The term teamwork is generally understood as the willingness of a group of people to work together to achieve a common goal. Three people at Moraine Valley who have worked so well together for years are always ready, more than willing and quite able to continue establishing and achieving common goals.

As such, John Nash, Communications professor and director of the Speech Team; Amanda Pettigrew, Communications instructor and assistant director of the Speech Team; and Krista Appelquist, Communications professor and Speech Team coach, are the 2019 recipients of the Dave Sarther Teamwork Award.

Awarded for their dedication to the Moraine Valley Speech and Debate Team, this group has, “created a powerful and measurable synergy,” as evidenced in the numerous awards consistently bestowed to the team since they took over the reins in 2011. The team also has been nationally ranked, taking home either the gold, silver or bronze award. They coached the team to bronze in 2012 and 2014, silver in 2015, 2016 and 2017, and were named national champions in 2013 and 2018.

The group’s nominator said, “These national accomplishments were made possible because Amanda, Krista and John are able to function together as a team of coaches. They push each other to be better, know when to lead and when to follow and never let the metaphoric ball ever hit the ground. While each has an area of strength, their strengths work in harmony, like a three-legged stool, to create stability and balance.”

As the director, Nash makes most of the major decisions, such as deciding which tournaments to attend. He also manages the budget, runs the tournaments hosted at Moraine Valley, recruits new members, coaches the team, works with alumni and helps graduating students transfer successfully to four-year programs, and drives the bus.

In addition to coaching, Pettigrew helps create team unity, oversees the judges’ lounge at the tournaments hosted at Moraine Valley, works with students to overcome mental barriers, generates ideas for group performances and is generally the sounding board for feedback.

Appelquist ensures other tasks that couldn’t be completed by Pettigrew and Nash get finished. In addition, she coaches and makes all the visual aids for the team, works with the students on dress codes and professional behavior while at tournaments, helps to generate ideas for speech topics, and proof reads and edits the speeches.

“I do feel a bit guilty winning this award because I am getting an award for doing my job and for doing a job I love,” Nash said. “I am thankful Krista and Amanda can publicly know just how much they mean to me. Working with them makes my job exciting, easy and fun. They are not only my team, they are my family.”

Nash believes the team’s success owes a lot of credit to the connection the coaches have to each other and the students. “The only reason we have had a successful team is because Amanda, Krista and I understand each other. We build each other up and we make each other better. In turn, we are able to give back to the students.”

“As a team,” Appelquist said, “we feel like family. That sets a climate where we support each other’s weaknesses and play to each other’s strengths. Our communication reminds me of a sibling relationship; we’re so secure with each other we can be brutally honest with no repercussions.