'Abbott Elementary' creator gifts West Philadelphia students at alma mater with free books - Mastery Charter School

‘Abbott Elementary’ creator gifts West Philadelphia students at alma mater with free books

by Beccah Hendrickson

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Students and teachers at a West Philadelphia charter school are getting a vital gift thanks to the school’s most famous alumna.

Quinta Brunson, the creator and star of Abbott Elementary on 6abc, gifted kids at Mastery Harrity Elementary Charter School two free books each at a Scholastic book fair. Teachers also got 10 free books.

“Abbott Elementary” partnered with Scholastic for the initiative, which will be funding similar book fairs around the country, but Brunson wanted to start with the school that inspired her hit show.

“Besides now that it’s a bright, positive place – the lights work, the toilets flush, the copier has paper in it,” said Scott Gordon, the CEO of Mastery Charter Schools, who noted the school is a lot different than when Brunson attended.

“Most of the time when I watch, I’m just really grateful that I’m not in that anymore. We have everything that we need and watching the show shows me how far we’ve really come,” said Amanda Vannostrand, a second-grade teacher.

When Brunson went to the school 20 years ago, it was Harrity Elementary, a public school in Philadelphia School District. While it’s a charter now, it is still open to kids who live in the West Philadelphia attendance zone, which the school says is important for a lot of reasons.

“There is no reason why any kid in this country should be in a school that is anything less than the best school,” said Vannostrand.

Kids in the school do face challenges, as the school in a zip code where the Pew Charitable Trust says as many as 30% of residents live below the poverty line.

For these students, access to resources like books is vital, and a good education can help shape their future.

“Most of the people care, like my older brother went to a good college, like Cheyney, an HBCU college after this school,” said Fatima Jalloh, a 6th grader at the school.