Questions for a Nykerk Coach

nykerk cup

Hi everyone!

One of my favorite posts last year was answering a bunch of questions that people asked me about bring the Nykerk orator. I thought that once I became a coach the questions would stop, but they have actually increased! So here again are the most frequent questions I have been asked since the Nykerk season began:

  1. Who is the Nykerk orator this year? The odd year Nykerk orator I am coaching this year is Gabby Gazall, a.k.a. G-baby, who is such a blessing and joy to work with. The sophomore orator being coached by senior oration coaches Jordan and Alyssa is Rosemary Walsh. I happen to be friends with Rosemay and could not be more thrilled for her!
  2. Wait, you’re a coach? How did that happen? Let me start by saying that each category in Nykerk (song, play, oration) except song and play morale has two coaches. The song and play coaches interview for their position at the end of their sophomore Nykerk season. Oration differs from this process because the two orators, one from freshman year and one from sophomore year, become the oration coaches. Because Claire Tally was the orator freshman year for our class of 2015 and I was the orator sophomore year, we are both oration coaches for the class of 2017. It is against the Nykerk rules for a girl to be chosen as the orator twice, so there will always be two coaches.
  3. What if someone doesn’t want to be a coach, or they transfer/study abroad? Though it’s rare, this kind of situation has happened before. If an oration coach cannot fulfill her coaching duties, a replacement is chosen. Typically, the replacement is an English or communications major with substantial writing and performing experience. This isn’t ideal because only an oration coach knows what it is like to go through the process and can give the most help. It is made clear to all girls who auditions that oration is a three-year commitment.
  4. What is the Nykerk theme this year? There is no longer a Nykerk theme! Traditionally, an overarching theme has been chosen for Nykerk each year, but this year’s general chair Erin decided to have the theme only apply to oration. This changes nothing about how Nykerk is run or how the songs are chosen and the plays are written. All it means is that instead of Nykerk the event having a theme, only the category of oration will have a theme. This year’s oration theme is Dynamic!
  5. How was the theme chosen? Me, my co-coach Claire, Jordan, Alyssa, and Erin all sat down together and spent an afternoon brainstorming. We felt that the themes for the last few years had been restricting, and consequently wanted to choose something that was quite abstract and could be interpreted many different ways.
  6. What do you do as an oration coach? My role as a coach is very different from my role as an orator. The biggest difference is that I do not have to write the speech. The two oration speeches you will hear on Saturday night are the original works of the orators themselves, not the coaches. As an orator, I had my time to write whatever I wanted and be heard. As an oration coach, it is my job to make sure that Gabby communicates her speech effectively. This means helping her brainstorm ideas, editing the speech, and coming up with motions. Claire and I work together to provide Gabby with all the tools she will need to be successful on Nykerk night! At this point in the season, our job is basically over; it is now up to Gabby to perfect the speech.

I can’t believe Nykerk is only two days away!!!! AHHH!!!! I’m so excited to see G-baby perform her speech, as well as seeing all of the other performances! I will be sure to give you a complete update of how it goes!


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Published by Rachael Kabagabu

Hi everyone! My name is Rachael Kabagabu. I am a junior studying secondary education with a major in French and minor in biology. I am currently involved in Nykerk, Hope College Student Ambassadors, WTHS (Hope radio station), and the Kappa Beta Phi Sorority. My previous activities include Orientation, leading a spring break immersion trip, the Black Student Union, and orchestra. Feel free to message me if you have any questions. Go Hope!

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