The photo seen above published as part of our series on the 1980s in the Mitchell area and the decade’s impact on modern life. At the time of publication, we had no way of identifying the people in the photo.
After the photo published, we got a note from Don Stedman, who thinks he’s the one seated at the computer in the photo. Here are some excerpts from his email.
As an avid ’80s fan, I was reading your article tonight on the Daily website. Very well written and I really enjoyed it. When I saw the photo, my jaw about dropped to the floor. I think there is a chance that the guy sitting at the PET could be me (but it is hard for me to tell for sure from that profile view). Has anyone else contacted you about the identities of the people in that photo?
Please allow me to tell you why I am very interested in this: in 1983, I was in the 9th grade and the Commodore PET(s) at Junior High allowed me to write my very first computer program! 30 years later, I still remember this life-changing little piece of code written in BASIC:
10 “Enter your age in years”
20 INPUT A
30 PRINT “You are “ A*365 “ days old.”
There were no structured computer classes at the time, and the 3 computers we had were located in the school library (most of the time). I remember how supportive Keith Christensen (the library/media director/x-country coach at the time) was towards me. He pretty much let me spend as much time as I wanted on the machines, and even let me take one home over Christmas break to experiment with. I think I was supposed to be cataloging some floppy disks for the school or something, but I remember playing lots of games and writing some small “apps” as I learned the BASIC language. At the end of the year, I remember giving a demonstration to members of the school board and some local elementary principals regarding the machines potential uses. This early influence obviously had a big impact on me as I have been writing software professionally now for the last 20+ years, and I’m currently a consultant up here in Brookings.