Name: Joan Swartz
Connection to St. Stephen’s: Parent of SSES student Ray Swartz '22, Chair of the Fine Arts PAtrons parent organization
Role with ISAS: ISAS Parent Volunteer Coordinator
Why are you volunteering for ISAS?
St. Stephen’s is a community. It’s not just a place where you send your kid. To really be part of the community and receive from the community, you have to give. Many times you receive back more than you give. It allows you to fully engage in the community. Volunteering means I get to know parents, I get to meet teachers and staff - they’re more than a name and a face to me. That really enriches my life and makes me feel like a more essential part of that community. I now have all these relationships and they’re multifaceted relationships. I receive so much back by giving a little bit.
What is your role with the ISAS Arts Festival at St. Stephen’s?
My job is to lead the volunteer effort as far as recruiting, organizing parents, alumni, former parents, anybody who has in the past or is currently part of our SSES community who wants to volunteer. I also run parts of the Festival that are strongly volunteer-driven such as the concession stand and the faculty/staff hospitality room.
You went to ISAS last year with St. Stephen’s. What is your favorite thing about the festival?
One of the things that blew me away was the colossal pool of artistic talent among these kids. It was mind-blowing how much talent there was and how amazing these kids are. I was in awe at some of their performances and how well they played as ensembles or rock bands.
I also really loved that the Festival itself created a community. I think that the reason artists are in co-ops and collectives is that artists really thrive off of each other’s energy. They are so respectful toward each other and helping each other master their craft. They give compliments, they are helpful and thoughtful in their critique, and they get help. The kids grow as human beings and artists just by being in that environment and having the opportunity to meet artists from other schools. They find their people and feel like they belong.
Why should others volunteer?
The Festival is not open to the public. If as a parent you want to see your child and the other children perform, you have to volunteer. That doesn’t mean volunteer 24/7, but if you’re not signed up for a shift, you can’t get into the Festival.
We need a lot of help. There are hundreds and hundreds of slots to be filled and we can’t rely on our regular army of volunteers. We need everybody. There’s a job for everyone - you may think “I’m not an artist” - but there are admin jobs, logistics jobs, retail jobs (managing concession stands), dining hall, and some more artistic stuff. Whatever your expertise is, we have a role for you!
It’s like ACL for high school kids. If you love going to ACL, you’ll love going to this.
This is our opportunity to show everyone how proud we are of our school and how amazing it is. It’s an opportunity to show some Spartan spirit.
You, too, can be a rockstar like Joan and volunteer at the Festival! Click on our volunteer form
to express your interest.