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Joy of teaching earns 2 educators a cruise

Arnel Dela Cruz, left, and Christopher Shepherd

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — High school science teacher Arnel Dela Cruz’s career is setting sail.

That’s true also for middle school social studies teacher Christopher Shepherd.

Dela Cruz, who teaches at Miyamura High School in Gallup, and Shepherd, an educator at Albuquerque’s Jackson Middle School, were honored by Norwegian Cruise Line as part of its Giving Joy campaign. Thirty teachers from around the country earned the honor from more than 46,000 nominations.

The 30 educators, who won seven-day cruises for two anywhere Norwegian Cruise Line sails, are eligible to win one of three grand prizes of $25,000, $15,000 and $10,000 for their schools. The Grand Prize winners will be revealed on Friday. Those winners will be chosen by a panel of Norwegian Cruise Line executives based on the relevancy of their submission to the contest theme – giving joy, the nominees’ impact on their students and content and originality.

Dela Cruz, who taught in the Philippines, Florida and Arizona before coming to New Mexico in 2015, teaches biology, earth science and AP environmental science at Miyamura. He graduated from Philippine Normal University in 2003.

Shepherd teaches sixth grade social studies and English language development at Jackson, where he has been for 14 years. He grew up in Albuquerque and went to Eubank Elementary, Grant Middle School, Sandia High School and the University of New Mexico. His wife, Jessica, is also a middle school teacher of 17 years.

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