Mieras hopes to educate others after difficult life lesson

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Mieras hopes to educate others after difficult life lesson

Katie Berrell

Katie Berrell

Katie Berrell

Orono High School principal Dave Benson and social studies teacher Jeff Weiland stand next to Mieras at a pep fest.

By Katie Berrell

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In an institution where learning is the ultimate goal, it’s not just the students who are learning life lessons. “What I just lived through has definitely shaped me,” Orono activities director Bucky Mieras said.

Last May after a busy work day and having drinks with friends, Mieras chose to drive himself home, something he now knows was not in his best judgment.

According to Mieras, while driving he reached for his phone that had dropped to the floor of the car. He swerved. That is when he was pulled over by police.

“I’m not going to hide from it. I’m not going to try and lie about it. I made a gross mistake – a huge error in judgment, and I think that’s the thing that bothers me the most,” Mieras said.

Since the incident, Mieras has been to court for hearings to learn his sentence: he paid a fine of $12,000 and was found guilty of a misdemeanor DWI. In addition to these legal ramifications, Mieras was also disciplined by the school district, serving a 5-day unpaid suspension last May.

Everyone deserves some grace from others in a situation like this.”

— principal Dave Benson

“I know for a fact that this is an isolated incident, but he is paying a price right now in lots of very real ways,” principal Dave Benson said. “Bucky is owning it and striving to make his experience work for the betterment of students and families.”

Benson has been a strong supporter of Mieras since the beginning of his career at Orono. “Everyone deserves some grace from others in a situation like this. Bucky too, perhaps more so because of his true commitment to Orono. I have complete confidence in him.”

Though Mieras has been enforcing the consequences of drinking and driving with students for years, he said he never fully understood the ramifications until now.

“I am thankful and fortunate that I got a redo,” Mieras said. “A lot of people don’t. Drinking and driving can destroy a community; it can destroy a family.”

Moving forward, Mieras wants to make sure that he will never make the same mistake, and to ensure that, he is taking measures to improve himself. He said he went through a chemical health assessment as well as attending a driving class.

I’m so sorry for what I did… I just want to gain everyone’s trust back.”

— Mieras

Dr. Karen Orcutt, superintendent of Orono Public Schools, also supports Mieras. “An important measure of our character is how we behave when we make a mistake.”

Mieras said he is taking what he has learned and applying it to what he does as the activities director.

“If there’s anything I can do, it’s working with students. Maybe my perspective can help,” he said.

Mieras achieved his administrative license in 2005 through the College of St. Mary’s in Minneapolis. Then he served as Dean of Students at Orono Middle School for three years.

“I hired Bucky 15 years ago when we were both at OMS. I knew I was hiring someone I could rely on forever. I have always trusted him and he has never let me down,” Benson said.

In 2008, Mieras was chosen over many exceptional candidates as the new activities director.

“I care about the kids here; I care about the community. I love working here and I love the teachers, the kids,” Mieras said. “I’m so sorry for what I did and I just want to work hard to gain everyone’s trust back.”