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Bunio earns Be Inspiring recognition

Pine River-Backus students are proud to present Nick Bunio as this month’s Be Inspiring nominee.

Be Inspiring is a campaign from the Working Together Coalition to recognize those in the community who have had an inspiring, positive impact on youth. Whether it’s through volunteering or just being there, each nominee has done his or her best to create a caring, friendly environment for all youth.

Bunio is the band teacher at Pine-River Backus, and he teaches grades 5-12 on a daily basis. However, he claimed to also be a “child enrichment specialist.”

Bunio has lived in the area for four years and is originally from Anoka.

He said his adult role model growing up was, in fact, his own high school band teacher, John Lace.

“Even though we were students, he treated us like adults and expected us to act that way,” he said.

Bunio seeks to instill the values of dedication and perseverance in his own students.

“I see way too many students give up when things don’t come easy to them. Some just say, ‘Oh, well,’ and just quit.”

On top of being a teacher, Bunio also volunteers in other activities involving youth, including being an adult adviser for the youth-initiated group Teens Leading The Way.

“In a couple more years they won’t be youth. They will be making decisions with us as peers soon,” he said with a chuckle, adding, “We need to shape their minds while they are young and impressionable.”

Bunio is a firm believer in adult activism with youth.

“Students need adult role models other than their family,” he said. “The kids I work with are awesome, and adults need to look past any negative experience they have had with some kids, and look around at the good kids, too. Kids make mistakes, just like everyone else.”

Every month, the Working Together Coalition recognizes someone from the community who has made a positive impact in children’s lives. Nominations are being accepted for future Be Inspiring recipients. Submit a nomination to Kelly Felton at 218-330-8129 or at

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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