PACES students learn about digital media on Friday tour

Students in the PACES summer program learned about modern media last year when they met editor Jim Caufield, standing, and toured the studios of M and M Broadcasting near Perry. The current summer session for PACES has an enrollment of 141 students.

About 100 students in Perry’s Academic, Cultural and Enrichment Services (PACES) summer program learned the ABCs of digital communications and social media Friday morning when they met with Jim Caufield of Perry, editor and publisher of the locally owned

The students also toured the offices of M and H Broadcasting, the Knoxville-based company that owns radio stations in Knoxville, Pella, Washington, Jefferson and Stuart as well as the KDLS radio station near Perry.

The children gathered in the shade of the shelter house on 141st Court, where the spirits of local radio legends Tom Quinlan, Bill Zollman, Whitey Schliesman, John Purdue and Pat Graney also seemed to cluster. KDLS was founded by G. E. Whitehead of Perry and began broadcasting in 1961. The station was sold to M and H Broadcasting in 2012.

Caufield asked the children, “What is news?” The PACES pre-kindergarteners and kindergarteners said news is when I cannot find my dog. The PACES first and second graders said news is when I win at Minecraft. The PACES third, fourth and fifth graders said news is when a tornado comes to Perry.

Caufield said all their answers were correct. He said news is made of all the stories of the things that happen around us every day. He explained to the youngsters something they already understood — that laptops and tablets and smart phones have turned the news media business upside down.

After learning about local news — such as births, marriages and deaths — and about local weather and local sports and after learning about out-of-town owners who make their money in our community but who live far away from Perry and spend their money elsewhere, the youngsters skipped joyfully to their buses for the journey to Union Park in Des Moines, where they rode the historical carousel, slid down the rocket slide and splashed on the splash pad, working up a healthy appetite for lunch and taking a little nap on the long ride back to Perry.

“It was a super informative and fun Friday,” said longtime PACES Director Mary Hillman. “Thank you to KDLS and for taking the time to speak to us and show us the ropes.”

The PACES program is one of about 8,000 before- and after-school programs around the U.S. The summer PACES program extends the school-year resource to the children of parents who work year round.

“PACES programs have supported more than 10,000 Perry students since beginning in 2000,” Hillman said, “and PACES has offered over 200 different academic and enrichment programs to students. PACES students have improved grades and attendance.”

These young people look at for free, and so do most of their mommies and daddies. Please support Perry’s only locally owned daily news source with a $5-per-month donor. One-time donations are also welcome.



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