Edie Demas '83 began forging her own path and legacy at St. Andrew's in its second year of existence as a ninth-grader and now, 40 years after graduating, she will be honored with the Thomas Shaw Award for Service during Homecoming and Reunion on October 14.
Edie Demas ‘83 has been a part of the St. Andrew’s community even before there was a St. Andrew’s. That’s what happens when your mother is one of the school’s founding Board members. But Edie began forging her own path and legacy at the school in its second year of existence as a ninth-grader and now, 40 years after graduating, she is being honored with the Thomas Shaw Award for Service. Edie will receive the award, with her mother in attendance, at the Alumni Awards Brunch on Saturday, October 14, as part of Homecoming and Reunion weekend.
“My time at St. Andrew’s was incredibly special,” said Edie, who is now a St. Andrew’s parent in addition to being an alumna. “All of us, 40 years ago, were part of something, new and untested and different from many of our peers at different schools. In addition, my mom has been part of envisioning and then founding St. Andrew’s. She stayed active with the school for a very long time after we all graduated. And even today she’s current and connected beyond just being a grandparent. That’s a kind of meandering way of saying that my interest in the school has always been multi-layered. I’ve stayed close to members of my class and several former faculty members, my mom has kept me connected and updated, particularly around the launch and growth of The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, and finally my own career, and the arts and education is deeply connected to my time at St. Andrew’s, and for that I feel very grateful.”
Edie’s career has been focused on the arts and education. She taught at New York University with a focus on theater in education and was the Director of Education at the New Victory Theater. More recently, she was the Executive Director of the Jacob Burns Film Center before returning to the Washington, D.C., area where she continues to work as a strategic collaborator focused on the arts and culture.
Throughout her professional career, she has made time in her personal life for St. Andrew’s. She has been a Lions Fund volunteer, a reunion chair, served on the Alumni Council, chairing the Diversity Advisory Committee and serving as Vice President, and most recently, followed in her mother’s footsteps to become a member of the Board of Trustees.
“What I receive back currently from St. Andrew’s is connected to my first experience with the school as a student,” Edie said. “By that I mean, it’s all about the ripples and resonances of the St. Andrew’s community. The word community is almost a cliché these days, but it’s alive and well and vibrant in all of my experiences with the school. For me, the rewarding thread has been working with the Alumni Council’s Diversity Advisory Committee as part of my board service, and the relationships with faculty, staff, alums of many different decades, and other parents that that work has led to. I’m very grateful to have been a St. Andrew’s student, and in some sense I still am through this work. I really believe in lifelong learning, and feel incredibly lucky to be learning, particularly about diversity, equity, and belonging through this committee. The opportunity to bring a very nascent and unformed idea about a trip to Montgomery, Alabama for alumni as a vehicle for learning and community building, and to have the alumni committee work together to make it possible, was very meaningful. I am so glad to have been part of that first trip both for my own learning, and for the deep sense of connection and community it generated.”
Edie grew her already deep connection to St. Andrew’s when she became a St. Andrew's parent in 2021-2022. Now a seventh grader, Theo has given her a different perspective on the St. Andrew’s experience.
“As different as the campus, the pre-K to 12 student body, and the sheer size of the community are on the outside, inside… the buildings, the spirit, the learning, and the friendships/relationships that happen feel very much the same,” Edie said. “As a parent, alum, and trustee, I feel incredibly proud of the stewardship that has enabled the early vision, mission, and values of the school to not just continue, but to thrive.”
Alumni like Edie are one reason the school has been able to grow while also staying true to its values and mission. Her service over the past four decades is a reason she was an easy choice for the Thomas Shaw Award for Service.
“I’m very grateful first and foremost,” Demas said. “And a little imposter-ish. By that I mean I’m simply following my own curiosities and passions while trying to be a caring and responsible member of a community that is very important to me. And it’s a community that I get something back from not simply because I’m a parent, which, of course is very important, but also because I have new friendships as a result, and continue to learn and grow as a result of my involvement.”