A Pickerington junior high school teacher has found his calling both in the classroom and during a night gig he struggles to qualify as a "job."

By day, you can find David Gauthier standing -- not sitting -- in his classroom at Ridgeview STEM Junior High School in the Pickerington Local School District speaking with authority and enthusiasm about such lessons as how to suture a banana or dissect a sheep's brain for his Medical Detectives courses.

At night, you also might find Gauthier in full Union Army regalia from the Civil War era at Columbus Blue Jackets games in Nationwide Arena, where he oversees the sonic blasts of the team's goal cannon.

It's work, although there's not many other ways Gauthier said he would care to spend his time.

"Outside of my family, I have two down-to-my-DNA passions," Gauthier said. "One is teaching, and I do love my Blue Jackets."

Known at his school for lively instruction and a penchant for sharing students' work via social media, Gauthier also is in his third season as a member of the Blue Jackets cannon crew.

For the latter, he's part of two, four-member crews that stand guard over the cannon that's fired at home games each time the Blue Jackets score a goal. Crew members also provide historical information about the only working artillery in any National Hockey League arena.

But don't ask him how the cannon is fired.

"It's a Blue Jackets trade secret," Gauthier said. "It is a working cannon. It's an authentic replica and it was a fully-working cannon that shot 12-pound cannonballs before it made its debut (at Nationwide) in 2007."

Gauthier learned about the cannon crew from one of its former members, Ross Hartley, who teaches automation and robotics at Ridgeview.

Intrigued, Gauthier underwent a four-hour audition he likened to improvisational sketch comedy and went to work for the Blue Jackets during the 2014-15.

"I have no problem being a goofball for my students, but doing that for 100 people at an audition takes me out of my comfort zone," he said.

Despite recurring jitters, Gauthier has auditioned and earned a spot on the crew three consecutive seasons.

Lynn Truitt, senior manager of event presentation for the Blue Jackets, supervises Gauthier and said he aced his inaugural audition and has continued to be an enthusiastic and charismatic cannon crew member both at home games and a variety of charity and community outreach programs the team sponsors.

"He's become a great leader for us, someone I can trust to be leader for the new folks and be a voice for me," Truitt said. "He has a real passion for not just the team, but being a part of it.

"He was a Blue Jackets fan way before he was on the team. He really has a great personality and I think being a teacher, it really comes natural for him being up in front of people."

Gauthier said students' parents often ask about the dynamics between his day and night jobs, wondering if it's akin to Bruce Wayne's transition into Batman.

"It's not a double life for me," he said. "They're both similar in so many ways.

"I don't sit down when I'm teaching, and I often raise my voice to get the students enthusiastic."

He said he marvels at his luck, getting paid to watch a sport and team he loves and mixing those experiences with education as much as possible.

"I've whispered it to my boss before that I would do it for free," Gauthier said. "I'm getting paid to -- I'm not sitting -- to have one of the best seats in the arena.

"And it makes me so happy that I have students who are in love with Blue Jackets players, who are obsessed with Blue Jackets statistics," he said.

"When I see my kids at a game, they run up and give me a hug and want to take a picture.

"It's two things that are a big part of my life."

nellis@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNate