Over 40 years after she co-founded Sesame Street, Joan Ganz Cooney remains as dedicated to educating children in underserved communities as ever. That’s why Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School, which names each class after a successful woman its students should emulate, named its kindergarten class after Mrs. Cooney.
The students are so appreciative of Mrs. Cooney’s support that they asked Elmo to stop by the school, located in the South Bronx, so they could record a special message thanking her.
Joan Ganz Cooney became the kindergarten class’ “namesake” in 2009. Many of the students at Girls Prep come from poor backgrounds. 100 percent of the students are African-American, Latina or of multi-racial decent. Children in communities like the South Bronx are the kind of students Mrs. Cooney was hoping to reach when Sesame Street first aired in 1969. And although they move onto the class of a different inspiring woman after they graduate kindergarten, the foundations for a lifetime of education are established while the girls are in the “JGC” class, as it is known. Every girl in the JGC class has signed the Commitment to College Completion and has a college savings account established by the school.