Teachers Share Meaningful Tattoos


EASY TO MISS. The “X” on Rigsby’s hand may be small, but it holds a large meaning. (photo by Emily Caldwell)

New tattoos.

The first one, a man secretly getting a tattoo on his back without his wife’s knowledge. The second, a woman wanting to honor her heritage with some meaningful ink on her hand. The third, a lady proclaiming her life’s motto with a simple inscription on her arm.

These are people you know.

These are your teachers.

Civics teacher Adam Kirby had always wanted to get a tattoo, and in 2001 he decided to drive two hours to get one. He wanted a tattoo that would be unseen to most. With his friend from graduate school, he got a tattoo of the word “shalom,” which means “peace of God,” in Hebrew. He ironically got this religious “tramp stamp”, which is a term for a tattoo on the lower back.

“My plan was for this tattoo to be the base of several other tattoos,” Kirby says, “but it’s been 18 years, and it never really happened.”

AP World History teacher Rachel Rigsby enjoys researching her family genealogy, and while doing so, she came across the story of her great-great-great grandmother Susan who was born into slavery in 1825 on the East coast. Although there are many gaps in the story, Susan had 14 children with her master, Walter Simms. Before Simms died, he deeded his estate to Susan and their children. When the time came, she was asked to sign the paperwork for everything she would take into her possession. But she was not a literate woman, so instead of signing her name she signed an X. Rigsby decided to get an X on her hand last year with her friends on “A Day Without A Woman,” a day when women went on strike in the workplace to highlight the significance of women in all occupations.

German teacher Jennifer Lusk has a poem on her left arm. Two years ago she went out with friends to get tattoos and was able to get the one she’d been waiting on for five years. The tattoo reads, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,”which Lusk explains is an important idea in her life.