“The phrase welcome back is used to express happiness that someone has returned after leaving for a period of time. The ironic thing is that this year the overwhelming majority did not actually 'leave'.”

At the front of the school we hung a big sign that says “welcome back” for the start of the new school year. I do not think a school has ever been happier to unroll and hang a sign like that than Dalat was this year. To put up that sign meant that we would be able to do just that, welcome our families back to campus. Something that every year before was taken for granted and a simple forgone conclusion, this year was not. We did not really know for sure if we would be able to put up that sign until just a few weeks ago, so to see it up there Wednesday morning brought a smile to our faces.

The phrase “welcome back” is used to express happiness that someone has returned after leaving for a period of time. The ironic thing is that this year the overwhelming majority did not actually “leave”. The pandemic has made the phrase itself both incorrect and profound. Because of the pandemic we may not have left Penang, or Malaysia for that matter, yet at the same time the pandemic prevented us from gathering as a community for many months.

The interesting thing is that the most common and natural response to the phrase “welcome back” is “thank you”. However, for us this year I think we are saying both phrases to you. We are excited to see you back on campus and also grateful and thankful you are here. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for your loyalty. Thank you for trusting us. Thank you for being a part of the Dalat community.

So as we begin this new and very unique year, whether as a returning family or one who has just joined us, this year it is truly with gratitude and joy that we say to you “welcome back.”

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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