Sky Cater, a senior at McNary High School and the soon-to-be-appointed youth councilor at city hall, with Councilor Cathy Clark. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Sky Cater, a senior at McNary High School and the soon-to-be-appointed youth councilor at city hall, with Councilor Cathy Clark. (KEIZERTIMES/Craig Murphy)

Of the Keizertimes

Sky Cater uses his experiences to help mentor younger students at McNary High School.

Cater is now ready for a whole new set of experiences.

The MHS senior is expected to officially start serving as the Keizer City Council’s youth councilor at next week’s meeting, being held Tuesday evening due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.

Cater was expected to be formally nominated by the Volunteer Coordinating Committee on Jan. 16. Assuming that indeed happens, the council would need to formally accept the motion to make it official.

Councilor Cathy Clark worked with officials from the Salem Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Youth Program, who recommended Cater.
“I’m spending a year in the Leadership Youth Program,” Cater said. “Once a month I get out of the classroom to learn something about the community or leadership skills. I was selected for this board. Councilor Clark put in a word for me to serve on this board.”

Cater, 17, has been involved with McNary’s Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program since he was in eighth grade, part of the first class to transition with that program into high school.

“We were guinea pigs,” Cater said with a laugh. “We have lost some students since then, but we have gained others. The program helps students with the academic transitions. They have a contract to abide by to stay in.”

Now in his fifth year in AVID, Cater is a veteran. As such, his freshman AVID teacher asked a favor of him this year.

“I’m the one who helps with freshmen,” said Cater, who competes in track and field at MHS and works at Subway. “I’ve been asked by the AVID freshman teacher to help with organization for a freshman. Organizational success is a big thing. I thought of a system that helped him find a way of doing it.

“With seniors, it’s all about getting ready for college,” Cater added. “With freshmen, it’s all about getting used to high school. I meet with all the freshmen AVID students. I’m proud of myself to be able to help somebody else. I like having an impact on people.”

Once Clark heard about Cater, it was an easy choice for her to make the recommendation.

“He’s a very impressive young man,” Clark said. “He has great leadership in AVID. We want him to open our eyes on the council. We also want to hear the concerns and pluses from Sky about what the youth in Keizer are thinking. We want to know their concerns, so we can make this the type of community they want to live in when they grow up.”

For Cater, joining the council is a natural next step.

“I like to know about what’s going on,” said Cater, who sat in on the Jan. 6 council meeting. “I try to get involved at school and do community service through AVID.”

At McNary, Cater has seen the impact leaders can have on students.

“What I like about the task (of youth councilor) is to socialize and get along with anyone, you have to be able to talk to anybody,” he said. “I’ve interviewed a ton of students; those in student government, those who are shy, those in detention. I’ve talked to a wide variety of students. It goes back to being able to impact people.”

Clark is eager to hear about those students.

“It’s important to see a student in this seat,” she said. “It’s important to hear from the students.”