Rocky Fork Enterprise

Teachers become 'the Scruci'

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Middle School West teachers Mike Melink (left) and Tom Fogel (center) became Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Francis Scruci for students in celebration of Halloween. Students and staff members still talk about their striking resemblance.

There aren't plans to bring back what has been dubbed "the Scruci" by eighth-grade Gahanna science teacher Tom Fogel, but he's open to the idea that still has people talking two months after he and colleague Mike Melink became Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Francis Scruci look-a-likes.

Melink, an eighth-grade Middle School West history teacher, came up with the idea to dress up like Scruci for Halloween after seeing him for the first time.

"The resemblance was so obvious that I let a few people in on my plans early," he said. "To make things even more interesting, I decided to recruit some fellow staff members to join me (plus with numbers, one feels more comfortable in dressing up as a boss)."

Fogel, who's also Middle School West's freshman football coach, was a willing participant.

"To prepare for the makeover, both Tom and I started to grow a goatee about a month in advance," Melink said. "We also had to have a fresh, clean-shaven head and darkened eyebrows.

"So the night before, we both shaved the beard portion off and trimmed the mustaches down. The following morning, we used our wives' mascara to darken the mustache."

He said it was fun to keep students guessing who they were going to be.

For a finishing touch, Fogel presented Melink with an ID badge that had Scruci's actual picture on it.

"There were several other teachers on board, but they bailed as the time got closer," Fogel said. "It wasn't difficult, but we needed time to grow out our mustaches. I'm just glad our new superintendent has a sense of humor.

"I love the job he has done so far, and our personification was done with the utmost respect. We haven't discussed bringing 'the Scruci' back, but we certainly will leave that door open."

On the day of the reveal, Fogel also had the idea to make the impossible dreams come true of an additional counselor and pay raise for West's counselor, Kathy Spencer.

"We had a blast and even fooled a few staff members along the way," Melink said.

School board president Claire Yoder shared the shenanigans with Gahanna City Council on Dec. 3.

Scruci said it was funny to see his look-a-likes.

"It was kind of scary," he said. "It was neat they took time out to do something like that.

"These guys went out of their way and did a great job. They actually grew mustaches and colored them, wore a shirt and tie and glasses. It was neat."