With the biggest cruise ship in the world well on her way to her new homeport of Fort Lauderdale, Royal Caribbean has announced who is going to be Harmony of the Seas’ Godmother.
After a six-week search for an educator who is inspiring South Florida’s next generation to dream big, think differently and challenge the status quo, 23-year-old Brittany Affolter from the Miami-Dade region of Teach For America, has been selected as Godmother of Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Harmony of the Seas.
“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,” Brittany Affolter said. “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. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the support and encouragement of teachers who go above and beyond.”
“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, 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. She is wise beyond her years, and we can only imagine the accomplishments that she will continue to achieve.”
“At Royal Caribbean, we view education as a crucial stepping stone for our young people,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are very proud to be in a position to ‘pay it forward’ by celebrating the unsung heroes in our local communities who have dedicated their lives to this goal. Congratulations to Brittany and the nearly thousand other heroes who were nominated.”
Brittany Affolter pursued a career in education as a way to pay it forward and inspire children in the same way she had been during her early years. She grew up in a challenging home environment where she received little support and guidance, and was able to remove herself from that setting with the help of teachers and mentors. Instead Affolter found the encouragement and inspiration she sought from caring and devoted teachers who believed in her, helping her realize that college was within grasp and that a quality education was essential for a successful, fulfilling life. Ultimately, these teachers advanced her to where she is today.
Affolter has been working with Teach For America Miami-Dade since 2014, engaging classrooms in Title 1 schools across the county that meet the needs of at-risk and low-income students. In order to reach as many kids in Miami as possible for the greatest impact, she now trains teachers at 14 high-need schools in Miami-Dade, serving more than 500 students. In her spare time, she tutors students, is working to become a mentor for children in foster care, and is completing her masters in educational leadership.
Royal Caribbean set out to find a hometown hero in education to honor the homecoming of Harmony of the Seas, which will make her U.S. debut when she arrives into her new homeport of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, FL on November 5. The South Florida-based company sought an outstanding candidate that is making a positive impact on the community’s youth and received nearly 1,000 motivating and heartfelt nominations.
As Godmother of Harmony of the Seas Affolter will have the opportunity to host a “field trip” for those whose lives she has influenced inviting them to be her guests at the Harmony of the Seas naming ceremony, and will set sail later that evening with three guests on a two-night pre-inaugural cruise. She will also receive a future seven-night cruise for two onboard the ship.
Royal Caribbean will award a $25,000 grant to Teach For America Miami-Dade, funding education initiatives that further Affolter’s mission to inspire the local community’s youth.
Pictures & video ©RoyalCaribbean