Pandemic separates international student from family

Dayson Croes has two great loves in his life; family and baseball. In fact, he gets to experience one of these loves every day at QU Stadium as a Quincy University baseball player, but it does come at a price.

Croes and his family hail from the small nation of Aruba, an island just 15 miles north of Venezuela and nearly 2,300 miles from the city of Quincy.

Croes, a junior at QU, and his family are no strangers to the world of travel and have found a way to make the distance work in his first two years of playing at Southeastern Community College in Burlington, Iowa.

Handling this distance had not been a problem for the Croes family as they regularly made trips stateside to see their son play the game he loves.

“My family has always been there to support me and my passion wherever I go,” Croes said. “They travel halfway across the world without a second thought to see me play.”

With his family coming to watch him play and the ability to return to his island paradise of a home over each break in the school year Croes and his family had a great system going, but all good things must come to an end.

This season brought with it new challenges for not just the Croes family, but all student athletes and their families alike.

Just four short weeks and 16 games into the season, it was brought to an immediate halt with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, for Croes, his family was able to come watch him play opening weekend in February in Tampa Bay, Florida as the Hawks battled the Lions of St. Leo University.

Unfortunately, for Croes, this would be the last time he would see his family for 9 months.

Once the pandemic started to spread and borders began to close, Croes’ mother Sylvette Croes began to fear if she would be able to see her child again.

“With everything going on in the world it makes a difficult situation even tougher for our entire family,” Sylvette said.

With the borders closed, Croes was unable to travel to his hometown Noord, Aruba. To make matters worse, Croes had to spend his entire summer vacation away from home.

However, Croes used this to his advantage to dedicate his summer to improve his skills as a baseball player by playing in a premier league in Iowa City, Iowa.

Even though Croes was given this unique advantage to improve his game, he was still saddened by the fact that he was not able to return home and see his loved ones.

“I look forward to this time over the summer because I get to reunite with one of my best friends from home and because of the pandemic, we could not,” Joffrey DeCuba , a close friend of Croes, said.

Croes’ parents, Sylvette, Estefano, and his sister, Jelsyvette, look forward to the time when they are able to reunite with their son and brother again.

In fact, with the borders back open, Dayson has booked a trip back home for winter break and he is elated to see his family once again.

“My family has always been the most important thing to me, and I cannot wait for the moment I get to see their faces again,” Croes said.

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