BANGOR, Maine — When you were in kindergarten, you probably remember things like finger painting, learning your A-B-Cs, and making friends.
But behind the activities in every kindergarten class is the teacher, who guides through the thick and thin.
Kristy Dube has taught kindergarten at the Fourteenth Street School in Bangor for 10 years, and is often lending a hand or passing along a heartfelt gesture.
"Trying to navigate this world as a five and 6-year-old is really hard, and how much they really need you to be their positive role model and the person who believes in them every day," Dube said.
To give back to dedicated educators like Dube, Norwegian Cruise Line launched its "Giving Joy" contest to spotlight the top 100 educators across the country.
Winners will be sent on a five-day cruise this October, where they will be eligible to win a grand prize of 25, 15, or 10 thousand dollars for their school.
To be considered for the contest, one must be nominated. Bangor Schools Accountant Lisa Collins came across the contest online and did just that.
"As I was reading the contest rules and what they were looking for, the outline of the contest, Kristy instantly came to mind," Collins said.
Dube won, being the only Maine educator recognized in the contest.
Dube says she grew up with a learning-centered support system with her biggest mentor being her father who taught for 40 years.
“In the teaching profession, along the way, I’ve always had people believe in me more than I believed in myself," Dube said. "And they’ve kind of carried me to want to be a great teacher.”
And that support carries on with Dube's former kindergarten students, now teachers, heading into the classroom in the coming weeks.
“I actually have former students who are choosing to enter this wonderful profession and to me, that’s just the most affirming thing to pass that love on to other people,” said Dube.
Dube will now transition from teaching kindergarten to math, as she moves on to being a tutor for the Downeast School.