The Lions’ Digest
Editorial Staff State College Area High School 650 and 653 Westerly Parkway State College, Pennsylvania 16801
Editors-in-Chief: Ben Berkman & Susan Moon Features Editor: Casey McCracken Opinion Editor: Allison Rhinehart Sports Editor: Sean O’Melia Publication Advisers: Sarah Rito, Rebecca Thorsen
The Lions’ Digest is published by the Publications Department at State College Area High School. Funding is provided by business advertisements. Printed by the Centre Daily Times. Lions’ Digest aims to produce accurate and complete content for its readership. Every effort is made to correct and clarify erroneous or misleading material.
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October 2012 ISSUE I
Tat t e d and Teaching: English Teacher Defies Stereotypes Sohpie Cowen & Emily Bickle Staff writers
s. Kate Hoffman, the spirited and enthusiastic Honors English 10 and AP English 12 Literature teacher, has some stories up her sleeves. Specifically, tattoos-notably of exclusive images, such as the “Cowgirl Robot.” Yet Hoffman has put significant thought into many of her other tattoos. An avid reader, she is heavily impacted by much of the literature read at State High, such as William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, inked on as a pig on a stick, the symbol of evil among the boys in the story. However, there is more to her bookshelf. “I have Dorian Gray, and then I have the Monkey King from American Born Chinese. I have a Phoenix, which could be Harry Potter, could be Fahrenheit ,” said Hoffman, pointing to stunningly accurate images of the books sophomores in Advanced Honors English know all too well. While she doesn’t always showcase her ink art, Hoffman takes little time to jump into fascinating anecdotes on her experiences as an individual with tattoos. “People have asked me:
‘Do you drive a motorcycle?’” To be clear, she drives a white Chrysler Convertible. Clearly, Ms. Hoffman defies the assumptions much of society makes about those with a tattoo. As a bubbly, intelligent, educator of a difficult subject, Ms. Hoffman seems like the polar opposite of a tattooed criminal, right? In response to many negative reactions and comments about her body art, Hoffman says, “I think that’s one thing I can help with: subvert people’s stereotypes.” In regard to new tattoos, Ms. Hoffman ponders the idea: “I feel like there are some books that impact me and are a big part of my life. Like Things Fall Apart. I really want a tattoo that represents that. I cannot think of an appropriate image that would look good as a tattoo because a yam is just going to look like... What is
a yam going to look like?” Perhaps her deep thought on the representation of
the curriculum’s novels is a mark of just how dedicated Hoffman is to the material in her classes. Those who have been through Ms. Hoffman’s courses know they are difficult and contain astonishingly deep lessons dealing with the concepts of human nature, identity,
and other ideas often accompanied by analyses and discussion. Hoffman has a demanding job challenging students, yet she still manages to live a life outside of school. When not in school, Hoffman says, people are surprised to hear she is a teacher. Be it for stereotypical reasons or not, Hoffman isn’t phased. Tattoos to Ms. Hoffman are decorations, a special touch to her already unique character. “You can be a professional and this can be something that’s part of who you are,” she said with a smile. Laptop in hand, Ms. Hoffman headed to the North Building, where, with or without tattoos, she is always ready to teach.