Norwegian Cruise Line commemorated a new ship by awarding 100 teachers from the U.S. and Canada with a free voyage that included an exclusive concert by Kelly Clarkson.
Norwegian’s Giving Joy awards ceremony also recognized the teachers with $170,000 for the top three Grand Prize winners and their schools.
The contest was launched during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2–6) to recognize deserving educators for their unwavering commitment to bringing joy to the classroom.
To celebrate these incredible individuals and their often-times undervalued profession—as well as to kick-off Norwegian Prima’s first voyage—Clarkson delivered a stellar performance of her chart-topping hits, including “Miss Independent,” “Stronger,” and “Since You’ve Been Gone.”
“Teachers are our true everyday unsung heroes, and they play an integral role in our society, not only shaping the future of their students, but the future of their communities as well,” said Clarkson. “I couldn’t miss the opportunity to participate in this program and give a special performance before they set sail on the trip of a lifetime!
The top three Grand Prize winners who garnered the most votes were flown to Galveston, Texas, from their homes in New Jersey, Florida, and New York, to embark on the cruise.
• Patricia Hosmer from Bayonne High School in Bayonne, New Jersey Hosmer has been a dedicated teacher and curriculum writer for over 35 years. With her incredible dedication, the widowed breast cancer survivor also teaches at an Alternative High School in the evening and tutors students who are unable to attend school due to illness.
As the President of New Jersey Collaboration and Partnership Schools Mrs. Hosmer unites colleges and universities with local schools to provide professional development for educators. Described as “a marvelous science educator,” she keeps in touch with many students as they grow into adulthood—attending their weddings and baby showers.
She and her 27-year-old daughter thoroughly enjoyed their balcony stateroom on the 4-night cruise that sailed Oct. 27 to Merida, Mexico.
• Theresa Schrager from Falcon Cove Middle School, is Weston, Florida, won second place. “Many children have hurdles to overcome, but hard work and creativity is what makes a student strive in my Film and Creative Writing classes. Sometimes, I am the only class that keeps students coming to school, and I have to motivate them to do their best in other classes.”
• Third prize went to Anthony Stirpe from New Rochelle High School in New York called teaching ‘the privilege of a lifetime’. “As teachers, we have superpowers; when we put a grade on an assignment, we have the ability to make a student see or him or herself in a particular way. We label them a success, mark them as average, or, worst case, we set them up for failure. I like to create a classroom where all kids find something they excel in. When students struggle, I let them know it is okay to fail forward, make mistakes, correct those mistakes and grow.
“I was not always this way. Once upon a time I was a traditional English teacher, and I would number my desks, teach generic writing formulas, and demand a quiet classroom. Years later, with opportunities to teach in new ways and realize it is not my job as a teacher to ask my students to move to me, instead I now realize I must find my student where they are—or at least meet them half way.”
In addition to their schools getting donations, each of the Grand Prize winners received another surprise—nearly $40,000 each in prize money, thanks to partners of the Giving Joy annual teacher recognition program.
To date the Giving Joy program has awarded 230 teachers across the U.S. and Canada with free cruises and donated over $350,000 to schools and educators since 2019.