MIAMI, Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- After receiving nearly one thousand motivating and heartfelt nominations from across South Florida, three standout candidates have been selected as finalists in Royal Caribbean International's search for an educator who is inspiring the next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo. On Oct. 24, one finalist will be named the winner, and honored as Godmother of Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest and most innovative cruise ship, during an official naming ceremony on Nov. 10, 2016. The South Florida-based cruise line also will award a $25,000 grant to the winner's school or non-profit organization, funding education initiatives that further her mission to inspire the local community's youth.
"We've seen an overwhelming response from the community with an outpouring of exceptional nominations from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. It is an honor to be able to recognize such inspiring educators for the work they do to make a positive impact on our youth," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. "These three upstanding individuals have demonstrated unwavering passion and dedication, going above and beyond the classroom to make a huge difference in the community. We thank everyone who participated by recognizing our many heroes in education; they are leading the way in inspiring our youth to dream big, and that's work we all can be proud of."
Consumers are encouraged to visit www.local10.com/godmother through October 14 to cast their vote for the finalist they feel is the most inspiring and making the biggest impact on South Florida's youth. The three educators chosen as finalists are:
- Brittany Affolter, Manager, Teacher Leadership Development, Teach for America Miami-Dade
Brittany Affolter was inspired by her teachers to leave an unhealthy home, attend college, and become an educator. To help pay it forward to others like her, Brittany now trains teachers at 14 low-income schools in Miami-Dade County, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors her former students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and completing her masters in educational leadership. At just 23 years old, Brittany's accomplishments are many and include starting the first-ever robotics and coding after-school program while teaching at Miami-Dade County public schools as a Teach for America corps member, and engaging her students to author a book about making the world a better place, which received attention from the White House and major sports organizations, such as the Miami Dolphins football team.
- Katherine O'Fallon, Magnet Coordinator, New River Middle School
Katherine (Katie) O'Fallon has been sharing her passion and knowledge for marine science with middle school students since 2006, and quickly learned that her greatest joy came from the wonder in a child's discovery of their passion for marine science. She strives to inspire students to immerse themselves in the underwater world, and apply what they learn by getting involved in their local community. Exposing her sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to environmental issues, Katie fosters stewardship and encourages them to be proactive in preserving and protecting their local habitat. She hosts multiple coastal clean-ups, engaging everyone from students and parents, to faculty and community partners; and organizes a variety of daily field experiences for students, including snorkeling trips in Fort Lauderdale and the Keys, shark-tagging with Nova Southeastern University and trips to local state parks. One of Katie's newest and most innovative projects is the school's remotely operated vehicles (ROV) program, where students learn and hone their skills in both the marine and engineering disciplines.
- Anike Sakariyawo, Physical Science Teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School
Anike Sakariyawo has taught various grade levels for more than 13 years, and is currently the physical science teacher lead for the ninth-grade students at Miami Norland Senior High School. Anike's passion for education extends beyond the classroom and standard school schedule; she is the founder of Seeking Education Empowers Knowledge (S.E.E.K.) ̶ a local non-profit that aims to empower teenagers, parents, teachers and the community. S.E.E.K. serves over 1,000 at risk youth in urban and rural areas with unique programming such as digital literacy, robotics, coding, electricity basics and how to create a product and a business plan. Each year, she holds the "Get Hip & Fit Fair" in July on Miami Beach for more than 500 kids from Miami-Dade and Broward County non-profit organizations, and also works with student volunteers to feed and clothe the homeless each month.
For more information on each of the finalists as well as the role of Royal Caribbean godmothers, past and present, visit www.royalhometownhero.com.
Harmony of the Seas is the world's largest cruise ship with a bold and unexpected lineup of thrilling experiences found nowhere else on land or at sea. Harmony combines the distinct seven-neighborhood concept that sister-ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are known for, with some of the most modern and groundbreaking amenities, including imaginative dining, unparalleled entertainment and the latest technology, such as VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. From the Ultimate Abyss, a thrilling 10-story tall slide, to unparalleled entertainment including Broadway's hit musical Grease and high-diving, acrobatic performances in the iconic AquaTheater, world-class dining in venues ranging from Jamie's Italian Cuisine by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver to Wonderland, a unique whimsical culinary adventure for the senses; and robot bartenders, there is an adventure for guests of all ages onboard Harmony.
Harmony of the Seas spans 16 guest decks, encompasses 226,963 gross registered tons, carries 5,479 guests at double occupancy, and features 2,747 staterooms. For more information about Harmony, please visit RoyalCaribbean.com/HarmonyoftheSeas.
For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN.
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SOURCE Royal Caribbean International