In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week and to highlight the importance of travel and education, Norwegian Cruise Line relaunched its Giving Joy contest on May 3, 2021, honoring and celebrating the countless teachers who have given their all to students, virtually or in person over the last year.
The below top 100 educators across the U.S. and Canada received the most votes and won a free seven-day cruise for two for a vacation of a lifetime!
Now, these winners are in the running for one of three grand prizes benefitting their school and students. NCL will award the Grand Prize winner with the most votes a $25,000 donation for his or her school, while the second and third place winners will receive a $15,000 and $10,000 donation respectively for their schools.
Tune in on Aug. 19, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT for the Norwegian’s Giving Joy Awards event, where the three Grand Prize winners will be announced. The celebratory ceremony will be open to the public and can be streamed live at www.NCLGivingJoyLivestreamEvent.com and Facebook.
GRAND PRIZE WINNERS
$35,000 FOR REDFORD UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT | REDFORD, MI
A hard and dedicated educator who is committed to his community and students. He was nominated by channel 4 as teacher of the year and has served his community during the pandemic. He is engaging and his students love him and appreciate him a lot. Mr. Thakker has worked tirelessly during the pandemic to make sure his students stay safe and engaged. He went above and beyond to secure over 8,000 face masks for the district and over 300 Air Filtration Units for the classrooms so that the students and staff would be safe. Mr. Thakker has been recognized for his community service by various news channels and has even been published in a magazine. He is a true role model. He even went to Kenya where he fed over 2,000 homeless children and does the same for the homeless in Detroit yearly. He was even able to get over 100 new basketballs from the Detroit Pistons which he then gave to his students as a way to make them smile during this difficult year. Like I said a role model. Shyam Thakker works multiple jobs and is also an amazing father to his 17-year-old daughter. He represents the Redford Union School District with pride and definitely deserves this award.
$15,000 FOR KRAFT MEADOWS MIDDLE SCHOOL | CALEDONIA, MI
David Sowerby is an inspirational Orchestra Teacher in Caledonia, MI. He has battled through massive amounts of health issues including ulcerative colitis, primary sclerosing cholangitis, a liver transplant, and currently a Whipple procedure for cholangiocarcinoma. David has been currently hospitalized for 65 days and until this point had taught orchestra right up until his surgery. Even during his health issues, he worked his very hardest to be an inspiration to his students, making sure that they excelled even as he fought his own medical battles. He has grown the orchestra program to the thriving program that it currently is. He was nominated as a Rockstar Teacher by his Principal and continues to be a rockstar. His plans are to return to the classroom in the fall. This prize would allow him a very deserved break from the constant medical worries and constant worry about his students, classroom, and family. While not teaching he is a cherished father of 3 – a set of 17 year old twins and an 11 year old.
$10,000 FOR EVANS HIGH SCHOOL | ORLANDO, FL
Ms. Steadman teaches AP Environmental Science and Honors Envir. Science at Evans High School which is a Title 1 School in Orlando, FL. She consistently goes above and beyond to ensure that all her students are engaged and understanding the material. She makes learning exciting with all the fun labs and activities she brings into the classroom. This year with the pandemic, doing labs was difficult but she found labs that students in class and at home could participate in and enjoy. She spends many hours outside of school planning lessons to ensure her students are ready to pass their AP test. Last year was her first year doing AP EnvirSci and she increased the pass rate by 700%. Ms. Steadman doesn’t just teach. She also sponsors the Student Government Association (SGA) SEL-ebrate club and coaches boys/girls swim team and girls soccer. With SGA, Ms. Steadman does her best to make every students voice heard and brings fun activities to lunches and after school. This year even with the pandemic she hosted lunchtime games, spirit days, and club meetings after school for students to bond virtually and in person. Ms. Steadman is the teacher that students know they can go to for anything, even those she has never taught before!
Somerset Parkland Academy
Mr. Sage taught my daughter for two consecutive years he is THE best teacher his passion to help a child unlock their potential goes far and above normal...
George Washington Carver Elementary School
Coral Gables, FL
Alexandra Dominguez is in her 9th year of teaching at G.W. Carver Elementary. She has the challenging role of teaching 5th grade both virtually and in person...
Middle College High School
Mr. Dino has been an advocate for the advancement of science education. He has participated in many state-sponsored workshops and training for science teachers...
Ednovate, USC Hybrid High School
Los Angeles, CA
Andrea immigrated to the US with her parents at the age of 4 from Latin America thanks to her efforts she was able to obtain her bachelor's degree and then her...
GECDSB - Program Department
Andrea is a stellar educator who puts her heart and soul into all she does to inspire other educators and make a difference in the lives of so many. She...
Mariposa Elementary School
Mrs. Maurer is the most amazing teacher! She makes Kindergarten magical for children and their families. She always goes above and beyond for her students. She...
Doral Academy Elementary
Angie has been a beloved teacher at Doral Academy since the school opened its doors in 2000. Every morning she greets her students with a huge smile & hug....
Greater Essex County District School Board
Angeline is an exceptional educator with vast knowledge and experience particularly in Kindergarten and French Education. She is a strong advocate for children...
General McLane School District
Anna Elliott is a student support teacher. As seen in her pictures she is a super hero teacher! Mrs Elliot normalizes with her students she gets to their level...
Park Trails Elementary
Mrs. Luca is the most deserving loving and supportive teacher there is. I have had the privilege of being her daughter for the past 18 years and her beautiful...
Inlet Grove High School
Riviera Beach, FL
Ms. Goldstein has been an educator for over 10 years working with struggling readers in high school. She has an exceptional pass rate for the reading...
Evans High School
Ms. Steadman teaches AP Environmental Science and Honors Envir. Science at Evans High School which is a Title 1 School in Orlando FL. She consistently goes...
Brenda Cowan Elementary School
Mr. Austin Vahle is the drama teacher at Brenda Cowan Elementary (BCE). While he is only in his second year of teaching he has made significant contributions...
Sheridan Technical High School
Fort Lauderdale, FL
My goal is to have my students feel like they are heard valued and respected in my English class. I want to see my students hearts and their stories. There are...
Binks Forest Elementary
I am nominating Mrs. Brandie Soto for this generous award sponsored by NCL. Mrs. Soto is a proud educator of Palm Beach County home of the Binks Forest...
Colfax K-8 (Pittsburgh Public Schools)
Mr. Payne goes above and beyond for his special education students as well as ALL students at his school. Mr. Payne teaches through his passion for music and...
Lyon Magnet School
This year my dad has not only been my teacher at home remote but he has welcomed 37 of his students into our house. He has taught his 5th graders from a...
Burwell Public School
After 21 years of teaching I would like to have the opportunity to try something I have never done before and that is take a cruise. Teaching in a rural...
I am nominating Cary Cabrera for this remarkable award because she is a phenomenal educator and an outstanding person. She goes above and beyond for her...
East Stroudsburg High School North
Dingmans Ferry, PA
Catherine is a seasoned teacher but has the energy of a newbie. She is a rockstar being the advisor for the senior class student government yearbook and...
George Washington Carver Elementary School
Coral Gables, FL
Claudia C·mara has been an elementary school teacher for 13 years in the state of Florida. She is currently teaching a 4th and 5th grade gifted class at G. W....
Florida Virtual School
Pre-Algebra teacher Air Force Veteran volunteers in the community helping in youth sports and high school...
Dodson Branch School
Mrs. Courtney has been an angel for our family. While trying to navigate the craziness of Covid-19 schooling she has been patient and supportive. Add into this...
Cunningham Elementary Austin Independent School District
Like all teachers Darletta's year was very challenging. It began before COVID when her mom suffered a stroke during Thanksgiving which caused Darletta and her...
Kraft Meadows Middle School
David Sowerby is an inspirational Orchestra Teacher in Caledonia MI. He has battled through massive amounts of health issues including ulcerative colitis...
Crossroad Academy Charter School of Business
De'Garryan is an amazing teacher with 11 years experience. He works hard for his students and is very passionate about helping all students succeed. As a new...
Hato Rey, PR
For my passion to teach and hard work. I dedicate most of my time to help my student not just in their classes but in give them thecnics to make good decisions...
Maggie Cordova Elementary
Rio Rancho, NM
I would love to nominate my mom. She is not only a teacher but a breast cancer survivor twice in her life. Through all rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries....
Mabel Hoggard Magnet ES
Las Vegas, NV
Ms. Mack has taught over 4600 children in her 34-year career. As a final gift to her students and school she wants to win a cash prize for the beloved animals...
Yeshiva Derech HaTorah
Mrs. Hacker has been a math teacher for 23 years and is currently teaching 6 classes in two different schools as well as helping students with after school...
Multicultural Arts School
Ed Cisneros is a theatre teacher that has been giving his students his all for over 14 years. He has always chosen to remain at his public neighborhood high...
Cooper City High School
Cooper City, FL
Elyse is the most caring and passionate teacher around. Her relationship with her students is by far one of the best relationships I've seen between a teacher...
Conrad Schools of Science
I'd like to nominate my husband because he and his students have had a tough year of transition due to the pandemic where he has helped his students learn and...
C.A. Boswell Elementary School
Serving as a teacher in a low income area for over 30 years Francis contiues to go out of her way to help her students succeed. She selflessly invests her...
Aiea High School
My husband Gabriel Kealoha is a high school history and social studies teacher for 9th graders at Aiea High in Hawaii. He is currently facing his second battle...
True North Classical Academy
Mrs. Zapata is a Kinder teacher at True North Classical Academy. Her nickname is Mary Poppins because she loves wearing dresses making people smile &...
Boynton Beach, FL
Ms. Hamilton is a phenomenal Kindergarten teacher. Her love passion & dedication to make an impact on her children is incomparable. Every day she greets...
Coral Cove Elementary School
Jade Pudsey is an awe-inspiring elementary school teacher. She always goes the extra mile spending many nights and weekends working on new ways to engage and...
Sierra Verde STEAM Academy
I am nominating Janet Cerjak because she's not your ordinary teacher she's so much more.She went into teaching due to her love for kids and to develop young...
Wynford Local Schools
Mr. Cox is a middle school social studies teacher at Wynford Local Schools in Bucyrus Ohio. He has a passion for teaching diversity and modeling to his...
Canton High School
Jeff Blakeslee or JB as most students call him is a faciliteacher unlike any other. I had the pleasure of being JB's student for three classes- Honors...
Dublin Coffman High School
Miss Miltner loves teaching and she especially loves teaching her kids (as she calls us). This year was hard on all of our teachers and they all did an amazing...
Cumberland High School
she's the best teacher ever and does so much for her students! She deserves a...
ST John Fisher School
Mrs. Grenz has been making magic as a first grade teacher for our kids for over 30 years. She brings nature and fun into the classroom and brings the classroom...
Ansonia High School
Mr. Merenda is a straight-edge educator with a passion for comics movies TV video games and of course - TEACHING! As the self-proclaimed King of Tieland he...
Lincoln Alexander Public School
Joel has been a teacher in the York Region District School Board (a suburb of Toronto) for 35 years! When the movie Mr. Holland's Opus came out in 1995 I...
Northridge Academy High School
I do everything that I can to ensure that students have fun and learn in my class. My goal is to create well rounded individuals who make the world a better...
Silver Valley High School
I am a teacher who cares deeply about my students and their future success. I will do anything to make sure my students receive the best education possible. I...
Bill Crothers Secondary School
I am 47 years old. I have been a teacher for 24 years. I teach students with special needs in a community class. I love my job my students and my team. I could...
Union Academy Charter School
Julie is my daughter-in-law. Not only has she weathered this pandemic crisis by working from home (preparing lessons making videos etc.) she also was hit with...
Doral International Academy of Math and Science
Mrs. Gaudi is very caring hardworking and dedicated to serving each student. Her willingness to help others and teach in a fun environment are like no other....
Walter C. Young Middle
Pembroke Pines, FL
Mr. Bona works tirelessly to help students achieve their highest success. He teaches Microsoft Industry Certification and Introduction to coding to middle...
Howard W Blake High School
She goes above and beyond with teaching she teaches Ap Environmental science and she the only teacher in the school who teaches it. She gets us to pay...
Health Careers High School
San Antonio, TX
Kim teaches AP Chemistry at Health Careers High School in San Antonio. She consistently goes above and beyond for her students and inspires them both in and...
Jenison Public Schools
My son and daughter both had Kristin as a teacher. She is dedicated and encourages all of her students to Change the World! As I've learned more about Kristin...
Nasonville Elementary School
Mrs. Vantassel is an incredible teacher who goes above and beyond for all of her students. She loves teaching hands-on lessons that are relevant to the lives...
Mrs. Snapp has been teaching for 13 years. She started out teaching in elementary and is now teaching Health Science in High School. Each year Mrs. Snapp...
Roger Williams Middle School
Ms. Barlow teaches middle school performing arts in an urban school. I worked with Ms. Barlow this year. She works hard to support a diverse learning...
Western Boone Jr/Sr High School
Mrs. Baker is an amazing band director and music teacher for our rural school district. She teaches in both the Jr/Sr high school and the elementary school...
Georgia Connections Academy
Lisa's job has been to teach virtually for several years but the pandemic increased their school's enrollment and brought an increased focus to how all...
Garden City, NY
I would like to nominate Lucia Ruggiero. Lucia has been an inspiration to me and to all her students. She has dealt with many disappointments during Covid but...
It was extremely hard for parents and students to adapt to technology when covid hit. I teach in a very low income area in Fresno parents here are most stayed...
Vintage High School
Manny is a special education teacher at Vintage High in Napa Ca. with a focus on math. He has been a teacher for over 20 years working with students who needed...
Fremont Elementary School
Mary is an amazing teacher. She loves to teach children to learn. She works with high risk readers and is able to help identify learning disorders. She has...
Phillip C. Showell Elementary
Mary Kerr or better known to her family and friends as Christy gives a 110% of herself every day to help benefit her staff and students at Showell Elementry...
George Bannerman Dealey Montessori
Creative, Funny and Upbeat are just some of the words that we use to describe art teacher Matthew Mazur! Whether it is helping middle school students prepare...
Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School
Drexel Hill, PA
How do you describe someone that is indescribable. What do you buy the richest man in the world for his birthday. Studentsfriends and family used words such as...
Fallsington Elementary School
This amazing learning support teacher at Fallsington Elementary Pennsbury PA helps all students in the school. Four years ago she launched the school's Girls...
Rehobeth Elementary School
My wife Megan is a TAG teacher at Rehobeth Elementary School in south Alabama. She has been an educator for 6 years. Her passion for touching the lives of her...
Colonial Intermediate Unit 20
I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Ms. Owens when I was a high school student. Her kind actions selfless personality drive for inclusivity and dedication...
California State University Long Beach
Long Beach, CA
Michael Trimmell is an amazing educator. He started his career as an Elementary Science teacher continued on to be an Assistant Principal and has been...
Westglades Middle School
Michelle Matteis-Combs has been teaching in South Florida for over 13 years. During those years she has never given up her passion for teaching even after...
Hillsborough IB High School
Mr. Mikulec goes above and beyond most while teaching AP European History at Hillsborough High School a course that is considered one of the hardest that the...
Wimauma Elementary School
I would like to nominate Mrs. Miranda Spano who is a kindergarten teacher at Wimauma Elementary in Wimauma Forida. She has passion for teaching and makes...
Humble High School
My teacher is very motivating and caring with passion to her job. she will go out of her way to teach us and encourage us to not give up. Has high expectations...
Chillicothe R-2 School District
Natalie has been teaching 25 years. She always puts her students first!! In our small town she has taught nearly everyone! She us a great mentor and teacher...
Groton Dunstable Regional High School
Being a part of SeÒora Freitas's class is like being part of a family. I will never forget the first day I walked into her class; we immediately all felt the...
Swansea Public Schools
Mrs. Alexander is not only a high school child development teacher but also a Pre-K teacher. Director of Case's Little Faces this Pre-K class is actually a...
Loyalist College of Applied Arts and Technology
An educator for 30+ years Phil has positively impacted countless students. At age 62 he is teaching communication/counselling skills and FITNESS &...
R.C Murphy Junior High School
Stony Brook, NY
Mrs. Budnick is one of the kindest people I have ever met. She has been a special education teacher for over 30 years. I have never met someone who would do...
William Shemin Midtown Community School
Mr. Tonnesen serves as an incredible inspiration to his students and to those around him. He always does his best to make the classroom feel like home even...
Tyler Elementary School
I would like nominate Mr. Robert Clark of DCPS. Mr. Clark is a 3rd grade math and science teacher in Washington D.C. He been teaching for twenty-one years....
Arts Education Branch~LAUSD
Los Angeles, CA
Robin is truly an incredible elementary dance teacher that works in some of the most economically challenged schools. She gives her all to every single class...
Indian Trace Elementary Broward County Public Schools
You won't find a more dedicated and caring teacher than Mrs. Rosie Quinonez. Throughout her career she has dedicated herself to helping special education...
Bridgeton High School
Ms. Belsky is an amazing teacher. Her students absolutely love her and are always seeking her out. She seems to know almost every student in the school. Not...
C.S. 67 The Mohegan School
Samantha teaches in a title 1 school in Bronx NY. She teaches both general ed as well as special ed children. Samantha has worked all through covid teaching...
Of humble beginnings, Sammy of Atlanta GA is a teacher musician & author. Understanding & living his life's purpose love God people and children Sammy...
Kelowna Secondary School
Sandra consistently goes above and beyond by guiding her students to consider all the possibilities and then realize their life goals. She makes time for all...
Sandra goes above and beyond each and every single day to support all members of her school community: students teachers parents staff... She is driven by her...
Belleville School District
Sara is an amazing teacher that has touched the lives of everyone in the school. On top of running a top notch choir program she has looked for ways to keep...
Travis Heights Elementary School
Ms. Chavez has been a bilingual kindergarten teacher for more than 15 years. She puts her heart and soul into all her lessons and ensuring students get off on...
Collinsville High School
Shawn Geppert is a teacher of teachers-to-be and spends every day inspiring the future educators for our children and of the future. She teaches early...
Redford Union School District
A hard and dedicated educator who is committed to his community and students. He was nominated by channel 4 as teacher of the year and has served his community...
Dublin Coffman High School
Dr. Steve Kucinski has a collection of notes he's saved from decades of former high school English students. He re-reads and cherishes them like priceless...
Windham Middle School SAU 95
Mr. Curry is one of the most selfless caring and hardworking teachers in New Hampshire. He teaches 8th grade math at Windham Middle School. In his 5+ years...
Fleming Island High School
Fleming Island, FL
Mr. Shannon is an icon who deserves an amazing vacation!! Not only does he teach English literature to juniors and seniors he also teaches jazz band after...
The Comprehensive Learning Center
Sydney is a passionate special education teacher who takes pride in her work. She is dedicated and inspiring in everything she does. Her creativity and love...
John S. Malcom Elementary School
Laguna Niguel, CA
Mr. Hoffman is one of those rare teachers that hopefully you are fortunate enough to get once in your life. He changes his students for the better by helping...
Lumpkin County Middle School
One of the most effective ways to learn is through experiences like traveling and visiting new places! Mrs. Jones is a lifelong learner and hopes to instill a...