Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship

It has been a very exciting and busy month. Two weeks ago I flew out to Pittsburgh, PA (one of my favorite American cities) to receive the Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship from the Television Academy Foundation. In addition to the amazing folks from the TV Academy (truly organized and looking out for our very best interest), I met some incredible people! Joanne Rogers was described to me as Mrs. Claus. She is so joyful and her love for the work that people are creating in Fred's name is infectious! I had a chance to finally meet Dr. Alice Wilder and Angela Santomero who created Blue's Clues and published all of their research which was very, very helpful in the academic planning of my series. Milton Chen spoke about creativity, education, and the future. He was truly inspirational, and his book is absolutely on my summer reading list!

I was able to attend all sessions of the Fred Forward Conference in Latrobe, PA, and saw some innovative projects that I'm sure we'll be seeing publicly in the very near future. The scholarship portion of the conference was very meaningful. Mr. Rogers has always been one of my idols and inspirations. To hear some of his former colleagues talk about how much he would have appreciated my speech and talking to me about my project really touched me. The big check (pictured above) made the night even more thrilling! I look forward to creating work that would make Fred proud and carry out his message to young people of subsequent generations. In the following weeks, I'll be posting tid bits about my project. The details of it will remain under wraps until it is complete, but I look forward to sharing the highlights!

Upon my return from Pennsylvania, I shared something special with my students, an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Many of them recognized him from the PBS website, but the program was still very new to them! They were mesmerized and completely silent for 25 minutes (which is a challenge for this group). After we watched, we talked a little bit about Mr. Rogers, puppets, and my trip. We made paper bag puppets that week and created characters. It was the highlight of my year! Thank you, Fred!

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