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4 Mar 2022

‘Abbott Elementary’ actress Quinta Brunson and ‘Good Morning America’ surprise teacher at Comegys Elementary School

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March 4, 2022 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO: Comegys Elementary School Principal Rauchaun Dupree and teacher Xiomara Robinson (pictured at the far left), “Good Morning America” co-hosts Robin Roberts and T.J. Holmes, and actress Quinta Brunson (pictured at the far right). (Photo courtesy Napoleon F. Kingcade)

By Napoleon F. Kingcade

When teacher Xiomara Robinson answered her front door early Monday morning, she had no idea what was about to happen.  It was “Good Morning America anchor T.J. Holmes and his television crew, who informed Robinson that she was going to receive a surprise at Comegys Elementary School in Southwest Philadelphia, where she teaches third grade. 

Robinson was being recognized for going above and beyond for her students.

Less than an hour later, Robinson arrived at her school. When she walked into her classroom, she was greeted by a classroom full of cheers. Robinson broke down in laughter when she saw her students cheering along with Comegys Elementary principal Rauchaun Dupree. Inside the classroom, Robinson was greeted by “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts.

Robin Roberts and Quinta Brunson (Photo courtesy Napoleon F. Kingcade)

Robinson said some great things about her students while speaking to Roberts. After the interview, Roberts welcomed Philadelphia native and actress Quinta Brunson and star of the popular new sitcom, “Abbott Elementary,” into the classroom. When Brunson walked in, Robinson hugged her. Brunson told Robinson “Abbott Elementary” was dedicated to teachers like her.

“I hope you’re enjoying all of this,” Brunson said to Robinson. “Everybody here loves you — everybody in the whole school. We make “Abbott Elementary” for teachers like you, and I’m happy you enjoy the show.”

 Brunson, who is the daughter of a schoolteacher, is the creator of the new hit comedy sitcom, which is based on a group of Philadelphia school teachers who have been capturing the hearts of viewers who watch the show every week.

After their conversation, Holmes informed Robinson that she just received $20,000 worth of books donated by Scholastic. After that surprise, Roberts introduced former Comegys student Stephen Briggs in the classroom. Briggs presented Robinson and the school with a check for $40,000 from Wells Fargo.

“Teachers are our unsung heroes and for me personally, it just feels good to be here and give back to a great cause,” said Briggs, who serves as the vice president of Wells Fargo community relations.

Before Robinson could catch her breath, Holmes led her to the window and showed her a truck full of school supplies from Staples, who donated pens, markers, papers, dry eraser boards, printers, and other school supplies. Before the program was finished, Holmes walked Robinson down the hallway and surprised her with a mural that highlighted her favorite quote, “Say it loud and Say it proud.”

 Robinson signed her name on the mural. She loved all her surprises and enjoyed the memorable experience.

Robinson said she watches “Abbott Elementary” every Tuesday night and was overjoyed when she saw Brunson walk into her classroom.  The show follows a group of teachers at a fictional Philadelphia public school as they educate students in the classroom and face the challenges of working in an underfunded school district. Brunson plays a second-grade schoolteacher named Janine Teagues. 

Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph plays kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on the show. “Abbott Elementary” made its debut last December.  Brunson named the show after her sixth-grade schoolteacher, Joyce Abbott. It has become ABC’s highest-rated TV comedy in two years.

Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution in January to celebrate Brunson for creating “Abbott Elementary.”  The resolution honors the show for recognizing Philadelphia and presenting a positive image of the city. 

GMA’s production team and ABC decided to dedicate some of their marketing revenue to a campaign focused on giving back to teachers and schools. They kicked off the campaign by honoring Robinson.

“This is amazing,” Dupree said. “Just the fact that we’re honoring a teacher like Mrs. Robinson warms my heart. But to know that when we are talking about equity — this is going to do some amazing things here at Comegys.”

For Robinson, Monday will be a day that she will always remember. 

“To be part of something like this because of the show feels fantastic,” said the proud schoolteacher. “Because of this, I feel really humbled.”

New episodes of “Abbott Elementary” air on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on ABC.  

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