Jeff Goodell claims to practice his speech every day up until graduation to make sure it’s perfect. Photo: Eden Kerker

Every year, rumors spread among students and faculty as they discuss and speculate who the graduation speaker will be. Well this year, it is no secret. Journalist Jeff Goodell will grace the senior class with his words of wisdom on coal and other sustainable energy sources. With Mr. Goodell generating such positive feedback from the Pace Academy student body, class salutatorian Aaron Pascaner was committed to bringing him back. “The decision was between Goodell, golden angle lady and Ellen Degeneres, but everyone knows Jeff, and his presentation was so riveting that no one will mind his presence,” said Pascaner.

The graduation speaker usually gives tips for life beyond high school, shares an anecdote or two about being an adult and maybe cracks some jokes, but with such pressing matters as climate change and coal, Pascaner believes that Goodell’s speech will impart not only inspiring, but useful knowledge as the Class of 2019 heads off to college.

This year’s graduation speech will be going in a new direction, and Pascaner believes it will be for the better. There may not be as many jokes, laughs or smiles in the audience this year, but it’s a graduation ceremony, not a comedy act. There will be reassuring nods and maybe some snaps as Jeff Goodell educates the community. “We’ve sat through about 187 presentations on coal,” said sophomore Madison Martin. “But I can honestly say I will never forget Jeff Goodell.”

Mr. Goodell is already preparing for the big day. He has made a whole new, captivating slideshow, will be bringing real coal for his “show-and-tell” segment of his speech, and has disclosed that some “fun surprises” are on the way. “Maybe he’ll bring his buddy Barack Obama this time, or maybe even do a dramatic reading of Big Coal,’” said sophomore Jack Brown.

“I’ll be there because my sister is a senior and will be graduating, but I would go even if she wasn’t graduating,” said freshman Mollie Meyerowitz. “All of my friends and I have already planned a sleepover the night before so we can read “Big Coal” and maybe have some interesting discussions. Got to be prepared.”

Pascaner urges everyone to buy a copy of “Big Coal” before the graduation date of May 18 because even if you don’t read it, Goodell is expected to sign copies after the ceremony. “Bring yourself. Bring your family. Bring everyone you know,” said Pascaner. “This graduation speech will be the best one yet. Robert Downey Jr., who?”

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