Teachers are some of the most hardworking individuals in the world and Quinta Brunson is making sure they feel celebrated.
The breakout star and creator of ABC’s Abbott Elementary has partnered up with Box Tops For Education to honor educators across the globe for Teacher Appreciation Week, spotlighting those who have changed the lives of others by asking parents to share stories about the child’s favorite teacher.
Shoppers that download the Box Tops for Education app and enter code “TEACHERSMAKEUSBETTER” during registration can earn $5 for their school of choice when they scan a receipt.
“I think it's just in my nature to want to give back to teachers,” Brunson told BET.com in an interview.
“I felt that I couldn't make a show like this without also doing something to try my best to assist teachers in a positive way,” admits Brunson who was educated in the Philadelphia public school system. “Box Tops for Education has really been a vital part of children's education for years and helping kids reach their fullest potential. I felt that this was a great partnership in order to do a little bit more to advocate for children's development and children's education. I remember being such a big part of my own education with that feeling still remaining — I kind of want to give that feeling to other kids and teachers.”
Brunson was recently virtually reunited with her sixth-grade teacher, the woman whose name is the inspiration behind the hit ABC series. Brunson was brought to tears to speak to Joyce Abbott during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! and shared with us how the moment made her feel.
“Miss Abbott was so good at making me a more confident human being,” Brunson began.
“I think that's the great thing about teachers sometimes — it's not always as simple as something she said. It's the constant day after day support you get from teachers like her that can't be quantified to just one thing she said or taught me. It was day after day building up of me while doing the same with other students, which is fascinating to me.”
Brunson also expressed that she wished more people would realize that teachers as people too who make mistakes and need room to grow.
“The earlier kids can kind of realize that the better. Teachers are full-grown people and God did not make them to just teach you — they have lives. I think once you realize that, it changes how you see them.”
After making it through a successful 13-episode first season, fans of “Abbott Elementary” can’t wait to see what happens between the entertaining group of educators, the precious students, their inappropriate principal, and never handy handyman/custodian.
Brunson, unfortunately, isn’t spilling the tea on what’s coming up next, especially when it comes to special guest stars stopping by.
“We really operate kind of from writing first — we haven't been thinking about guest stars as we write these new episodes,” Brunson shared.
“People will audition for them and if they're new talent that no one has ever seen before, then that's super exciting. If it's a familiar face that people know, that's exciting, too. For instance, when we did the first season, Orlando Jones was not even thought of when we were writing Tyler’s dad. He just happened to have the time to audition and he was perfect. We're always just thinking [of the] character first, and not necessarily the actor who can play it but just making sure we're building strong characters. And we're operating in the same way for season two.”
Brunson also finds the fans' obsession with the growing platonic to romantic relationship between her character second-grade teacher, Janine, and first-grade teacher Gregory (played by Tyler James Williams) to be all kinds of funny. The only spoiler she would share is that we can expect “more fun” from the characters in season two. And, we are definitely here for the ride.
Ty Cole is a New York-based entertainment reporter and writer for BET.com who covers pop culture, music, and lifestyle. Follow his latest musings on Twitter @IamTyCole.
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