Tattoos are a cultural phenomenon that have been used for centuries for people to express themselves on one of society’s most demonstrative and eloquent canvases: the body. Skin inking dates back to ancient Egypt and has gained immense popularity in the world today. Tattoos can reflect a change in one’s life status, such as marriage, passage into adulthood, or induction into a group such as the military or a gang. Yet more recently, body ink has become somewhat of a permanent fashion accessory, seen in the media being sported by professional athletes, bands, and celebrities. Multiple reality television programs such as “NY Ink,” “LA Ink,” and “Permanent Mark” tape people entering parlors to receive their tattoos and sharing their stories behind them.

So what about tattoos around Pace Academy? Obviously the majority of students haven’t met the 18 year age requirement to ink their skin, but faculty members have. The Knightly News staff went investigating to find which faculty members have tattoos and the meaning behind them.

Finding teachers with tattoos proved itself to be slightly difficult. Not only must one ask the unexpected and sometimes somewhat uncomfortable question, “Do you have a tattoo?” to an elder, but one must pry to get the story behind it. However, the tale behind the tattoo is always an interesting one. Why would you permanently mark your body if it doesn’t have some kind of significance? In college counselor and history teacher Mr. Bradley’s case, tattoos were personal to him. “The tattoo on my forearm is a Scotch-Irish knot, but it has my own personal meaning. The gold ring in the middle represents my wife, and the three rings intertwined with it are my children,” he explained. Mr. Bradley also has the Marine Corps emblem inked into his shoulder, as he served for four years.

Science teacher Mrs. Korb also has a tattoo based on a life experience, as she dons a small blue shark on her ankle. “I have been a swimmer all my life. My swim coach had told me that I looked like a shark in the water because I wasn’t really splashy, that I just kind of gradually gained on my opponent,” she said. “I got the tattoo after I made NCAA Nationals and was an All-American swimmer for a couple of years in college.”

Systems administrator Mr. Sokolsky also has a fascinating tale behind his tattoo. “I got my tattoo from a shop in Fairbanks, Alaska during a seven week, 7,000 mile motorcycle trip to the Arctic Circle with two of my friends and my uncle,” he said. “I’ve actually ridden a motorcycle in all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces, and 11 countries in Europe…a total of around 150,000 miles. I’m a six-time member of the Iron Butt Association, an elite ‘club’ in the motorcycling world where you become a member if you ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours.”

Some faculty members have tattoos to simply represent themselves as a whole rather than a personal experience like serving in the military. “I’m not the type of person that goes through some big and traumatic thing before getting a tattoo,” basketball coach and trainer Lauren Falhoun (also known as Coco) said. “I have nine and they all represent things that are important to me in life, like strength, peace, and basketball.” The idea of a tattoo representing a particular value applies to freshman geometry teacher Ms. Marable also. “I have a rose on my torso with my name in it, because my favorite word is love and that’s what I feel the rose represents.” Strength and conditioning coach Clement Rouviere’s tattoo is individualized as well, with a fire-breathing dragon on his left bicep. “It’s my astrological sign based on the Chinese calendar,” he explained, “My quadrant is the element fire, and my year is the dragon — hence the fire dragon!”

The Knightly News discovered that posing the question, “If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and where?” is always an interesting ice breaker should you find yourself in an awkward conversation. Even imaginary tattoos can tell a lot about a person. For example, photography teacher Mr. Dorman explained that he would want the words “Sculptor of Light” written in calligraphy on his left forearm, and the metal aperture shutters of a camera on his right to show his love of photography. Mr. Dorman specified that “It would have to be an expensive tattoo. I don’t like cheap tattoos. I’d have to go to California to get it.” English teacher Dr. Link shows his faith when he said he would get “an angel with outstretched wings across my shoulders all the way down to the tip of my spine so that angel will always be covering my back.” But history teacher and sophomore class dean Ms. Anderson puts it simply, “I faint at the sight of needles, so I would never get a tattoo.”

By Riley Muse, Staff Writer ’14

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