I have decided to open a new category called “person of the week”. Some days ago, when I was reading a magazine, I stumbled across Joan Ganz Cooney. Do you know her?! I bet, that when I tell you her story, you will say “Ahh, of course.” or something similar ;-). At least, that’s what I thought, so I decided to create this new category where I will publish a short curriculum about the person, what he or she is famous for and why I chose him/her for this page. You will later find the entries among the blog posts.
So here goes number one: Joan Ganz Cooney
Joan Ganz Cooney is the founder of Sesam Street. (Now, you’re saying “aah”, aren’t you ;-)) She was born Nov. 30, 1929 in Phoenix Arizona into an affluent middle class family. Thanks to that she was able to enjoy a good education at North Phoenix High School and Arizona University.
After finishing her degree in Education, she moved to Washington, D.C. where she worked for the government organizing Foreign Students Exchanges for the State Department. She moved back to Phoenix some years later, before Cooney headed to New York where she started working at RCA. After about eight months she changed job to NBC where she was involved in several TV productions. A characteric of her productions is always a certain amount of critics of societal misconduct or problems.
During her life in New York City, Cooney experienced that there were many children who spend a lot of time in front of a TV and she wanted to provide educational TV that was entertaining on the same and made them feel represented. The Sesam Street started in 1969 and is celebrating its 40th birthday this year.
Over the years Cooney received various prizes and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998, and the Television Hall of Fame. She also holds Honoray Degrees of Universities all over the country. Cooney is still living in New York City together with her husband Peter George Peterson, a former US Secretary of Commerce.
Why I chose her for my first Person of the week?! Because when I was a child, I simply loved Sesame Street and I still like to watch it, but I never knew who had invented this show. I didn’t even think about this, as the show had always existed. It was like it had been there from the beginning of TV, but I think we should honor this lady for inventing such a wonderful show that maintains continuancy and has kept it’s high level of uniting education and entertainment. Perhaps the best example for this is the fact, that it’s still airing today, fourty years later.
And for all those who are now feeling quite melancholic a short reminder: