Abbott Elementary's namesake honored with portrait, office renaming

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Abbott Elementary's namesake honored with portrait, office renaming
Abbott Elementary's namesake honored with portrait, office renaming

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A beloved educator and the namesake of the hit ABC show "Abbott Elementary" received high honors from the School District of Philadelphia on Wednesday when the district named a school office after her.

Joyce Abbott returned to Andrew Hamilton School in Cobbs Creek, where she taught for more than 25 years. The district named the office in the school after her and unveiled a portrait of her standing beside her most famous student, Quinta Brunson, and Abbott's 102-year-old mother, who also worked in the district.

"We are gathered to celebrate a legend of this building and this district," said Principal Torrence Rothmiller.

Staff, students, and fellow teachers welcomed Abbott with cheers as she entered the school. The district says it's proud of how the ABC show honors both Abbott and the school.

"Not only does it showcase all the talent we have here in this school district, it makes us think about the legacy of Joyce Abbott," said Dr. Tony Watlington, the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia.

Miss Abbott was a teacher, dean, and climate manager at Hamilton. She was also Brunson's teacher when the actress and producer was in the 6th grade.

"It was never about recognition for me," Abbott told the crowd.

Retired now, Miss Abbott says her life has drastically changed in the last three years, but her approach to teaching has remained the same.

"It was done out of my belief and out of my passion that every student could achieve and I set the expectations very high," she said.

Still, the honors keep coming.

Next on the agenda for Miss Abbott will be hosting the Pennsylvania Conference for Women this fall along with "Abbott Elementary" star Sheryl Lee Ralph.

"I'm just humbly honored. Who would ever imagine? When I set out for this work, I never, ever imagined receiving accolades of this level," Abbott said.

The season 3 finale of "Abbott Elementary" is Wednesday night on 6abc.