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TV Academy Awards Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship to Michelle Tessier and Sabrina Connell

On April 28 Family Communications welcomed Nancy Steingard and Michele Fowble of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, who discussed the Academy’s Fred Rogers Memorial Scholarship and introduced two recipients of the award to more than 150 guests.

Michelle Tessier told the group she has had a framed quote from Fred Rogers next to her desk since she began animating films for children. The quote reads “If it’s for the children, it needs to be the best.” While pursuing an MFA degree at UCLA’s film school, Michelle created films that offer messages of empathy, friendship and hope. In 2005, she became the first recipient of the Fred Rogers’ Memorial Scholarship. The award helped her complete production on “Camp Bean: All Things Woodsey,” Michelle won an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Student Emmy for “Camp Bean.”

Sabrina Connell recently graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Master of Arts in puppetry. With the Fred Rogers Scholarship, she is working to develop educational children’s media for the Haitian Health Foundation, an organization that provides healthcare to 200,000 people in rural Haiti. Two films in progress address proper hand washing and safe water handling and will be aired in clinics and remote villages in Haiti. In addition, she is working with the Haitian Health Foundation to help establish local youth puppet clubs for the dissemination of health information. Her desire is to continue to produce educational media for organizations serving the needs of children in the developing world.

Since 2004, the Academy of TV Arts & Science Foundation, with the generous support of Ernst and Young, has been honoring Fred Rogers’ contribution to children’s television with these scholarships. In addition to the monetary award, the recipients are mentored by children’s programming professionals to support and encourage television careers that further the values and principles of Fred Rogers’ work.

For more information on the scholarship, visit the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences website.

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