Month: May 2012

MHS AVID program graduates first students

By ERC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes In June, 13 McNary High School accepting their diplomas will have a special reason to celebrate. They’re all headed to college and that may not have happened had it not been for the Celtic AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program. “They’re all students who have the right skills to go on, but they are typically the first ones in their family to attend college. They need the extra support to get there,” said Elisabeth Sonis, McNary’s AVID coordinator. AVID students receive special training on taking notes and are pushed to enroll in honors and advanced placement courses throughout their high school careers; some start in the program as early as middle school. In GPA averages alone, the program has paid significant dividends. The average GPA for a McNary student is 2.66, while AVID students boast an average GPA of 3.1. In addition, they are given time to meet when they can bring in nagging questions about school work or life and discuss the issues as a group. “As much as the teachers support them, the kids really support each other and that is a key component. The kids are what make the program great,” Sonis said. This year’s crop of AVID students are the first to graduate from McNary, but the program has grown by leaps and bounds; 59 freshmen entered McNary...

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Longtime public works supt. is its new director

By JASON COX Of the Keizertimes It shouldn’t take too long for new Public Works Director Bill Lawyer to acclimate to his new role. The lifelong area resident joined the city’s public works department in 1989 and was most recently the interim director after Rob Kissler’s retirement. Since 1998 he’s been the public works superintendent. The two positions might sound similar, but Lawyer said the director is responsible for taking a big-picture approach with long-term planning, while the superintendent supervises day-to-day operations. The city will be looking soon for a superintendent. “The number one priority is to continue to foster the trust and responsibility we have earned during my career with the city,” Lawyer said. “The public works department does have a high level of trust and I want to make sure that continues.” Lawyer, 50, grew up in northeast Salem, attending Whiteaker Middle School and McNary High School before becoming part of McKay High’s first graduating class. He worked in the heating and air conditioning field before taking a leap and managing a sheep ranch in Dundee. “It was something brand new that I’d never done,” Lawyer said. “I wasn’t a farm kid, so I learned a lot about … that part of life, and how to be isolated. We didn’t know anybody. It really helped develop my relationship with my wife.” He joined the city in 1989...

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Celtics hosting boys b-ball camp in June

The McNary High School boys basketball program is hosting summer camps for grades three through eight in June. Camps will run June 18-21. Students in grades three-five will meet from 9 a.m. to noon and those in grade six-eight will meet from 1-4 p.m. Cost is $45 and includes a camp T-shirt. Camps will focus on fundamentals like footwork, shooting technique, passing and catching, individual and team defense, dribbling and rebounding. Registration forms are available at the McNary High School main office and may be sent to with payment to: McNary Boy’s Basketball Club,  McNary High School, c/o Boys Basketball, 595 Chemawa Rd. N., Keizer, OR 97303. For more information, contact Head Coach Ryan Kirch 541-908-1609 or...

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