Keishia Thorpe

Keishia Thorpe

Mariah Holston, Staff Writer

Maryland high school teacher, Keishia Thorpe, won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize. The $1 million Global Teacher Prize is given every year to one masterful teacher. NBC News states, “The Global Teacher Prize is presented annually by the U.K.-based Varkey Foundation to an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to their profession. Last year’s prize went to Indian teacher Ranjitsinh Disale for transforming the lives of young girls in his village. Thorpe is the second American teacher to win the award after Maine educator Nancie Atwell claimed the inaugural prize in 2015.”

Keishia Thorpe is an English teacher at International High School at Langley Park. CBS News explains, “Thorpe redesigned the 12th grade English curriculum to make it culturally relevant to her students, who include first-generation Americans, immigrants, and refugees, the foundation said. She also assists students with applying for college and scholarships, helping them win $6.7 million in scholarships in the 2018-2019 school year, according to the foundation.” Keishia Thorpe is a Jamaican woman who came to the United States on a track and field scholarship. Thorpe’s passion for track and field started at a young age. Her passion led her to the founding of her nonprofit United States Elite International Track and Field.

The goal of the nonprofit is to help student athletes all over the world. Keishia Thorpe and her sister, Dr. Treisha Thorpe, uses the foundation to assist student athletes in using their talents to go after scholarships. Records show that they have helped over 500 students obtain full track and field scholarships. Thorpe was selected out of more than 8,000 applications from 121 different countries. When accepting her award, Thorpe expressed her gratitude for the foundation and explained the importance of education. Keishia Thorpe states, “‘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. 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.’” Thorpe told NBC news, “‘My students are the reason I’m here, and if I don’t think about how I can use that to elevate them and to also create a better future for them — who am I without my students?’” After her speech, Gordon Brown: the United Nations special envoy for global education, former United Kingdom prime minister, and former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon congratulated Thorpe on her achievements. Brown states, “‘Keishia’s inspirational story reminds us of the critical importance of teachers and education, particularly in these difficult times.’” Thorpe plans to use her $1 million prize to help more student-athletes gain access to college scholarships.