volunteer photographer Barbara Addengast]

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