Mr. Petrucelli has made an impression on the Mountain Lakes community since his arrival at our high school. What lies beyond his career as a math teacher? How has his extensive running not managed to kill him? Is it true that he might be taking a leave of absence? We recently sat down with this international man of mystery to answer the questions everyone’s been asking.
What is the weirdest thing that has happened in one of your classes?
At Kinnelon, a student spastically flung his head back. For what reason, I have no idea, and he hit it on the marker tray of the back whiteboard… It was bizarre, it made a lot of noise. But I can’t think of anything [that has happened] here.
You’ve told some of your classes that you know some WWE fighters personally. Are you friends with Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson?
No, they’re actually MMA fighters–two of my closest friends: one has fought and one currently fights in the UFC.
Would you ever take one of them on?
When they first started training, I was actually working construction with them …. We were looking at something to get into a hobby … so they [began] training. My other friend and I joined them on occasion [but] there is a VERY wide gap between their level of ability and mine… Every now and then–because they’ve actually opened up their own gym now–we may go to the gym for a little bit. And I lose very, very badly, but it’s a lot of fun.
Besides being a math teacher, you are known for your frequent and extensive running. What’s the longest you’ve ever run?
Technically, it was 100 miles. But if you count going off course here and there, it was 101.6.
Why would you do that to yourself?
Two reasons: [originally,] I was looking for some kind of fundraiser… to raise money and awareness for a charity that I do some work for. And … I knew it was going to be painful and miserable [so] I just, I wanted to experience what it was like.
Some students have noticed that you have finger tattoos. Given that you often wear long sleeve shirts, are you hiding a sleeve of tats from us?
That will be my preserved mystery. [Editor’s note: That’s definitely a yes.] I will say this: you’re only ten or so miles away from Kinnelon, so you’re not that far away from the answer to that question.
Do you secretly hate people who walk in with Dunkin’ in the morning? Many teachers have voiced their fervent opinions on the matter.
No. I have no opinion on the matter whatsoever.
Can you confirm that you have officiated not one, but THREE weddings?
Well, one was a real wedding with a legitimate ceremony, albeit private. And the other one was more of a vow renewal, but for my friend when he was stationed in Afghanistan.
Have you read the article that the Mountaineer has done for Mr. Scancarella? Are you afraid that any personal details will be uncovered?
Personal details? Nah. There are a lot of things that people don’t know about me but there is nothing that is hidden intentionally.
Not to be creepy, but how is your son?
He is wonderful and he, at any given moment, will be joined by a little brother. That’s the only reason …why my phone is never hidden. I leave it here in case my wife calls me and says, “It’s go time.”
[My son has] been very happy about [my] job change. He got to go to a football game; he got to see the Fall Drama. I was obviously very impressed by the performance, but I think I was even more so impressed because he was patiently watching until the last few minutes. I can’t even get the kid to keep still for more than 14 seconds, [but] they had him doing that for over two hours.
Be honest, you like Mountain Lakes more than Kinnelon, right?
I truly do love this place. I didn’t have any negative feelings about Kinnelon, and definitely no negative feelings about the students, but when an opening at a school like this–in a community like this–arises, you can’t not look into it. The people with whom I spoke here were very impressive, so I felt like it would be an awesome place to work. But you guys solidify that deal every single day. I wouldn’t trade this job for the world.