On Thursday, Oct. 26, P.A.C.E.S. celebrated 18 years in the community with the National “Lights on Afterschool” program. The annual event welcomed in guest speakers from inside and out of the community, as well as a talent show and students awards.


During the beginning of the program, Mary Hillman, PACES Director, and Mayor Jay Pattee spoke to the crowd of students and parents before Superintendent Clark Wicks spoke.


“Clark was here from day one and this is our eighteenth year of PACES,” said Mary Hillman, PACES Director.


Wicks originally hired Hillman for PACES during his time as the Elementary Principal. Today, PACES serves 140 students, and aids in the continued education after school and during the summer months.


Wicks read a quote to the students to memorize: “In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”


“Eighteen years ago, I remember interviewing Mary, and at the beginning of that whole start of PACES, we did not realize after eighteen years that we would have such a dedicated staff, a dedicated leader in Mary Hillman to make it work where 140 students are served each and every day,” said Clark Wicks, PCSD Superintendent. “It took our leader, and all of the staff that she has to first of all believe that we can serve after school, before school, and make things work.”


“We saw this program grow and grow and grow, and now it’s an integral part of our Perry school, and you guys have added so much value to this school.”


Today, there is a combined total of 161 years of experience with all of those working as staff members for PACES.


Wicks was joined by other visitors including Julia Richards Krapfl of Blank Children’s Hospital Outreach and Trista Peitzman of Iowa Public Television.


Before the celebration, on Wednesday, Oct. 25, the fundraiser “Pledges for P.A.C.E.S.” took place.


According to information from P.A.C.E.S., the fundraiser was held at the high school track and students had the opportunity to fundraise by completing laps.


“We encourage parents/guardians to pledge a per lap amount, such as $2 [dollars] per lap, and when we are done for the night, we will let everyone know our total amount of laps, and a donation can be given,” the flyer reads.


Hillman announced at the the grand total of $1,470 dollars brought in from the fundraiser, as well as an additional $7,500 dollars given from the Bock Foundation.


The remainder of the event included performances from the following classes:


Pre-K & TK: “Where is Thumbkin;” Kindergarten - “Up Town Funk;” 1st Grade - “North Pole Rock & Roll;” 2nd Grade & 3rd Grade - “Can’t Stop the Feelin;” and 4th Grade & 5th Grade - “It Ain’t Me.”


Student awards were given out by Hillman and Site Coordinator, Lila Modlin: Light Bulb Coloring Contests for grades pre-k and TK, kindergarten, first grade and second grade, a Poster Contest for third grade, and lastly an Essay Contest for grades fourth and fifth.


“We’re really proud of our students and they’re good leaders at this school with their behavior along with their academics,” Hillman said.