The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Teacher of the month: James Nugent

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Photo by Lily Chadwick
Mr. Nugent proudly holds his Teacher of the Month Award.

Many know him as the teacher who displays a new colorful shirt on the daily, but those who have had the opportunity to be his student know him as so much more. Students of Mr. Nugent admire his uniqueness in addition to his advanced knowledge of chemistry and intense passion for the subject. 

Mr. Nugent gives his high school chemistry teacher, Sister Jovita, credit for helping him discover his love for the subject. After serving 21 years in the Navy, he was looking for a teaching job in a location that was ideal for his wife’s job. This caused him to land at WCHS and become a beloved part of the community. Engaged, disciplined and focused are the three words Mr. Nugent chose when asked how he would describe his teaching style. 

“I wanted to teach and chemistry was what I knew from college and what I enjoyed,” Nugent said. “My favorite [things about it] are learning how integral chemistry is to our daily lives and how it can be used to improve our lives.”

Although Mr. Nugent came to WCHS to teach chemistry, his impact has been far greater than merely educating students about the topic. His welcoming demeanor and strong focus on work ethic has helped his students grow as both students and people.

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“He has helped me grow confidence in class and have better relationships with many teachers,” WCHS sophomore Laila Specht said. “I like talking to him about all of his interesting life stories that show why he has a passion for chemistry.”

In addition to expanding his students’ knowledge of chemistry, he also makes it a priority to foster a relationship with his students and help them achieve their individual goals whether they be chemistry-related or not. 

“Some key moments are visits by former students and being able to celebrate their successes, be an ear to their issues/concerns and feeling that I had a part to play in helping them achieve the success that they have attained,” Nugent said. “I take great pride and purpose from helping my students go on to be the successes that so many of them are.”

Mr. Nugent plays a key role in encouraging students to be themselves and choose their own path instead of letting others choose it for them. He promotes self-expression, whether it be through colorful shirts or another outlet. 

“He’s super funny and different than other teachers,” Specht said. “He doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him, he’s happy just being a chemistry teacher and influences students positively without going out of his way.”

Mr. Nugent strictly teaches chemistry at WCHS which has allowed him to hone in on and become extremely knowledgeable about the subject. Teaching both Honors and AP Chemistry has given him a chance to disperse his knowledge in different ways and at different levels. Some students even have the chance to be taught by Mr. Nugent twice if they take Honors Chemistry and then AP Chemistry a following year.

“I enjoy teaching both, but the edge goes to AP,” Nugent said. “It has a state standard, it’s a college level course so I have to personally step up my game and the students who take the class want to be there, unlike many in honors who are there because they have to be but who I hope I’m able to give some appreciation of the importance of chemistry in their lives.”

Although he loves many aspects of WCHS, Mr. Nugents says without a doubt that his favorite part is his students and leaving long-lasting impacts on them. In addition to his students, the staff at WCHS, specifically the main office staff and members of the building services department, have been a key piece in making Mr. Nugent’s experience so positive. 

“[Teaching at WCHS] has made me a more reflective and, I’d like to think, understanding person, and it’s given me a great place to show off my colorful shirts,” Nugent said. “I’m pretty sure in another life I was meant to be a Shirt Runway Model – heck, maybe in the next one!”

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About the Contributor
Lily Chadwick
Lily Chadwick, Photo Manager & Assistant Sports Editor
Lily Chadwick is a sophomore and the Photo Manager of the Observer. This is her second year taking journalism and she is looking forward to bettering her writing while also meeting new people. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, field hockey, going to the beach, and spending time with family & friends.

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