Our final Year 12 boarding students will depart School & Allen Boarding House today. While each and every boarding student who leaves for the final time evokes emotions from peers and staff who have lived and grown close to each other over an extend period of time, Darryl Chu is most certainly a special case.
Darryl entered the Boarding House in 2019 as a Year 10 student from Malaysia. As a shy young man in a new country attending a new school, Darryl quickly established himself as a real character with a great sense of humour, inquisitive nature and approachable disposition; Darryl was enthusiastic about making his mark during his time at St Peter’s College.
Year 10 for Darryl was relatively normal for an international boarding student; he was able to look forward to travelling home to be with family on holidays, he had his parents come and visit and ultimately knew that it would only be a maximum 11-week period between seeing family and home.
All of this changed for Darryl and his international boarding peers in 2020 when COVID-19 shut borders and forced many of our international families to make the heart wrenching decision; should they wait this out or have their sons return home? As Darryl put it when he addressed the School at Muster earlier in the year:
“If I was to return home to see my family, I would not be allowed back in Australia or back to Saints as the borders remain shut to international students… mum and dad were forced to make a decision of either me staying in Adelaide during lockdown and hope for the best or fly back home to be with my family. We decided to stay in Adelaide, well aware that I might be stuck in Australia until the end of 2020. The decision was tough.”
Little did Darryl or his parents, Darence and Corrine know that the pandemic would continue to impact the world throughout 2021. Darryl was one of 12 international students who lived in the boarding house throughout 2020 including weekends and holidays, an undoubtedly challenging time away from family. Ever the optimist, Darryl saw the positive side in the relationships he formed and connection he established with the School and boarding during this period:
“Living in a community where having the acceptance and understanding of one another’s diversity has allowed us to build a unique and strong bond, which will last a lifetime. Thus, the strong bond and relationship that we have among others are undoubtedly the greatest and best strength School & Allen has…
I am proud of the strong sense of community and kindness towards one another that School & Allen nurtures.”
2021 has been a reflection of our kind, generous and empathetic community at St Peter’s College. While Darryl has not been able to be with his family in Malaysia, he has been ‘adopted’ and supported by many members of the St Peter’s Community. On every holiday break and on many weekends this year, Darryl has been hosted by many families who have been able to show him some amazing parts of South Australia and made many wonderful memories. It has been the support of families to host our international boarding students over the past two years that has been the difference in these students not long succeeding in completing their studies at St Peter’s College, but also having the life-changing experience we have all come to expect from a Saints education. As Darryl’s mother Corrine stated earlier in the year:
“We thank you and the whole school again for supporting and guiding Darryl throughout this difficult time and all these years. I have the confidence to say that the School is making him to be a great man.”
Today marks a very special occasion for Darryl and his family. Darryl is currently on a flight returning to be with his parents for the first time in over 660 days. We wish Darryl all the best as an old scholar; we thank him for making our community stronger and he can rest easy knowing that he has well and truly left his mark.
Director of Boarding