Philadelphia native Quinta Brunson's new sitcom "Abbott Elementary" on ABC has received high praise since debuting in December 2021.
The show follows a group of teachers doing the best they can in the Philadelphia public school system. Brunson, 32, named the show after her sixth grade teacher, Ms. Abbott.
While appearing as a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" on Tuesday, Brunson told host Jimmy Kimmel that the last time she had seen her former teacher was around the time she taught her, but added that she was able to speak to her not long ago.
"I got to talk to her recently," Brunson said.
"You did? Well, let's talk to her again," Kimmel said in response.
To Brunson's surprise, Ms. Abbott appeared on a video call that made the actress scream out loud and cry tears of joy.
"Oh my gosh, I'm so proud of you," Ms. Abbott said to Brunson.
The sixth grade teacher went on to explain how she learned about the show being named after her.
"Well actually it was confirmed one night when I was watching 6 ABC News, and they were talking about the "Abbott Elementary" show shortly after the pilot. And the newscaster said, 'Ms. Abbott, if you're watching, Quinta would like to connect with you' and I was like 'Oh my God!'" Ms. Abbott said.
Ms. Abbott said she was honored that Brunson named the show after her. She went on to tell Kimmel what type of student she was back in the day.
"Quinta was an awesome student," Ms. Abbott said. "When she came into my class she was really shy, timid. But as I challenged all 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.
"Quinta was an awesome student, very driven at that time. Grew out of her shell, she was really our class spokesperson... She was amazing, just amazing."
Ms. Abbott's words moved Brunson to tears, and she jokingly yelled at Kimmel for causing her to become emotional.
Kimmel then came through with a surprise, offering Ms. Abbott and a guest a five-day, all-expenses paid, first class trip after she announced she is planning to retire after almost 30 years of teaching. Brunson and Ms. Abbott both couldn't believe the kind gesture.
Brunson was born and raised in West Philadelphia, and attended Charter High School for Architecture and Design. She then attended Temple University, and started to take classes at the famous improv theater Second City in Chicago during her sophomore year. Brunson eventually chose to drop out of college and pursue a career in comedy.
"Abbott Elementary" airs on Tuesday nights on ABC at 9 p.m. ET. The show currently has a 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, with an 81% audience score, and a 7.9/10 rating on IMDb.
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