A high school teacher from Maryland has earned the Varkey Foundation’s $1 million Global Teacher Prize.
Keishia Thorpe, a teacher at International High School at Langley Park in Prince George’s County, was selected from more than 8,000 nominations of educators from 121 countries worldwide, CBS News reports.
Per the foundation, Thorpe “completely redesigned the 12th-grade curriculum for the English department to make it culturally relevant to her students who are first-generation Americans, immigrants, or refugees from mostly Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and South and Central America.”
“Education is a human right, and all children should be entitled to have access to it,” Thorpe said during the ceremony. “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,” she added.
Here’s more from Black Enterprise:
Her work as a teacher includes reworking the 12th grade English curriculum to make it more representative of her students and launching college readiness initiatives that won students $6.7 million in scholarships during the 2018-2019 school year,
Thorpe, a native of Jamaica who came to American on a track and field scholarship, got an early start on advocating for education. Along with her twin sister Dr. Treisha Thorpe, the two founded the nonprofit U.S. Elite International Track and Field that aims to help “at-risk” student-athletes around the world pursue scholarships to U.S. colleges and universities.
The nonprofit aims to help give “‘at risk’ student-athletes across the globe an opportunity to use their talents as a vehicle to access fully funded scholarships to U.S. colleges and universities,” the Varkey Foundation stated.
For the 2018-2019 school year, Thorpe was named National Life Changer of the Year, and she also received the Medal of Excellence from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.
“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. “This is why teachers will always matter. Teachers matter.”
“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.”
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