Over my lifetime, I have actually said “goodbye” to Dalat several times. Each time I thought it was “goodbye forever” – yet it wasn’t. I came back to be a part of this community again. Dalat International School has played a meaningful role in my family since the 1970’s. My parents were missionaries stationed in Vietnam when my older sister and brother began attending our school when it was located in the highlands of Da Lat, Vietnam. Many years younger, I was eager to join them when I started first grade. However by then, the school had evacuated Vietnam due to the Vietnam War, and it relocated briefly to Bangkok, Thailand, and then Cameron Highlands before settling on our current property here in Penang. I attended Dalat as a first grader and then later as a senior in high school. While getting my teaching degree, I came back twice to work at the school. My wife and I came together in 1993 for a few years and returned in 2001 with three kids who were ages 5, 3, and 5 months.
Penang has been our home and the Dalat community has been our family throughout the entirety of our children’s developmental years. The sense of community is strong and vibrant, and despite the dynamic aspects of a growing school, it has been a stable anchor for our family. It’s the people who make this place beautiful – the staff, the students, and the parents. We are blessed beyond measure to have voyaged with this school through many exciting changes. It has been a joy to be a part of your lives, pursuing “Education for Life” and impacting the next generation.
It is a bittersweet time as we prepare to leave this home to return to our “home” country — one that feels surprisingly foreign. However, after nearly 30 years abroad, we are excited to be near our parents, other family, and our adult children. New Life Academy in Woodbury, Minnesota has invited me to serve as their head of school. My wife, Jacki, will continue working with students as an online coach and counselor. Our hope is to stay connected and be a part of the Dalat community from afar. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Thank you for the grace and love you have extended to me over these many years. Dalat will always be a part of my DNA. If you ever end up in the chilly tundra of Minnesota, look us up! We’d be happy to defrost over a cup of kopi.
And with that said it is time for me to sign off and say goodbye…for now.
Written by Karl Steinkamp
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