Totally Inked: How teachers and students keep their favorite memories alive

Becca Garber and Max Habel

If you only take a quick glance, a tattoo may look insignificant: random words, phrases, symbols, and images. Many NHS teachers and students, however, find their tattoos to be vital in remembering and commemorating times, places, and, most importantly, people who were influential to both themselves and the world. The words and images of tattoos can carry more weight than you may realize. They can hold onto memories. Everyone has a story, and tattoos often serve as a way of keeping that story with you for the rest of your life.

Hannah Dwyer, social studies teacher: 

 “My first tattoo is in memory of my mom. One of her favorite bands, if not her all time favorite, was Coldplay. They have a song called ‘Viva La Vida.’ It means different things, but for her it meant live your life. I added a lily flower to the end of it as that was her favorite flower.”

Stephanie Fotiades, instructional coach;

“This tattoo references my four children: Andrew, Annabel, Nicholas, and Sophia. Nicholas died; thus, he is represented by the bird facing the other three. The phrase ‘Be Held’ was taken from the Casting Crowns song ‘Just Be Held.’ The wording is a reminder that God is in control, not our circumstances nor our emotions.”

Mason Kebrdle, senior:

“I have two tattoos, one above my knee, and one on my arm, just below the elbow on the inner part of my arm. The one above my knee is a little mountain with coordinates to the peak of a mountain I hiked in Salt Lake City last year with my dad. The coordinates were the most exciting and meaningful hike I have ever done and I wanted to cherish that memory forever.”

Alexa Cerdes, senior:

“My tattoo is a resting angel with Roman numerals and my cousin’s name on it. It’s in honor of my cousin that unfortunately committed suicide in September. I was close with him as we shared a lot of childhood experiences and hit milestones growing up. As an advocate for mental health as well, I wanted to have his memory with me.”


CJ Livingston, senior:

“My tattoo is based off [of] Bruce Lee. My tattoo is a water dragon with the quote ‘Be water, my friend,’ which is Lee’s most famous quote. Bruce Lee was always one of my favorite fighters and role models growing up. I was able to convince my dad to get the same tattoo as me as his first tattoo.”