Bright Future: Cathedral STAR student is young ‘Renaissance man’

Published 12:24 am Wednesday, May 17, 2017


By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — For Rudy Nugent, school is not about making the highest grades, but about asking questions and pushing to learn more.

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Nugent was named this year’s STAR student for Cathedral High School.

Sponsored by the Mississippi Economic Council, the STAR award recognizes scholastic achievement among Mississippi’s high school students.

The STAR award emphasizes academic excellence for both students and teachers alike.

Nugent selected English teacher Jean Biglane as his STAR teacher.

Biglane said the senior was extremely deserving of the award.

“He is an academic,” Biglane said. “There are students who get the good grades to get the good grades. Then you get the academics, who want to push themselves further.”

Students eligible for the STAR award must have an ACT score of at least 25 and a grade average of 93 or above in selected subjects through their high school career.

Nugent scored a 31 on his ACT and maintained a 97 average in high school.

“My parents have been very supportive; they’ve told me that I know what I need to do in order to do well, so I should do it,” Nugent said. “They don’t hinder me, they just let it happen, even if it means me learning that procrastination is a bad idea.”

Nugent said his teacher’s advanced English class was his first ever, and he appreciated the challenge it offered him.

“I’m a science person,” Nugent said. “On the ACT I got a 21 in English the first time, but I mangaged to bump it up to a 35 with her help.”

Nugent said Biglane utilizes Socratic circles — a teaching method inspired by the Greek philosopher Socrates. In the class, the teacher or students proposes questions and other students attempt to give answers.

“The questions build off what the discussion is,” Biglane said. “The idea is that no one feels intimidated in asking questions. We can get to the truth or experience of a work by letting (the students) come to it as they converse.”

Biglane said the circles are an attempt to allow students to see things in a different way, other than just right and wrong.

Biglane said Nugent is that student that compares and constrasts in order to better analyze his work, adding that he is also a part of the Science Olympiad Team, which is headed to the national competition this week.

“This is the kind of person who becomes a kind of Renaissance man,” Biglane said.

Nugent is the son of Scott and Audley Nugent of Natchez. Rudy plans to attend Milsaps College in Jackson.