The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN

Zach Zeman

Juno Nayagam works to prepare juniors for the ACT.

ACT Prep: Mr. Nayagam

This year, BSM welcomes new teacher Juno Nayagam. Replacing last year’s ACT prep class program with a new program found on Naviance, he will be teaching the junior ACT prep class, which takes place two days a week. 

Nayagam has previously worked with BSM as a substitute teacher and hockey coach. But before that, Nayagam was previously a full-time teacher in his home state of California. “I moved to Minnesota ten years ago for law school… so I’m a licensed teacher but also a lawyer… the reason why I came to BSM last year to be a substitute was because I did miss being in the classroom with students. And then this year when I had this opportunity for the ACT class twice a week, I took it,” Nayagam said.

Besides having Nayagam as a new teacher, BSM has a new class with the new ACT prep program. BSM switched to a program available on Naviance, the college prep website used by the school, with hopes that it will be more beneficial to students than the previous program. “[The Naviance program is] self-directed with support… there’s either a structured program where it has benchmarks you need to hit every week, or they look at how you did on the first test and then they give you a custom program… so I’m kinda hoping that students do really see the validity of that,” Nayagam said.

ACT Prep is a required class for all juniors, but Nayagam wants to make it an interesting class that students are eager to take rather than just a course requirement. He tries to keep his class casual: he asks his students to call him Juno rather than Mr. Nayagam. “True learning takes place when you’re actually part of the discussion, not just taking notes…[a] really relaxed [class], you know? … Make class fun, make it interesting, make it interactive,” Nayagam said. 

Although Nayagam is passionate about teaching and law, his favorite career is hockey. “I actually work full-time in hockey right now, in addition to what I do here. That was actually my biggest passion… and I decided a few years ago I was gonna take a step away from the law… as a full-time career and follow my passion. And so I jumped in with two feet, and I work in hockey full-time now, whether it’s coaching or scouting,” Nayagam said.

Nayagam made his passions of hockey and teaching into his career, but he has plenty of recreational passions as well. “If I have time, I snowboard a lot… I do volunteer work. I volunteer with a special needs hockey team, it’s called Minnesota Special Hockey… and I have a new puppy, so I spend a lot of time with her,” Nayagam said.

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