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Berea College graduate joins Sesame Street as puppeteer

Posted at 5:21 PM, Apr 14, 2021

BEREA, Ky. (LEX 18) — Within the last year, Sesame Street made headlines as the show tackled topics like race and equality. Well, what many of us probably didn't know, is behind one of the characters on the children's show is a Berea College graduate.

Chris Thomas Hayes stumbled upon puppetry while a student at Berea College. After graduation and a lot of hard work, Hayes earned a role as a puppeteer on Sesame Street.

"I started doing right hands for the puppets that have two live hands, like Ernie, The Count, and I would do assisting if there were any kind of weird hand-off's and I would do background characters," Hayes said.

Now, Hayes is the puppeteer for Elijah, the father, of Elmo's friend, Wes.

Chris Thomas Hayes Wes.jpg

Elijah is best known on the show as helping Wes and Elmo explore colors of their skin and explaining the concept of melanin

Within the last year, sesame street made headlines as the show tackled topics like race and equality.

"I'm just so excited to be a part of this legacy and I want to jump in and help as much as I can. Because I feel like, I've got skin in the game too. I've got kids, nephews and nieces and I want to make sure that they are set up for success in the future; educationally, socially, everything," Hayes said.

Chris Thomas Hayes on Sesame Street.jpg