Tattoos At Tonka: Finding Meaning Beneath The Surface Of The Skin

Sadie Heiland, Staff Writer

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, tattoos are not uncommon at Minnetonka High School. But what’s the deeper meaning behind them?

Science teacher Emma Boehm has a tattoo of a crab apple tree branch on her forearm. 

“When I was born, my parents planted a crab apple tree right outside my bedroom window,” she said. “They just sold the house this summer. That was a little bittersweet. This was basically me and my sister’s tattoo with each other because we wanted to get something that represented each other. It was also just a kind of good memory of our home, tying us back to where we grew up.” 

But Boehm hasn’t always wanted a tattoo. 

“Once I got into college, my sister started to discover herself, and she started to get all these tattoos. At that point I was like, ‘Yep. That is what I want to do as well,’” she said.

Looking forward, Boehm would like to get more tattoos. 

“I would like to get something that symbolizes mental health I more so have locations that I would like than ideas,” she said. 

  1. Vega, ‘23, is hoping to get a tattoo on August 28th, their eighteenth birthday. 

“Our tattoo artist is on leave but he’ll be back by summer. If I can get into my consultation on time, I’ll get it on my birthday. If not, I’ll probably get it a little later than that,” they said. 

Unlike Boehm, Vega has always wanted a tattoo. Their parents got tattoos when they were younger. 

“Even before that I’ve always wanted them because I thought they looked so cool,” they said. 

         The tattoo they plan to get is an outline of a sea turtle that’s been painted with watercolors. It was designed by their younger sister. 

“I’m planning on becoming a marine biologist after college. Also, turtles have always been one of the animals that I was obsessed with as a kid. They’re one of the animals I’m hoping to potentially study, since they’ve been really affected by climate change,” they said.

Vega is not too worried about their relatives’ reaction. 

“I know they’re not going to be happy about it. I was there when my parents showed off their new tattoos for the first time. While you could tell they weren’t really happy about it, they weren’t openly hostile,” they said. 

Tattoos are present at Minnetonka and they each hold personal meaning for the owner.