By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Angel Olmos-Lopez, a senior at McNary, has turned a love of reading into an opportunity to volunteer.

“When I was a kid, my mom always told me to put the book down and do chores instead of reading,” said Olmos-Lopez, who just happened to drive past the Keizer Cultural Center when he was looking for somewhere to volunteer. “I had no idea there was a library.”

Lopez worked at least four hours a week in Keizer’s Community Library over the summer, loading shelves and helping people that came in, before being asked to serve on the board in a new student position.

“They took notice that I really wanted to help out so they offered me to come on to the board,” Olmos-Lopez said. “It’s been really fun, to see that I’m helping out the community. It’s nice to see people’s faces light up when you help them.”

Olmos-Lopez moved to Keizer from Southern California when he was 5 years old.

His dad, a baker since he was 12, and his mom, opened Fortaleza Bakery. By the time Olmos-Lopez, the oldest of five kids, was 12, he was working in the bakery as a cashier.

“It taught me hard work and I just wanted to help out as much as I could,” Olmos-Lopez said. “It made me want to help other people, not just my family but my community after that.”

At McNary, Olmos-Lopez is on the National Honor Society and co-president of the garden club.

He hopes to attend Oregon State University and become a robotics engineer.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to make things or build,” Olmos-Lopez said.

“There was this book that had this whole list of inventors and I found it fascinating. I really love the idea of creating something that helps the world. I always wanted to do that.”