Maryland high school teacher wins $1M Global Teacher Prize

Jamaican-born Maryland educator Keishia Thorpe wins $1 million Global Teacher Prize. Yuliya Talmazan (NBC News): “’That’s why I go so hard for my students — because my story is their story,’ Keishia Thorpe told NBC News.” [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]

Keishia Thorpe jumped up and down, then broke down in tears when she found out she won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize.

On Wednesday her students in Bladensburg, Maryland, gathered together to watch the virtual ceremony and shouted with joy as their teacher’s name was announced.

The high school teacher was given the award for her work mentoring and making college education accessible for students who are first-generation Americans, immigrants or refugees. “Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it,” Thorpe, 42, said in a pre-recorded video message during a ceremony broadcast online from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris.

“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,” Thorpe said in the video. “This is exactly why teachers will always matter.” 

Thorpe, who teaches English at the International High School at Langley Park in Bladensburg, was selected from more than 8,000 nominations and applications from 121 countries around the world, according to the Varkey Foundation that organizes the annual prize. 

Thorpe grew up in Jamaica, and came to the United States on a track and field scholarship.

“When I think about the students and how much their parents are sacrificing for them just to have an equitable education, it reminds me so much of my own journey,” she told NBC News’ Kate Snow from Paris.

Thorpe found out she won last week and was in the French capital Wednesday to pick up her award.

“And so that’s why I go so hard for my students — because my story is their story,” Thorpe added. 

[Keishia Thorpe, center, picked up her award in Paris.Bertrand Guay / AFP via Getty Images.]
For original article, see and

Jamaica-born US educator Keishia Thorpe wins 2021 Global Teacher Prize
Lester Hinds, Jamaica Gleaner, November 11, 2021

Jamaican-Born, Keishia Thorpe, a Maryland educator wins $1 million Global Teacher Prize, November 11, 2021

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