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"Abbott Elementary" namesake Joyce Abbott honored with mural, dedication at Quinta Brunson's former school

"Abbott Elementary" namesake honored with mural at Andrew Hamilton School
"Abbott Elementary" namesake honored with mural at Andrew Hamilton School 00:23

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Quinta Brunson named her hit award-winning series "Abbott Elementary" after a teacher who inspired her. 

On Wednesday, the real-life Ms. Abbott was honored at Andrew Hamilton School, where Brunson was once a student in her class. A painting now hangs in the office showing Abbott, Brunson and Abbott's 102-year-old mother, and the office has been renamed to the Joyce Abbott Office in her honor.

Abbott, now retired from the School District of Philadelphia, was in tears as she spoke about understanding the impact she had on Brunson's life and those of other students.

"It was never about recognition for me, so all of this ... I'm humbly honored. It was about making a difference in the life of a child," Abbott said through tears.

Abbott also served as a dean and climate manager at Hamilton before retirement.

"So many students have been coming up to me and saying 'It's because of you. 'It's because of you, Ms. Abbott, that I was able to do this, it's because of you.' Even when it's a trash man who said 'You proud of me, Ms. Abbott?' I say yes, you holding down a city job. And taking care of your family, I'm very proud of you," Abbott said.


"You never know the impact that you are having. And if you make a difference in the life of one child, you will rest very well at night," Abbott added.

Abbott encouraged everyone to stick with it and have faith.

"All of us have perseverance. When Quinta went out, it was difficult for her, and she had a dream, but she didn't give up. And all of us have been through a lot, but we were determined and pushed forward in spite of. So I encourage you to keep moving forward in spite of. You are making a difference."

Abbott also sought to encourage other teachers in the audience.

"You never know the lives that you touch," Abbott said. "You are making a difference."

Superintendent Tony Watlington, Hamilton Principal Torrence Rothmiller and Abbott's successor, Climate Manager Darren White-Green, were all there along with other invited guests on Wednesday at the K-8 school, on 57th and Spruce streets in West Philadelphia.

"I appreciate you and everybody in the building does as well," White-Green told Abbott.

Brunson was awarded best actress in a comedy series at the 75th Primetime Emmy Awards. She recently served as commencement speaker at Temple University and received an honorary degree as well as a Lew Klein Excellence in the Media Award.

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