Meet your 2024 International Student Captain, Reach Chay

Chanrithyreach “Reach” Chay only came to Blackfriars in mid-2023. In 2024, the Year 11 student will lead the school’s international student cohort.

“I am truly honoured and excited about the opportunity to be the International Student Captain for 2024,” Reach said.

When not in Adelaide, Reach calls the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh home. There, he lives with his parents and his younger brother, Chanvanrith, who will start in Year 7 at Blackfriars this year.

“I remember that I had a wave of max emotions wash over me,” Reach said of his start at Blackfriars.

“There was an excited bubble within me as I looked forward to friendly teachers, friends and staff.

“Throughout the day, I found myself reflecting on the growth and learning style that is unique and different from my country.

“The warmth and support from my teachers and friends reaffirmed (a sense) of belonging and made me realise how fortunate I was to be a part of such a welcoming and nurturing community.”

Reach, who is considering a career in nursing, said the student experience at Blackfriars was very different from what he was used to in Cambodia.

Chanrithyreach “Reach” Chay is Blackfriars’ International Student Captain.

“One of the most significant differences between attending a school in Cambodia and Blackfriars is the cultural background of the students and staff,” he said.

“Blackfriars … is a multicultural environment where students can learn about and appreciate different cultures and traditions.

“In contrast, schools in Cambodia may have a predominantly Cambodian student body and staff, with fewer opportunities to learn about and experience other cultures. This can limit the exposure students have to diverse perspectives and cultural understanding.”

He also appreciated the opportunities to be part of co-curricular activities at Blackfriars.

“As a Blackfriars student, one of the most rewarding aspects is the opportunities to engage in school activities enriching educational experience.

“Through various service-learning opportunities and extra-curricular activities, students are encouraged to give back to their community and develop essential skills for success in their future careers and personal lives.”

Principal David Ruggiero with International Student Captain Reach Chay.

Reach’s primary goal as International Student Captain was to “create an inclusive environment that welcomes students from overseas”.

He hoped to run a series of activities and events throughout 2024, including a cultural festival.

“I will also establish a dedicated support system for international students, including a mentorship program that pairs new students with experienced international students who can provide guidance and assistance with adapting to life in a new country.

“By implementing these strategies, I hope to create a welcoming and inclusive environment that encourages students from around the world to experience the educational opportunities available and to feel a strong sense of belonging.”

Blackfriars’ International Students Program Officer Angela Honner said Reach was a very popular student and a standout choice as the 2024 International Student Captain.

“We very much look forward to Reach’s leadership of the international group in 2024,” Ms Honner said.

“He joined us last year and immediately threw himself into the life of the school. He is such a lovely and caring young man.”

Blackfriars will have 21 international students from six countries in 2024.

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From the time he arrived at Blackfriars as a Year 7 student in 2019, Michael Ward knew he wanted to be a leader in the school community.

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