Meet Nyack’s 2016 Valedictorians!

Nyack College proudly announces its two valedictorians from the Class of 2016: Rachel Kunker (Schenectady, NY) and Tehillah Eskelund (Centerville, MA), who have both completed their Nyack undergraduate career with a 4.0 GPA.

Says Rachel Kunker, a Nyack College Honors Program student and intercultural studies major, “My freshman self would have never envisioned the senior I am today. Now, I am graduating with a double major in English and intercultural studies. I was able to study two areas God has made me passionate for and delve deeply into study which reflects Him. Although I am unsure about all of the details of my future, God has equipped me and prepared me for what lies ahead. He has taught how not to strive for perfection. He has shown me how to value everything He has given me, not just completing everything for a letter grade or worldly recognition. He has taught me the beauty of excellence.”

Rachel’s good friend and fellow valedictorian, Tehillah Eskelund shares, “Now, I am finishing this season of my life at Nyack, and I hope to continue with my studies. Upon graduation, I will have a B.A. in psychology, and I hope to use what I have learned about relating to people as I continue on into the medical field. Eventually, I would like to follow my parents’ example and use my skill sets in missions. They both moved to the U.S. as missionaries from South Africa. Now, my dad is a pastor on Cape Cod and runs a missions organization for AIDS orphans in South Africa called Emoyeni. Like both my mom and my dad, I want to use what I have learned to partner with people of different cultures and help those who need it most. As Nyack’s founding principles suggest, the biggest things we can do, the biggest adventures we can have, are for the “least of these.”


Recently during a visit to the Office of College Relations for a photo shoot, the two were curious about a door in the rear of Shuman Hall, the Tudor-style mansion that houses Administrative offices. In the midst of a very busy season on campus, Dr. David Turk, provost and vice president for academic affairs, graciously gave them a tour of the former residence of the Wertheim family.

"It was my pleasure to offer an impromptu tour of Shuman Hall to Rachel and Tehillah. Instead of the usual student stops to Admissions, Financial Aid, or the Registrar, I invited our valedictorians to see this former stately home through a fresh pair of eyes. A delightful pause in my day for two delightful young women. Wherever they head next, I'm confident they'll be servant-leaders making exceptional impact."

Our prayers and well wishes go out to Rachel and Tehillah!