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Ayo Edebiri wins Emmy, Golden Globe awards, making her Boston teachers proud

Haley Lerner
Ayo Edebiri wins Emmy, Golden Globe awards, making her Boston teachers proud
Ayo Edebiri, center, with “The Bear” cast members Jeremy Allen White, left, and Ebon Moss-Bachrach at the Golden Globe Awards. PHOTO: VISHAL JAIN

Dorchester’s own Ayo Edebiri took home her first Emmy Award Monday night, adding to her Golden Globe win on Jan. 7, both for her performance in “The Bear.”

Before her spin as chef Sydney Adamu in the Hulu comedy-drama television series “The Bear,” the Boston-raised actress learned her craft at Boston Latin School. She graduated in 2013 before heading to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Christa Crewdson was Edebiri’s eighth-grade drama teacher at Boston Latin School. Crewdson, now a teacher at Buckingham Browne & Nichols School, said Edebiri was initially a quiet student and was reluctant to go on stage. But with some convincing, the now award-winning actress thrived in the spotlight, showing a real “knack for improv.”

“It was just amazing to just remember her as an eighth-grader and then I see her on this amazing TV show,” Crewdson said. “And then to see her last night at the Golden Globes, it was just sort of surreal.”

Joseph Gels is the current theater teacher at Boston Latin School, and taught Edebiri for four years. She was part of the school’s band, a cappella group and theater productions. But her biggest focus was on improv comedy.

“I just remember that explosive energy,” Gels said. “She’d be on stage and you’re like, ‘Did I just watch an explosion on stage?’ It was an overwhelming amount of energy and stage presence.”

Crewdson said Edebiri’s acting is believable and effortless in “The Bear,” qualities that the teacher saw in her back in the eighth grade. Edebiri also starred in comedies like “Bottoms” and “Theater Camp” last year.

“I also happened to see her in the ‘Theater Camp’ movie this year, too,” Crewdson said. “She was very funny in that, as well, playing the theater teacher who didn’t know anything about teaching mask work to kids — which was great. I got a big kick out of that. She must have had a lot of fun doing that.”

Gels said Edebiri’s career success shows current students at Boston Latin that there is a place for them in the arts.

“There are so many people who are famous because their parents were famous or whatever, but Ayo is just a kid from Boston who just worked her a** off doing standup, doing improv, doing everything else under the sun to get where she is now,” Gels said. “She always had that raw talent. But raw talent is not necessarily what’s going to get you there — it’s all that work.”

This story first appeared on GBH.org. It was updated to reflect Edebiri’s Emmy Award.

"The Bear", Ayo Edebiri, Boston Latin School, Emmy Awards, Golden Globe Awards