Teammates = Lifelines

Teammates = Lifelines

Apr 22
Ellen Reeder, Senior in ACES

I’ve always enjoyed public speaking and I’ve never been one to get nervous, but when you’re part of a team the tables are suddenly turned because you’re not the only one relying on the speech and knowledge that’s stored in your head. This past week at the NAMA student marketing competition my teammates were my lifelines.

When I first started public speaking in FFA, my mom would always say, “don’t forget to breathe.” Ironically, I had a few flashbacks to those first few experiences of public speaking because at NAMA I forgot to breathe, literally.

Luckily, I had a teammate, Nick White, who helped me remember to breathe on stage even if we looked like fools. And luckily there were teammates in the crowd like Madalyn Kermicle, Greg Jen, Mason Schoolcraft and Ryan O’Malley grinning ear-to-ear reminding me to smile. It’s amazing how those smiles can make a world of difference in confidence levels and enthusiasm.

I never imagined how a group of 22 individuals could come together as a team to perform a 20-minute presentation about morel mushrooms, specifically Rare Taste Farm’s Morchellas. The amount of camaraderie that our team shared was unbelievable. We worked hard to get where we stood, but we never would have found ourselves there if we worked as individuals. It’s all about that team atmosphere and the support. Before each round we huddled up for a motivational speech (or rap) from our very own Zach Orwig, and when we left the presentation room we knew we had given it our all.

Finishing fourth place in the nation was an awesome feeling, but I have to say the friendships gained and the experiences had were highlights as well. We can’t thank our advisors, Wendy Pinkerton, Theresa Miller and Nick Paulson enough for all of their time, help and support. The seniors will be missed next year, but their lessons and advice will carry on. I am so thankful to be part of a college that places merit on student involvement, experiential learning and team values.

213 U of I NAMA Team