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The Newest Godmother of the World's Largest Cruise Ship is a TFA Alum
What do Whoopi Goldberg, Queen Sonja of Norway, and now Brittany Affolter (Miami-Dade ’14) have in common?
All three have been anointed Godmothers of Royal Caribbean International cruise ships, with Affolter receiving her distinction after nearly 1,000 nominations and a six-week search for a hometown hero in education. The criteria involved an educator who is “making a positive impact on the community’s youth” while pushing students to “dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo.”
“I am so honored to have been selected as Godmother to Harmony of the Seas and hope that my story can help give a voice to all the hard-working teachers that give so much of themselves to make a meaningful difference,” Affolter said.
In ceremoniously breaking the bottle on November 10, Affolter will honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which is the world’s largest cruise ship and will arrive this week into Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Royal Caribbean will also award Teach For America’s Miami-Dade region with a $25,000 grant.
“The Godmothers of our ships are remarkable individuals whose life lessons and achievements are rooted in courage, dedication and determination,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International. “Brittany exemplifies these qualities and so much more. We were exceptionally impressed by the passion she has for empowering our youth to believe in a better world and brighter future."
Certainly, the TFA alum fits the bill. Growing up, Affolter was inspired by her teachers, who made her believe she could get to and through college. They emphasized the importance of a quality education in helping her lead a positive and rewarding life—and instilled in her the desire to pay it forward one day with students of her own.
“It’s most important for me to help kids understand that no matter what is going on in their lives, they can reach the dreams they have for themselves,” Affolter said. “It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond.”
As an elementary school teacher in Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Affolter’s students achieved 80 percent or above mastery on district assessments. In addition, she implemented a social justice-oriented STEM curriculum, founded the school’s first robotics and coding after-school program, and was named a semi-finalist for the 2016 Sue Lehmann Teaching & Learning Fellowship.
Today, she’s a Manager of Teacher Leadership Development (MTLD) on the TFA Miami-Dade staff, where she trains teachers at 14 schools across the county that serve over 500 students. In addition, she tutors students individually, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is finishing her master’s degree in educational leadership at St. Thomas University.
”Leading a classroom to great results is no small feat,” said Samantha Hoare, executive director of TFA Miami-Dade. “We see a lot of invaluable qualities in the future leaders who join our corps, most importantly, a desire to have a real impact and a deep belief in the potential of all kids.
“We saw makings of a great teacher, mentor and coach in Brittany, and we are thrilled that she is being recognized for her lifelong commitment to expanding opportunities for Miami-Dade’s children through an excellent education.”
For more information on Royal Caribbean's Hometown Hero in Education search, visit royalhometownhero.com.