Virginia Cossaboon was my husband’s great aunt. I found this article, titled “Women of Achievement” in the 15 March 1936 issue of the Buffalo Courier-Express. She was a kindergarten teacher, and apparently very passionate about education. I love all of the details about her exciting travels and hobbies. It sounds like she lived a wonderful life.
THELMA VIRGINIA COSSABOON, kindergarten teacher at School No. 52, is president of the Buffalo Kindergarten Council and secretary of the Buffalo Teachers’ Federation. Miss Cossaboon enjoys children and loves her work with them. She brings to it enthusiasm, appreciation of the fine arts, and a wholesome, happy outlook on life that should give youngsters just the right start in school.
“Kindergarten is extremely important.” Miss Cossaboon maintains. “It makes the child independent, reliable, and co-operative, sows the seeds of appreciation of art and music, and above all else, teachers him creative expression.”
Appeal of Children
Miss Cossaboon is the sort of person who finds joy in everything she does, whether it’s playing the organ in her father’s church – the Methodist Church of Marilla – or riding down the Grand Canyon on the back of a mule which she did a few years ago. To her, the spontaneity and enthusiasm of children appeal strongly.
“I am fascinated by their complete freedom from self-consiousness and their unrestrained frankness,” she said.
Born at Alexandria, Va., she has lived in Western New York since childhood. Her father, the Rev. Nicholas Cossaboon, has been a pastor in Lockport, Buffalo, and other Western New York communities, Miss Cossaboon well remembers the donation parties that used to be given for her family. To her, as a child, they were thrilling events, with a trail of chickens, jellies and all sorts of goodies.
She is a graduate of Masten Park High School, the Buffalo State Teachers College, and the University of Buffalo. Since 1926, she has been a teacher of small children, first in the Lockport schools with which she was identified for two years, and subsequently in this city.
“Teachers,” she says, “are often misunderstood because some of them tend to carry over their classroom attitudes into outside activities. The precision, essential in giving clear explanations to pupils, may be applied to dress and manner or the frank criticisms and detailed direction of others may seep into friendship. But this is far less prevalent today than formerly; for teachers are developing more and more varied recreations and channels of expression apart from the classroom, and are making the most of their individuality.”
Directs Church Choir
A musician of ability, Miss Cossaboon has been organist and choir director of the Methodist Church of Marilla for four years and was accompanist for the Crystal Quartet, composed chiefly of Chromatic Club members. Travel is another of her hobbies, and she believes in “seeing American first.” She passed the Christmas vacation in New Orleans, delighting in the hospitality and quaintness of that city. With three friends, she motored to California one summer, taking plenty of time for the trip, and stopping at the Chicago Fair and every art gallery or scenic place that appealed to the group.
Every weekend, she leaves her pleasant apartment at 378 Elmwood Avenue for her parents’ home in Marilla. She is active in such village organizations as the Graduates’ Association, composed of high school and college students completing the Marilla school course.
Music by modern composers ranging from De Bussy to Gerschwin interest her, and she likes to browse through all sorts of books from Don Quixote to contemporary poetry. Lighter diversions, such as dancing, skating, bicycling and golf also claim her leisure hours.
In 1934, Miss Cossaboon attended the convention of the National Association for Childhood Education, and returned to her work positively brimming over with constructive ideas.
She is a member of the Buffalo Women Teachers’ Association and Beta Mu Sigma Sorority.