It was a million-dollar celebration, punctuated by shrieks of joy, streams of tears and vice grip hugs. The kind you’d wish you had … or at least that a good friend did.
If you saw it, you couldn’t help but cheer for Keishia Thorpe, winner of the Global Teacher Prize.
The $1 million honor is awarded annually to an educator who has made an outstanding contribution to the classroom.
“It was amazing. It was such a proud moment for me,” said Thorpe, who teaches at the International High School at Langley Park, Maryland, in suburban Washington, D.C.
Teacher Keishia Thorpe reacts after winning the Global Teacher Prize 2021 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, on Nov. 10, 2021. “Track and field was my savior” as a young person, she told Fox News.
(BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
Thorpe has pledged to use the money to expand educational opportunities for students all over the globe. And although she admits that the winning moment itself seemed to play out in slow motion, that’s actually in sharp contrast to her very busy life, which tends to move at the speed of a hummingbird’s wings.
How busy, you ask?
Well, when she’s not teaching in the classroom (regularly putting in 70-hour work weeks), she’s coaching students in track and field. It’s a fitting refuge for a former collegiate sprinter who made it all the way to the Olympic trials, where she represented her home country of Jamaica.
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“I would say track and field was my savior, because if I didn’t get a track scholarship, honestly, I don’t know what the trajectory of my life would have been today,” said Thorpe.
It was during her college years on a track scholarship at Howard University in Washington, D.C., that Thorpe caught the “bug” to teach, following a stint as a tutor for low-income students.
“It triggered something in me,” she said.
Teacher Keishia Thorpe poses after winning the Global Teacher Prize 2021 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, on Nov. 10, 2021. When she won the award, she says the first person she thought of was her grandmother. “I just wished that she was able to be there in that moment with me,” Thorpe told Fox News.
(BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)
“My dream is to change the world,” she added.
Indeed, Thorpe appears to be doing just that.
One student told Fox News that Thorpe is a dedicated teacher who “makes sure that students understand exactly what they’re doing. She tries to connect us to her own life.”
“When you grow up in poverty and you make it out, you have an obligation to give back.”
— Keishia Thorpe to Fox News, citing her grandmother’s advice
It’s a life that began in Jamaica, where Thorpe grew up with her twin sister and lived with her grandmother.
“One thing my grandmother also taught me is that, when you grow up in poverty and you make it out, you have an obligation to give back.”
Whether on the track or in the classroom, Thorpe gives back every day.
“Every student deserve the right to an education,” says Thorpe, “and I want to be that person who championed that for them.”
Indeed, from the moment you meet her, you almost see the spark behind her eyes, a flame that burns brightly, carrying the torch of knowledge for the next generation.
It was a journey encapsulated on the amazing day she won the Global Teacher’s Prize, even though a very special person in her life had to watch it all from beyond the veil.
“The first person that came to my mind was my grandmother. And that was when I started breaking down. I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness is she seeing this? Can she see this?’ I just wished that she was able to be there in that moment with me,” said Thorpe.
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While that’s a feeling many people can relate to, for Thorpe, that particular moment was more than an emotional snapshot in time best shared with family — living and past.
It was one of the many building blocks of an unfinished history that all of us as members of the American family can earnestly celebrate together.
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To learn more about Keishia Thorpe, see the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it.
Maryland teacher Keishia Thorpe, winner of Global Teacher Prize, inspires many appeared first on maserietv.com.