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NCL awards teachers 100 free cruises and schools $50,000

From left, Shyam Thakker of Redford Union School District in Redford, Michigan ($25,000); David Sowerby of Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia, Michigan ($15,000) and Ashley Steadman of Evans High School in Orlando, Florida ($10,000)
Norwegian Cruise Line awarded 100 free cruises to 100 teachers across the US and Canada, as well as thousands of dollars to the schools of the top three grand prize winners as part of its 'Norwegian's Giving Joy' campaign.

The monthlong campaign, which launched during National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 3-7) recognized educators for bringing joy to the classroom. To honor individuals and the teaching profession along with the start to a new school year, NCL held a livestream awards celebration Thursday hosted by teenage entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer, founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade.

During the event, Ulmer highlighted the important role teachers around the world play in the lives of their students and communities and reinforced the power of travel and exploration as an immersive means of education. The 2019 Giving Joy winners made a special appearance, as did 'The Choir of Man' cast aboard Norwegian Encore, currently sailing to Alaska.

Grand prize winners

Ulmer unveiled the grand prize winners who received the most votes: Shyam Thakker of Redford Union School District in Redford, Michigan ($25,000); David Sowerby of Kraft Meadows Middle School in Caledonia, Michigan ($15,000) and Ashley Steadman of Evans High School in Orlando, Florida ($10,000).

Additional prizes

Thakker was surprised with an additional $10,000 from PepsiCo Beverages North America and two round-trip air tickets from Pleasant Holidays, both NCL partners. Costco Travel also donated gift cards to all 100 award recipients.

All Norwegian's Giving Joy honorees received a free weeklong cruise, which they have until the summer of 2023 to take.