Tom Schelkun spent his Friday the same way he’s spent every Aug. 25 for the past 55 years.
He spent his day making life better for Troy City Schools students.
“It’s been great. Troy is a great town,” said Schelkun, who celebrated his 55th year with the Troy City Schools Friday. He spent his first 35 years teaching physical education in Troy, and has spent the past 20 working in the district’s technology department. “Good school system. Good people. It’s been very nice.”
Schelkun is a lifelong Trojan, born in Troy and a 1963 graduate of Troy High School. While at Troy, Schelkun played football and basketball, as well as running for the track and cross country teams.
He went on to graduate from Ohio Wesleyan and nearly took a teaching job in the Columbus area before fate seemingly intervened.
“I actually had a job lined up in Delaware, Ohio, and at the last minute they gave it to someone who came in and had a master’s degree,” Schelkun said. “So I called Jim Welbaum, who was the basketball coach. I had kept in touch with him, and he said, ‘Hey, we’ve got a couple openings. My first job was originally going to be teaching fifth grade at Concord. That summer, Jay Dorsey moved from elementary phys ed to junior high phys ed, and that opened up, so I got it. So I never did go in a classroom.”
For the next 35 years, Schelkun would teach physical education at Forest, Cookson and Van Cleve elementaries. He also coached track and football at Troy Junior High School.
“I loved doing phys ed,” he said. “I did the exercises with the kids every day. I did was much as I could with them. Whenever we were playing games in the gym, if any administrators came through, we pulled them in and made them play with us.”
And just as his career as a physical education teacher was winding down, Schelkun discovered his love for working with computers. That would eventually lead to a second career that has continued for the past two decades.
“The last two years of teaching, my brother-in-law got me into technology,” Schelkun said. “He worked for (Hewlett Packard) and Cincinnati Bell. This is when computers were just starting to hit. So he and I would bring the computers that he got in and we would just tear them apart and play with them, see how they worked and things like that. So he just got me involved.
“The last few years, I started to help out around the school. The teachers would come to me and say, ‘My printer is not working.’ At the time, I think (the tech department) could only get around one day a week to the buildings. Several times, I would fix them before they could come over.”
After he retired as a teacher, Schelkun would spend one year working with computers at the Upper Valley Joint Vocational School (now the Upper Valley Career Center) before returning to Troy.
“At the time, Tom Dunn was the technology director, and I told him, ‘Hey, I’d love to work in the technology department if anything ever opens up,’” Schelkun said. “That first year, nothing opened up, but that second year he said, ‘We’re doing some reshuffling, and we’ve got something open for you if you want to do it.’”
Currently, Schelkun spends much of his day servicing, cleaning and maintaining the district’s nearly 5,000 Chromebooks.
He said he’s had some trouble getting around lately and will need a hip replacement in the near future, but other than that, has no desire to stop doing what he loves, which is to the benefit of every student in the Troy City Schools.
“If I get up in the morning and say, ‘Hey, I’m done with this,” I’ll stop,” Schelkun said. “But so far, I enjoy coming in every day.”