“Quinta was an awesome student,” Ms. Joyce Abbott told talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel as Brunson wiped away tears.
Quinta Brunson, the creator of one of the hottest shows currently on television, was surprised on Jimmy Kimmel Live! by someone who inspired her current, red-hot career path.
The actress has previously shared that her mother, a former Philadelphia-area teacher, inspired her hit ABC show Abbott Elementary, but Brunson actually had a special teacher who she honored personally in the title of the show.
“Abbott Elementary” creator Quita Brunson had a sweet surprise reunion with the teacher who inspired the show’s name. (Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Ms. Joyce Abbott was Brunson’s sixth-grade teacher. On Kimmel’s late-night show Tuesday, Brunson said, “I got to talk to her recently,” per PEOPLE.
Kimmel responded, “You did? Well, let’s talk to her again.”
In the surprise virtual reunion, Ms. Abbott shared that she was proud of Brunson, who shed tears as she watched the video.
Kimmel asked, “What kind of kid was she?”
“Quinta was an awesome student,” Ms. Abbott said, as Brunson wiped away tears with a tissue. “When she came into my class, she was really shy, timid. But as I challenged all of my students, we had to speak in complete sentences. I built their confidence that whatever you want in life, you can do it. You have to work hard.”
Ms. Abbott said she will soon be retiring after nearly 30 years as an elementary school teacher. Kimmel shared that as a gift, he will be sending her and a guest on an all-expense paid trip — adding, “You don’t have to take Quinta with you, but she did name a show after you.”
Brunson’s mid-season hit has a mockumentary style similar to The Office and Parks and Recreation, and on it she plays ever-optimistic second-grade teacher Janine Teagues, who learns and grows in every episode. Brunson says she has been “overwhelmed” by the show’s success.
She told Harper’s Bazaar: “To have only had a few episodes [air] and just for it to be an abundance of love, conversation and just enjoyment of the show is just so, like, I don’t know. I am just so happy, so overwhelmed. It was weird to feel like I had to pull back from Twitter because of too much positivity. I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with so many nice messages and nice comments.’”
Abbott Elementary airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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