A Maryland high school English teacher was awarded a $1 million Global Teacher Prize as recognition for the work she’s done to help her students strive for a college education.
Keishia Thorpe, a Prince George’s County teacher at the International High School in Langley Park, beat out more than 8,000 applicants from 121 countries, the Varkey Foundation announced on Wednesday.
“Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it. So this recognition is not just about me, but about all the dreamers who work so hard and dare to dream of ending generational poverty,” Thorpe remarked in the ceremony that was streamed online.
Thorpe was extremely appreciative that the foundation was highlighting the importance of teachers and promoting their stories.
“This is to encourage every little Black boy and girl that looks like me, and every child in the world that feels marginalized and has a story like mine, and felt they never mattered,” she continued.
Thorpe had the keen perception to revamp the 12th grade English curriculum so it would be culturally applicable to her students comprised of first-generation Americans, immigrants and refugees that hailed from Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, South and Central America.
“Every child needs a champion, an adult who will never ever give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists they become the very best they can be. This is why teachers will always matter. Teachers matter,” Thorpe emphatically attests.
The backstory of her students undoubtedly resonates with the celebrated teacher who migrated to the United States from Jamaica with the support of a track and field scholarship. Understanding how sports helped her gain an education and propelled her into her current career, she established the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track and Field with her twin sister, Dr. Treisha Thorpe.
The intrepid pair sought to assist “at-risk” student-athletes from all over the world to use their athletic abilities to secure scholarships to U.S. colleges and universities, the Varkey Foundation stated.
Thorpe was previously awarded by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan the Medal of Excellence for creating equitable strategies in the field of education. She was also granted the National LIfe Changer of the Year award for 2018-2019.