US teacher Keishia Thorpe, who has opened up college education for low-income, first-generation American, immigrant and refugee students, has been named the winner of the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize 2021.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah Thoronka, a student from Sierra Leone, who invented a device that uses kinetic energy from traffic and pedestrians to generate clean power, has been named the winner of the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2021. Jeremiah is the first winner of this new $100,000 sister award to the Global Teacher Prize which is given to one exceptional student who has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.

Keishia, an English teacher at International High School Langley Park, Bladensburg, Maryland, was selected from over 8,000 nominations and applications for the Global Teacher Prize from 121 countries around the world. Jeremiah, a 21-year-old student from Freetown, Sierra Leone, was selected from over 3,500 nominations and applications for the Global Student Prize from 94 countries around the world.

Read more about Keishia’s extraordinary work

Find out more about Jeremiah and his achievements.

French actress Isabelle Huppert announced Keishia as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize, and actor and humanitarian Hugh Jackman announced Jeremiah as the winner of the inaugural Global Student Prize. The announcements were part of a virtual ceremony broadcast from UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.

Together, the Global Teacher Prize and the Global Student Prize tell inspirational stories from both sides of education. The prizes shine a spotlight on the great work teachers do in preparing young people for the future and the amazing promise some of the brightest students are showing in their learning and far beyond.

Sunny Varkey, founder of the Varkey Foundation, said:

“Congratulations to Keishia for winning the Global Teacher Prize 2021 and Jeremiah for becoming the first ever winner of the Chegg.org Global Student Prize. Their incredible stories show the vital role education plays in tackling the great challenges of today and tomorrow.”

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, said:

“Congratulations to Keishia for winning the Global Teacher Prize 2021 and Jeremiah for winning the Global Student Prize 2021. UNESCO was proud host to this year’s Global Teacher Prize ceremony at our headquarters in Paris. Inspirational teachers and extraordinary students alike deserve recognition for their commitment to education amid the learning crisis we see today. Now more than ever, we must honor and support our teachers and students as they look to rebuild a better world in the wake of COVID.”

About the Varkey Foundation

Every child, everywhere, deserves a good teacher.

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About the Global Student Prize

The Chegg.org Global Student Prize is a US$100,000 award presented to an exceptional student, making a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.

Find out more

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