Humans of South Forsyth – Mark Swanger

Kate Geiger, Columns Editor

Mr. Mark Swanger, the Department Chair of Special Education, has been a staff member at SFHS for the past seven years out of twenty four years of teaching. He lets students come into his office to either get assignments finished or have some time to relax. He is in charge of supporting any questions or concerns from students’ families or teachers. Their concerns can be either academic or social emotional. Mr. Swanger loves working and laughing with the students.

He loves to help the student grow and discover where their passions lie as well as find the things that make each one of them stand out among the crowd. Moreover, his passion for helping others leaves a long-lasting impact on the students.  Similar to the gratitude that the students hold for him, his students’ achievements beyond high school serve as an inspiration to him. Mr. Swanger recounts a memorable experience he had with one of the past students after he finished his surgery in the past.

“A student of mine was being trained for vocational skills for years and years with us before he graduated,” said Mr. Swanger. “When I woke up from my surgery, he was actually in the room as he was stocking containers with gauze, bandages, and other medical supplies. As I woke up from anesthesia and looked over, I was like ‘Oh my god, is that you [to the student]?’ He responded by saying ‘yeah, Mr. Swanger.’ We immediately started talking and he told me how he had a full-time job at the hospital. It was inspiring to see that he had done really well for himself and his training had worked. You know, he was happy and had a happy life. That’s definitely inspiring.” 

Beyond teaching, he likes spending his free time outdoors. His happiest moment when he was a child was camping with family in Key West.

Honestly the happiest moments, we used to camp all the time. We go camping as a family in Key West. And we would go fishing, snorkeling, swimming , and running around in the sun. It was very free. You can just run around, go crazy, have fun, and do whatever. When other families came out and camped with us. So there was a lot of kids, we get to run around. Anytime I am at the beach, I feel happy because of it.”

Also, Mr. Swanger loves anything adventurous. When asked about a character he would love to embody in his favorite book or movie , he said:

Well, that’s easy! That’s super easy! I would be Jason Bourne! I would be like, you know a guy who fights, goes crazy, and runs and jumps. You know, all that stuff. Action and adventure, that would be me.”