Dordt College News

"My Favorite Teacher" Jake Van Wyk

June 23, 2014

Ever since I was a little child, I thought I knew exactly what my calling in life was: I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I wanted a business degree. My mother worked as a cashier before she passed away. I remember every time I went to visit her at work, she had this great passion for her work. I fell in love with that.

As a freshman, I knew what major I wanted, so I didn’t know why I had to take core classes; I just knew I had to in order to graduate. One of those was an art class with Jake Van Wyk. I remember the first week I was always staring at the clock, wondering when was the class going to end. He showed great passion for his class, a passion I didn’t understand and could not relate to in any way. When he talked about the works of great artists like Vincent Van Gogh, I thought he was just as crazy as Van Gogh. He would endlessly talk without even realizing that the 50-minute class was up. I thought it was funny; I would smile constantly because I obviously didn’t see anything in their works. Then I realized I wasn’t looking; I saw what I wanted to see. The following weeks, everything changed, it wasn’t funny anymore. I finally saw what he saw. I developed a passion for art that I didn’t know existed in me. I fell in love with photography and art because he didn’t just teach me, he inspired me. He shaped my future and my perspective on life in a way that he cannot imagine.

As he is retiring, I would like to appreciate his work and to let him know that the years he spent teaching did not go in vain. He inspired me.

Winnie Obiero's ('16)  winning essay brought a local television crew to Van Wyk's classroom in May.

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