Teachers share meaningful stories with their tattoos


English teacher Kevin Wang showcases a repetition of “I’m alive,” one of several tattoos that he has on his arms. JOSH MANDL/SAGAMORE STAFF

Josh Mandl, Staff Writer

You’ve probably seen a tattoo poke out of a teacher’s sleeve and not given it much thought.

These images represent something meaningful.

For Sarah Kornell, the Special Education English teacher in the Excel Program, the tattoo of a bridge that covers the upper portion of her right arm represents the end to a frustrating recurring dream after she found some clarity in her life.

“I had a dream for about two years straight where I’d be trying to cross a bridge, and I couldn’t get across. I’d fall in the water or the bridge would break,” Kornell said. “One day, I got across the bridge and never had the dream again. And I was like this is getting tattooed, this is serious stuff. It was definitely a point in my life when I wasn’t sure what I was going to be doing with my life, and then I figured it out and stopped having a dream.”

Special education English teacher Sarah Kornell got a tattoo due to the memorable end of a recurring dream. JOSH MANDL/SAGAMORE STAFF


According to world language teacher Dominique Gonyer, one of her tattoos represents a new beginning.

“I have flowers on the back of my arm that you can’t always see, but they’re back there,” Gonyer said. “And that was actually when I left an abusive husband and started new, so I got flowers as a new start.”

Archur Lam, one of Gonyer’s students, said that he thought that teacher’s tattoos can show their passion.

“Sometimes I see teachers that have tattoos that show how they love the subject of the class,” Lam said.

Although she was not influenced to make her decision, Gonyer still sometimes regrets having her tattoos.

“Sometimes I wish I didn’t have any tattoos, because they’re a little like a shirt that you can’t take off,” Gonyer said. “Even a favorite shirt gets old after a while. I like wearing sleeveless shirts in hot weather, but don’t always feel like giving the first impression that tattoos give.”

Special education teacher Jake Barrett who also co-teaches freshman physics has a couple of tattoos in honor of his deceased father.

“I have a tattoo on my left shoulder that is a shamrock that says ‘Dad’ over it, in memory of my father who passed away when I was young,” he also said. “I have a tattoo on my back of a Celtic cross that is taken as a rubbing off of my father’s tombstone.”

Barrett feels that he was also not influenced by anyone when deciding to get his tattoos. He feels content with them and has no regrets.

“Most aren’t perfect for one reason or another, but they are all connected to different times or events in my life,” Barrett said. “Just their presence helps me remember those times.”