Teenager Tempestt Bledsoe, the bubbly star on NBC's "The Cosby Show," has come a long way since her days as a withdrawn student at Edgar Allan Poe Magnet School when she didn't "talk to people a lot."

"When I started here I was a very strange, rebellious child," she told students as she received an award from the Chicago school where she attended first through fifth grades.Bledsoe, who plays Vanessa Huxtable, received a community service award for her real-life role as a crusader against drugs.

"I didn't always talk to people a lot," Bledsoe, 15, said. "This school has been a very important part of my life."

When she's not on the Cosby set, she is a junior at the Professional Children's School in New York City.