The teacher who inspired Quinta Brunson‘s award-winning show Abbott Elementary, Joyce Abbott, was celebrated by the School District of Philadelphia Tuesday with a ceremony at Abbott’s alma mater, Overbrook High School, and a proclamation that Sept. 26 would be “Joyce Abbott Day.” 

“When I went into this work, I did this work not for the recognition but to truly make a difference in the life of a child,” Abbott told WPVI, Good Morning America reported.

During the ceremony, Mallory Fix-Lopez, the vice president of Philadelphia’s Board of Education, highlighted Abbott’s impact on her students and the community.

“While the show is fictional, the impact you have had on Philadelphia is very real,” Fix-Lopez said.

School District of Philadelphia Superintendent Tony Watlington added she is an exemplary educator.

“I think you just represent the very best of public education in this country ⁠— outstanding,” he said.

Sen. Vincent Hughes presented Abbot, who retired in 2022 after 27 years of teaching, with a Pennsylvania Senate citation. Philadelphia Councilmember Curtis Jones Jr. declared that 59th Street, outside of Overbrook High School, will be renamed Joyce Abbott Way.

“It means just so much. Who would’ve ever thought? It’s something that I never imagined ⁠— a street named after me,” Abbott said after receiving the honor.

Abbott also shared some advice for teachers.

“Just know that every day that you’re going in, even though every day may not be great, you are making a difference,” she said.

Philadelphia Federation of Teachers President Jerry Jordan said thanks to Abbott, stereotypes surrounding public education, urban schools and city children in Philadelphia are starting to become a thing of the past.

“You’re changing the conversation,” he told Abbott, smiling.

As Blavity reported, Brunson gushed about Abbott while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in February 2022. And when the award-winning series surprised its showrunner with the former teacher, her emotional response proved how much Abbott means to her.

“Oh my God, I’m so proud of you,” Abbott said of Brunson, adding she watched her “grow out of her shell,” which prompted Brunson to grab a nearby tissue.