• Meet Molly Speacht: PGHS Salutatorian

    By Cameron Douglas

    When the Pacific Grove High School Class of 2009 holds its Commencement, the Salutatorian will be Molly Speacht. (For those who don’t know her, it’s pronounced “Speck.”) Salutatorian is an academic achievement akin to winning a silver medal at the Olympics – no small accomplishment. It’s the latest in a string of successes for Molly, who served as Princess Amethyst in the 2007 Feast of Lanterns Royal Court. Cedar Street Times managed to catch up with Molly and her very busy mom, Lisa Maddalena, of the Pacific Grove Library.

    CST: Molly, what has helped motivate you?

    Lisa Maddalena and daughter, MOLLY SPEACHT

    Lisa Maddalena and daughter, MOLLY SPEACHT

    SPEACHT: Mostly, wanting to get into a really good college so I can become a journalist.

    CST: A journalist!

    SPEACHT: Yes, and a writer. My parents have also always motivated me to take my education seriously.

    CST: Which college will you attend?

    SPEACHT: I’m going to Barnard College of Columbia University. It’s in New York City. I chose it because there are so many opportunities in the journalism field and the literary field in New York, and so many great internships. Plus, Barnard has a fantastic writing program. A lot of authors and journalists have graduated from there. And I’m just really excited because I’ve always wanted to live in New York City!

    MADDALENA: She got a really good scholarship too.

    CST: I would think so. Molly, what teachers have made the most positive impressions on you?

    SPEACHT: Mrs. Coulter was my freshman English teacher. She really encouraged me in my writing. When I took her class, I realized that’s what I want to do, to be a writer. Also Mr. Bussio, Ms. Selfridge and Mr. Haggquist. He helped me start the Literary Magazine, which is amazing. My history teachers, Mr. Powers and Ms. Griffiths. And my math teacher, Mrs. Lemmon. She really helped me to like math more than I used to.

    CST: What successful methods did those teachers use?

    SPEACHT: They have a good way of communicating the subject. Mrs. Coulter spent a lot of time with us on the draft process for essays. Mrs. Lemmon is really organized. She always had powerpoints ready for us. These teachers are all very organized, and the fact that they are makes you want to be organized. You want to do well in their classes.

    CST: What changes have you seen in Pacific Grove in the time you’ve grown up here?

    SPEACHT: I feel like it’s always been pretty much the same, but a lot of the businesses in PG have ended. Rocky Coast Ice Cream used to be there when I was little. A lot of the independents have gone out of business, and that’s really sad. I hope we’re able to re-connect with hometown businesses and make them more important.

    CST: Tell us about your experience with Feast of Lanterns.

    SPEACHT: Feast of Lanterns gave me a lot of self-confidence. It’s also something that really brings the community together. It made me love community service, and I want to continue doing that.

    CST: What kind of community service did you do?

    SPEACHT: In Feast of Lanterns, we went around to retirement homes, preschools and summer camps. We got to hang out with the kids and help out. We served at Meals On Wheels. We did a lot of stuff. It’s an important tradition in our town. I know they don’t have as many princesses this year, and I hope it gets back to its usual ways soon.

    CST: What else would you like to see happen?

    SPEACHT: I think we need to treasure the Library a lot more. It’s important to have a good library, and we need to support it as much as we possibly can.

    MADDALENA: I didn’t tell her to say that!

    CST: No need to. Anything else?SPEACHT: I’d just like to thank my high school. I feel like if I hadn’t gone to Pacific Grove High, I wouldn’t be as successful. It’s a really great public school.CST: They’re sure to appreciate that. Thanks very much for talking with us, and best of luck.    

    posted to Cedar Street Times on May 21, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News, Features, Cameron Douglas


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