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Masters(2): Brother, sister earn degrees on same weekend

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, July 11, 2018
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Kelsey Starnes and Jared Cate

Kelsey Starnes and Jared Cate. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The paths that brought brother and sister – one a Boyd High School football standout and the other a Northwest High School cheerleader – toward a master class in education diverged over the years.

Jared Cate, a Yellowjacket quarterback and baseball star who lit up the scoreboard at Boyd before playing college football at Texas A&M Commerce, turned in his cleats for a suit, entering a job in accounting at a telecom company, before he got called back to education.

His sister, Kelsey Starnes, took to teaching early after her days of helping kids learn how to tumble and toe-touch at cheerleading camps. From then on she said she knew she was born to teach and lead.

Though a three-year age difference and different degree choices separated the siblings, this weekend the pair crossed the digital stage simultaneously, completing their graduate courses online.

Cate graduated Texas A&M Commerce with a Masters in Business Adminstration. Starnes earned her Masters in Education Administration at Lamar this weekend.

This summer, the academic pair will pay their newly minted educational investment forward as Cate joins Starnes as an educator at Boyd ISD.

Cate, who started this summer passing on his knowledge as the Boyd quarterbacks and receivers coach and head coach Brandon Hopkins’ right-hand man will teach business classes. Starnes has taught middle school science since 2014.

For Starnes, her decision to earn her masters came after she got the call to lead.

“I was in my third year teaching,” Starnes said. “I didn’t know if I wanted to be a principal or an assistant principal, but I knew I wanted to lead. So I decided, I’m just going to go for it.”

For Cate, it was a no-brainer.

“Coming out of high school, I never really planned on getting my masters,” he said. “But coming out of high school, I had credits and was able to graduate in three years and had two years of football left. I could either take classes that wouldn’t matter or get my masters. I was like, why not – not realizing how hard it would be.”

After sprinting through undergrad work, Cate juggled football and graduate-level courses simultaneously, eventually bringing balance to sheets and income statements in the telecom industry.

Starnes taught and graded science projects, while learning the ins and outs of public education and administration.

This summer, when the opportunity to work with his sister, mom and coach football and baseball at Boyd arose, Cate didn’t hesitate.

“We’ve always been close as a family,” Cate said. “And coming back to coach and teach at Boyd. It’s exciting.”

Boyd High School Principal Susan Foster said bringing in Cate was a big get for the school.

“For our students, it sends such a strong message having someone work so hard, have success then come to Boyd and give back,” Foster said. “His experience is relevant, first hand on both the football field and in the business world.”

Cate sees a long-term future at Boyd. But for now, he’s just excited to pass on his knowledge as he gets into coaching.

But he’s learning some lessons early about being on the opposite side of the sidelines.

“The quarterback in me just wants to go out and do it,” he said. “I’m learning to be patient, but they make me nervous.”

Stacie Witt, the Boyd High School counsler said she’s excited to see Cate return home.

“He was a born leader,” said Witt, who watched Cate grow up on and off the field at Boyd. “He was a tremendous athlete. What he will bring back to us is tradition. I think he brings excitement to our school and to our athletes. He’s played college ball and had success in business, something a lot of our kids aspire to. I think he bridges that gap between high school and college.”

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