Moraine Valley Community College’s speech team earned an overall first place, a top speaker honor and an additional 25 awards at the Prairie State College speech tournament held in November in Chicago Heights.

Award-winning team members include Damian Samsonowicz, of Bridgeview, who was named overall top speaker of the tournament; team captain Haley Carrero, of Orland Park, Ethan Gallant, of Chicago Ridge; David Ward, of Oak Lawn; Stephanie McFann, of Oak Lawn, James Smith, of Alsip, Colin Ruzella, of Orland Park; Lili Tinoco, of Burbank, Kirsty Baity, of Robbins, Abby Hanrahan, of Palos Heights; and Natalie Jurcik, of Bridgeview.

The awards ranged from first to sixth places in categories that include Informative Speaking, Poetry Interpretation, Communications Analysis, Duo Interpretation, Sales Speaking, Dramatic Interpretation, Persuasive Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Prose Interpretation.

“This group is creating a very positive synergy,” Nash said. “They are young, hard-working and are not afraid of a challenge. They are taking risks and being rewarded for their efforts. I try not to value trophies, but I feel the team this year is successful because of their self-imposed high standards.”

The team in October earned a fifth place award in the Chicago Swing Tournament co-hosted by Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago, where it was the only team from a community college. “We held our own and should be very proud that our students stepped up to compete against four-year colleges and universities,” said Head Coach John Nash, Communications professor. Individual awards were presented to Smith, Sidney Bullock, of Calumet Park, McFann, Samsonowicz, Gallant, and Jurcik.

Moraine Valley’s speech team in October also hosted 20 colleges and universities from the Midwest for the annual Appel-Quest Speech Tournament.

Nash is assisted by Amanda Pettigrew, Communications instructor; Krista Appelquist, Communications professor; and Jeff Rieck.