Mount Carmel School and its AlumKnight Association has named 1984 AlumKnight Dr. Esther Muña as its AlumKnight of the Year, who is being honored this year for being instrumental in the CNMI’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Muña, who is chief executive officer for the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., and the Governor’s COVID-19 Task Force are credited with successfully guiding the CNMI to limit the community spread of the virus and protect the community.
“Thank you to the MCS AlumKnight Association…,” said Muña. “It is an honor but I do want to share this honor with the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. for coming together and working with the CNMI Governor’s Task Force to accomplish and achieve the containment of this virus and ensuring the safety of the community for the CNMI. …I do want to give credit to the education I received from MCS and for my faith. I think about the day we had our first case and I did pray because I wanted God’s wisdom to give me the right path and to ensure I make right decisions for my team and for the people with righteousness, equity, and justice for all, especially when it comes to public health. I appreciate the recognition, but a lot of it too is less of me and more of Him. God is my driver and while I appreciate the recognition I owe all glory to God.”
This year’s Millennium Falcon of the Year awardee is 2011 AlumKnight Kevin Bautista, who is currently the press secretary for the CNMI’s Office of the Governor. Throughout his early career, Bautista has assisted in numerous community projects that have benefited the CNMI.
“I want to thank the Mount Carmel School family, the bishop, the AlumKnight Association, and everyone who calls this beautiful institution home,” said Bautista. “I’d like to also thank Gov. Ralph Torres for giving the opportunity to give back to my community five years ago when I first moved back home from Michigan. What’s really special about that is being able to serve in this capacity and give back to the community I call home.”
This year’s Legacy Teacher of the Year is Bernadita Benavente Helstrom, who is an educational leader who dedicated her life to education. The first indigenous principal of Mount Carmel School, Ms. Bernie, as she is affectionately called, earned her teaching degree at the College of Saint Mary and has been a teacher and leader in education at Mount Carmel School, at the Maris Stella School in Palau, and at public and Catholic schools in Las Vegas Nevada.
Mount Carmel School’s Class of the Year went to the Class of 2020 for their perseverance and determination to graduate on-time and together.
Each year, Mount Carmel School and its AlumKnight Association facilitates a selection process to determine the Class of the Year, Legacy Teacher of the Year, Millennium Falcon of the Year, and AlumKnight of the Year. Prior to the pandemic, the awards were presented during the association’s annual fundraiser “A Night with the Knights.” However, to ensure the safety of the community, major awards were announced through a virtual award ceremony hosted on Mount Carmel School’s YouTube channel (Mount Carmel School). (PR)