Nykerk Is Here!

Hello Readers! I hope your week is going well so far and you aren’t too busy. Any weekend plans? No? Well let me tell you about an event this weekend that you won’t want to miss: Nykerk!

What is Nykerk, you ask? Good question. Nykerk is an amazing performance put on by the freshmen and sophomores (odd year and even year) in a competition which includes song, play and oration. This year it will take place on the 31st of October (yes, that’s Halloween) at 7 p.m. in DeVos Fieldhouse. I am on the executive board for Nykerk as the junior treasurer and am so excited for this event to take place so that you all can be a witness to what the exec board and the participants have been working so hard to put on for you!

If you’re interested in what the song part of Nykerk looks like (which I was a part of last year) you can check it out here. It was so satisfying to perform it in front of a crowd and do it well. If you make it out on Saturday, you can expect some cool hand motions and some awesome play moves.

Tuesday night, as a part of Nykerk, everyone involved in Nykerk got to go to Nykerk Candlelight, which is a way to form camaraderie between Even and Odd year before the big show on Saturday. The tradition is that all participants of Nykerk go to the President’s house to sing the Alma Mater to him with candles made for them by their secret sisters. Secret sisters are sophomores girls that have been moraling a freshman girl for the three weeks leading up to Nykerk. Tuesday was when everyone found out who’s secret sister was who.

Nykerk Candlelight
This is just a glimpse of what candlelight looked like from the front porch of Kelly Knapp!

Again, Nykerk is this Saturday, October 31st and you can buy tickets at the ticket office, online, or call there to reserve them! Tickets are $7. I hope you all can make it out on Saturday! Can’t wait to see you there!

Until next time readers!

Even Year Wins!

Well, readers, the title says it all. Even Year won the Pull yesterday, and it was intense. As an Odd Year student standing on the odd side of the Black River, the Odd Year Pull team gave it their best, but was outdone by even year.

For those of you that don’t know what The Pull is, it is basically a huge tug of war that goes from one shore of the Black River in Holland to the other. Crazy right? The team that wins doesn’t win anything, just pride. Apparently the tradition was started in 1898, and this year was the 118th year of the tradition, one of the oldest college traditions in the United States! Here are some more neat tidbits about this Hope College tradition. They have all the stats and history and it’s a great site for quick facts!

Like I said before, I’m Odd Year (because I graduate in 2017). Last year was a proud time because Odd Year won the Pull and set a record for how much rope was pulled ever! It was amazing watching them get to run in the Black River and celebrate their win. This year though, the Odd Year team had to watch as even year took that swim in the river. Saying that though, Odd Year truly gave it their best effort and made their 1-9 Pull family proud.

Congrats even year! It was awesome seeing you win and get to swim in the river!

Until next time, Readers!


Questions about what I wrote, or about life in general? Check the bio and shoot me an email!

The ‘Kerk is Over

Well, Nykerk is over as fast as it came. These past three weeks have been nothing but fun, and on Saturday, it was the culmination of a lot of great talent.

As most of you know, Nykerk had a change of venue this year. DeVos is now the new home of the Nykerk tradition, and as expected, there were some huge changes, but also a lot more places to sit!


As you can see, instead of the normal set up at the Civic Center where Odd Year song is facing Even year song in the bleachers, DeVos offered a stage that allowed everyone to see every event. Essentially, there were no bad seats in DeVos. The executive board did an awesome job with making the transition from the Civic Center to DeVos seamless and comfortable for everyone.

On to the events!

The first event that was performed was the Freshmen Song. They sang one song: Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten. You can watch that here!

They did a great job and got this Hope tradition off to a wonderful start.

Next, was the Sophomore orator. Oration is the art of writing a speech and performing it. It’s hard enough memorizing a speech, but performing it in front of hundreds of people is a whole different feat. Sophomore Maddie Chapman did a great job incorporating the theme of the year, laughter, into her speech and her grace and poise shined through while she was reciting her piece.

After oration was the Freshmen play. This year’s plays were hard to maneuver because there essentially was no backstage, only scene changes. Both freshmen and sophomore play did awesome with that transition. The freshmen play loosely followed the plot of The Wizard of Oz with their own Even Year twist. The floating head of President Knapp as the great and powerful Oz was a nice touch, and overall their play was hilarious!

After intermission was the sophomore song. As per sophomore tradition, the song they performed was a medley. This year the medley was of 80’s songs, and it lasted about nine minutes. It was a great way to showcase the class of 2017’s last year of Nykerk. Check it out!

Next up was the freshmen orator, Cassidy Bernhardt. Cassidy, like Maddie, wrote and spoke about the subject of laughter. Her speech talked about laughter as a garden. Her motions perfectly matched her words, and she conveyed a great story. Even though Cassidy’s speech was later in the program, it kept my attention and made me think about how laughter is applied to my life.

The last event of the night was the sophomore play. Their play was about a European Princess who wants to go to college in the United States and finds Hope College!…but not before she goes to the Imperial Ball with the President of the United States in attendance! There were a lot of funny scenes in their play and it was a great ending to the Nykerk tradition!

After all these fun events, the Even Year freshmen took the Nykerk Cup! Everyone did a great job, and even though this was my first year participating in Nykerk, it was the best experience I could ask for! I would recommend that every freshman and sophomore at Hope get involved in Nykerk because it is a wonderful experience.

Until next time, readers! Hope you enjoyed your weekend!

Nykerk in Under 400 Words

For those of you wondering…what even is Nykerk? This is Nykerk (from a song-girl’s perspective) in less than 400 words.

Words that collectively make me think Nykerk as a big picture are song, play, oration, women, family, morale, and coaches. Basically it’s a big competition between the sophomore and freshmen women who are coached by the seniors and the juniors, respectively, in song, play, and oration. A huge part of Nykerk is the morale, the boys who keep the ladies excited and encouraged throughout the month of intense practices.

So what? I know you want me to tell you more. Nykerk is…

1. Tradition. Nykerk is tradition and you don’t question it. If your song coach tells you to punch your fists in the air, wear (what us song-girls have appropriately termed) a nun-fit, smile for the entirety of the three-hour show, you do it. Ask why and the best answer you’ll get is *shrug* “Tradition.”

My roommate, Michelle, and I posing in our "nun-fits".
My roommate, Michelle, and I posing in our “nun-fits”.

2. Being encouraged. Throughout the Nykerk season all of the song-girls, play-girls, and the orator are moraled by the “morale-boys”. I had a song-boy who was so awesome and sweet! They go by a codename until the night before Nykerk when they reveal themselves to you! I also had an odd-year sister, who was so odd-mazing as well!

3. Friends, wait, family. Since you spend two to three hours a month with the same people everyday, except for Sunday, you get to know them pretty well. It’s a great way to meet people outside of your hall, too! I love seeing the two girls I sat in-between during the performance : ) It brightens my day.

4. Fun. When all is said, sang, and done, Nykerk is really a great time. I can’t imagine having not done Nykerk this year. It brought me closer to the girls in my cluster as well as a lot of new people! The laughs we shared throughout practices are unforgettable, and there’s no place I’d rather be (Na na na na na, no place I’d rather be!).

"Don't tell me music can't make a difference."

There it is: Nykerk in under 400 words. You might still be a little confused, and so be it, because this tradition is something you have to experience to understand.

If you have any questions for me you can contact me at brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu, through Facebook, or my twitter @hopebrooke18! I’d love to answer them!

The ‘Kerk is here!

November is just a few days away, and what’s a better way to ring in the new month than with another one of Hope’s age old traditions? That’s right folks, you guessed it! Nykerk is this coming Saturday, November 1st!! And this year is a very special year, because it is also the traditions 80th year! 80 years of Nykerk! Wowza!

If you aren’t familiar with what Nykerk is, let me tell you, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen. You’ve seen choirs, sure. You’ve even seen comical plays and people giving speeches. But you’ve never seen anything like Nykerk. The combination of catchy songs, and group choreography with props is so good, it’s sure to give you chills when you watch the Song Girls preform. And you’ll be sure to gain some abdominal muscles when watching the Play Girls do their thing as well. Their plays are always packed with Hope humor and big actions and story lines. So entertaining! But when you hear Oration, forget everything you ever knew about public speaking, because these girls truly redefine the act by bringing so much emotion to the audience, that the entire room is silent.

If you’re still curious about what Nykerk is all about, here’s a little taste of what the Odd Year ’17 Song Girls preformed last year.

Crazy, right?!

How did they learn all those moves and all those melodies while managing to keep smiles on their faces and making it look effortless?! Truly, so much work goes into Nykerk and it does NOT go unnoticed because every year the performances are amazing.

Last year, I didn’t participate in Nykerk and, because of my participation this year, I have no idea why I didn’t. It is such a great way to meet girls that are excited about singing and being part of something so much bigger than yourselves. It brought back my love of music that I lost after high school choir and I’ve made so many more friends through this wonderful experience.

This is just a taste of what this weekend will hold for you, should you choose to go to Nykerk. I really encourage everyone to go, because it’s such a wonderfully unique tradition, but if you can’t make it out, don’t worry! In next week’s blog, I’ll have all the details of the entire competition.

Until next time, readers!


With October comes changing leaves, apple cider, pumpkin spice everything, and another wonderful Hope Tradition: Nykerk!

Nykerk, like the Pull, is a competition between the even and odd year classes. Hope women compete in one of three categories for their year (Oration, Play, or Song) with the goal of winning the Nykerk cup! Nykerk was started in 1935 by Dr. John Nykerk felt a need for a competition at Hope for women. To read more in depth description of Nykerk and its history you can look here.

I am part of 18 Song and am so excited for the next three weeks! A few other girls on my floor are doing Song as well, so I am looking forward to this being an opportunity to grow closer with them and to meet a lot of other great people. 🙂

To quench what I am sure is an overwhelming curiosity for what Song even is, enjoy the class of 2016’s Sophomore year song!

I hope you have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!
PS: you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for even more little insights on life as a Hope student!

Experiencing The Pull From the Even Year Side

This past Saturday was not a typical day here at Hope College.

Saturday was the 117th Pull competition between the classes of 2017 and 2018.

As a freshman I knew what the Pull was about. I had read about it, experienced the hype, witnessed the intensity building as rally banners were hung, practices started and the rope was run around campus. However, all of that did not come near to preparing me for watching the actual event.

I do not know how the Pull team does it. For three hours they push themselves to the limit. The Pull is truly something that you can only experience at Hope–there is nothing else like it. The intensity of it was overwhelming and so cool to watch!


Ps: You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more insights and pictures of life at Hope through my eyes 🙂




My First Pull Experience

This weekend I had the unique Hope College experience of attending The Pull. It’s one of those things where everyone tells you, “You don’t understand it until you’ve seen it.” I thought I got it; I thought I knew what awaited me as I grabbed my water bottle and took off for the bus with a few of my friends. After all, it’s tug-of-war, what’s not to get?

Just like they told me, there’s little way to put into words exactly what goes on at The Pull, so I took quite a few photos to share with you and guide you as I write.

A feeling of anxiety overcame me as we walked down a forest path, marked with red arrows on the ground and banners sporting words like “kill”, “psycho”, and of course “Even Year”. As we continued, a horn blew and the shouting commenced.

As we reached the river, the full scene was finally brought into view.

A full line of boys and their moralers were before me, along with an audience watching them. Their faces were tormented and my mind twisted as I closed my eyes, trying not to imagine the pain they were going through.

I’m a bit of a wuss, and I couldn’t stay to watch the whole thing…it honestly made my stomach turn. However, there’s a lot you can take away from seeing something like the pull. The moralers and the pullers, their team as a whole, experience a bonding that I can never describe or experience. All I can say is that watching them support each other gives me so much hope and reassurance. Our strength to persevere in times of hardship, our ability to bounce back, recover, and care for those around us is outstandingly evident in The Pull. While Even Year might not have come out on top, they went out there and they did it, which is something not a lot of people can say.

Have you ever been to the pull? What did you think?

Have a great week,

Brooke (@hopebrooke18)

The Class of 2017 wins Nykerk!

As many of you know, the annual Hope tradition Nykerk occurred last weekend. I know that my words could never completely describe Nykerk, so take a look at some pictures, all of which, and more, can be found on Hope’s website!

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Winning was awesome, but I was more proud of how everyone performed. Both songs were BEYOND AMAZING (If you don’t believe me, check out the sophomore song here and the freshman song here) and the plays were hilarious, as always. Rosemary, the sophomore orator, also did a fabulous job.

I was especially proud of how the orator I have been coaching, Gabby, performed. She went up on stage and delivered her speech with poise, confidence, and a smile. Claire and I could not have been happier with the way she performed. The last few days of practice, Claire and I let her rehearse her speech over and over again to feel comfortable with it. It was during that time when the speech transformed from a memorized, choreographed three and a half-page essay into a visual and audible piece of art.

Through the whole process, Gabby was gracious, hard-working, and flexible. We cut out some parts of the speech three days before Nykerk and made some minor voice inflection changes the night before, and Gabby didn’t complain once. She has been such a joy and light in my life these past few weeks and I already miss spending time with her!

I could not have asked for a better Nykerk season. I would like to say a big thank you to the executive board for all of their hard work, my fellow odd year coaches and the even year coaches for their support, and of course all of the participants for making the 79th Nykerk Cup the best one yet!