Ms. Joyce Abbott, the inspiration for the hit sitcom “Abbot Elementary,” was recognized on Tuesday by the School District of Philadelphia. Quinta Brunson, a former Abbott student and the creator of “Abbott Elementary,” named the award-winning show “Abbott Elementary” in her honor.
Abbott recently resigned after 27 years of service as an educator who impacted hundreds of lives, including Brunson’s. Many attendees welcomed and praised her accomplishments. Mallory Fix-Lopez, Vice President of the Board of Education, stated, “While the show is fictional, the impact you had was very real.”
School District Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., also remarked of the honoree, “I think you just represent the very best of public education in this country.”
Abbott received a citation from the state senate. “Not everyone is lucky enough to obtain one of these. “It has to be approved by the entire senate,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Vincent Hughes.
In Abbott’s honor, 59th Street near Lancaster Avenue has been renamed “Joyce Abbott Way,” according to city council member Curtis Jones. As part of the ceremony, her alma mater, Overbrook High School, inducted her into the school’s Hall of Fame.
Overwhelmed by the show of affection and praise, Abbott said after the celebration, “When I went into this work, I did this not for the recognition but to truly make a difference in the life of a child.”
“It means so much. Who would have ever thought?” she said, according to ABC7 News.
She encouraged other teachers to be aware that they are making a difference whenever they go to work, even if every day might not be great.
Recounting her experience as a teacher, Abbot disclosed, “When I started my teaching career, it really meant a whole lot to me. It was very difficult.”
“But I was an active member of my community, so I was aware and understood the many challenges and obstacles with my community,” she said, according to The Philadelphia Tribune. “I had a true passion to help my community and make a difference. One good year can change the trajectory of a student’s life forever. Just like one bad year can change the trajectory of a student’s life forever.”
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Abbott taught for 27 years after serving in the Persian Gulf War. In 2022, she will retire from Philadelphia schools as the climate manager at Andrew Hamilton Elementary in West Philadelphia.