Carroll Recognizes Four Students for Exemplary Service

2024 Raymond G. Hunthausen Outstanding Service Award Winners

HELENA - Carroll College is pleased to present the prestigious Raymond G. Hunthausen Outstanding Service Award to four deserving students who have made outstanding contributions to Carroll and their communities. The selection committee chooses students who work to improve the lives of others through their own unselfish commitment of time, energy, and compassion. This year’s recipients are recent graduates Geri Cutler and Bersabeh Zellele and rising senior Alexa Dreyer, and rising junior Mary Knight.

Geri Cutler from Helena, Mont., graduated summa cum laude with a major in Biology and was also the recipient of the Bishop Gilmore Award awarded to seniors who have attained the highest grade-point average after four years at Carroll. While at Carroll, Geri devoted much of her time as a leader in the Carroll Special Olympics Club, constantly encouraging others from the Carroll community to join and participate, or simply come out and support the teams. The Special Olympics Club at Carroll College has been a model of a Unified Champion School and, as a result, was the recipient of both the 2021 and 2022 Montana Special Olympics Distinguished Service Award for Unified Champion Schools. Geri led her team, the Halos, with maximum effort and dedication on top of a vigorous school workload and additional jobs. Geri is recognized for her support, encouragement, leadership, and energy, as well as the opportunities she provided to the athletes and the program. Her enthusiastic encouragement inspired her fellow students to reach beyond themselves and become mentors, coaches, and friends to other young people.

Bersabeh Zellele from Ethiopia, graduated cum laude with a double major in Sociology: Medical & Human Services and Health Sciences. Bersie has made significant contributions during her time at Carroll, especially through her leadership in supporting refugee students from war-torn regions. She has led vital fundraising efforts in the Helena community and worked as a case manager with organizations like Hands On Global and the IRC, assisting in refugee resettlement. Bersie has also been a strong advocate for mental health, working with the National Alliance for Mental Illness in Helena and at Shodair Children’s Psychiatric Hospital. Her volunteer activities extended to being a Red Cross blood donor ambassador and conducting health screenings for Helena’s senior citizens. As a national SAFE Project-Fellow, she established the first CRLA program for substance recovery at Carroll and in Helena. Additionally, Bersie served as Montana District Secretary for Circle K International. Celebrated for her unwavering service and commitment, she has significantly impacted her peers and community, always prioritizing the needs of others wherever they may be in the world.   

Nursing student and rising senior Alexa Dreyer from Bozeman, Mont., has been nominated for this award for the past two years. Currently, president of the Carroll College Student Nursing Association (CCSNA), Alexa has gone above and beyond as a nursing student in her three years at Carroll. She has made time to volunteer through CCSNA, serve as a senator for ASCC, and act as an officer for the Special Olympics Club. This past March, Alexa served as a student ambassador for the Saints Giving Day nursing cause. She is always willing to help and "go the extra mile." In addition, Alexa has organized numerous community activities for nursing students, including work with Special Olympics, Walk for Down Syndrome, and the NAMI Walk. She also coordinates annual events like Christmas cookie decorating, writing Christmas cards for assisted living residents, trivia nights, and self-care events. Despite her busy schedule, she always maintains a positive attitude, showing respect and kindness to students, faculty, and staff.

Rising junior and political science major, Mary Knight, inspires those around her to be their best. At home in Denver, she actively volunteers with various organizations, including the Mile High Youth Corps, where she helps with invasive species removal and trail maintenance during the summers. At Carroll, Mary volunteers with Service Saturdays, God's Love, and Grandstreet Theater, and promotes service work in the Helena community. As a member of Carroll's debate team, she manages PR and tournaments, and has taken first-year students to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity. She is dedicated to engaging both herself and others in community service. During fall and winter breaks, Mary assisted with long-term disaster relief in Florida with Inspiritus, demolishing flood-damaged homes and building new ones.

This prestigious award for community service, presented to deserving students who make outstanding contributions to the college or a community, has been a Carroll tradition since 1986. The award was named for Archbishop Raymond G. Hunthausen because of his exemplary commitment to peace and justice in his personal and professional life and his strong pastoral care for all people.