Eden Parker attended Clapham School from fifth to eighth grade, and took math and humanities at Clapham before the high school was fully formed. After she graduated high school, she went on to study at Wheaton College, and graduated in 2018. Eden majored in Christian Education, and ran hurdles and threw the javelin on the track team.
After graduating from Wheaton College, Eden worked at Unlocking the Bible as a content manager for the teaching ministry of Pastor Colin Smith. She is currently the content manager of Bibles.net, a site that aims to make the Bible accessible to the unchurched and unbelieving. Eden's hobbies include running, drawing, spending time with friends and family, and coaching javelin.
We caught up with Eden to find out how her time at Clapham School helped shape her for her future.
What are some ways that your time at Clapham School helped prepare you for college?
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11 ESV
The unique measure of discipline Clapham employed with its students, though it seemed painful rather than pleasant at the time to a strong willed little girl, yielded more peaceful fruit in my life than I could have ever imagined. My teachers faithfully and patiently trained me to welcome “pain” in micro measures, trusting it was doing a work greater than I could see.
See, I didn’t like uniforms. I didn’t like Latin—it was dead after all, why did we need to resurrect it? I didn’t want to write essays in cursive or stare at an old painting for 30 minutes. I wondered why we couldn’t read more than a page of a book without having to interrupt and recap the story (narration)—things no other school would make you do.
All these things were intentional, foundational to the curriculum, and contrary to my liking. But every day I recited, “I am a child of God. I ought to do his will. I can do what he asks of me, and by his grace I will.”
True freedom is walking in obedience to the will of God, no matter how much you don’t want to.
By college, I learned I could do homework when I didn’t want to, I could respect teachers and work heartily whether I agreed with them or not, I could apply myself to subjects I did not enjoy, and that I ought to because that was God’s will for me. And in obedience, we also find joy.
The world has destroyed one of the most precious truths of Scripture in the minds of children today—that discipline is love. But Clapham loved me enough to apply a unique discipline that most other schools do not employ.
What’s one thing you really enjoyed from the unique educational experience at Clapham School?
“The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him.”
Authority and affection are not opposed. Somehow my Clapham teachers’ transparency with me made me respect them all the more. Mrs. Ross let me know as a 5th grader when she was having an emotional day, and let the tears sneak out. Mr. Barney showed us some gymnastics moves. Mr. Egan brought us afternoon tea, and shared his love for all things Scottish. Mrs. Bramsen shared with Stephen and me about the mysterious man who gave her the great big beautiful ring on her finger.
I enjoyed getting to know my teachers as friends, as people, and as fellow believers. And this showed me something of the Lord, that his authority in our life is actually more welcomed as our intimacy with him increases.
Do you have a favorite memory of a moment of learning, or connection with a teacher, book, or subject that you can share?
In fifth grade, I was imitating a Cezanne painting for picture study, which is a household decoration now. I felt quite ready to be done and was about to apply some final touches. Mrs. Ross came by and looked at the color on my palette. “Now Eden, is that really the same green as in the painting?” Close enough of a green,, but not my best effort. She knew it and so did I.
You may be surprised that fifth graders were attempting Cezanne at all—but Mrs. Ross wasn’t impressed with me, if it were less than my best. This memory comes to life every time I sit down to paint or draw, and has actually motivated quite a bit of artwork in my free time, not to mention work in general, because I know I can make something beautiful or accomplish something difficult if I just give it my all.
Can you share some plans or ideas on how you hope to serve Christ with your life and work?
I now work at Christian Art Gifts in Bloomingdale and have been the content manager for a new website called Bibles.net for over a year. Our site is not live yet, though we own the domain. Lord willing, Bibles.net will be a resource that organizes the wealth of biblical content on the web for the unchurched and unbelieving. The website is everything from exegesis to biblical theology to church history to systematic theology—all in layman’s terms. It’s delivered in an intelligent yet simple manner avoiding Christianese, while also not dumbing down the gospel or biblical truth.
Our goal is to glorify Jesus in the online world and get people into God’s Word.
I plan to serve Christ by working heartily as for the Lord and not for men on this exciting task He has given me to do at present. Thanks to the Clapham family, I now delight in learning. I learned the joy of applying yourself to reading well and nerd-out daily over the amount I get to read and think for my job.
What advice would you give to your high school self?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways.
You don’t know how exciting it is to look back on your life and see God’s straight path cutting through all your prayers and worries and plans. Just keep praying—keep giving your heart and ways to him, and running when you can’t see what’s ahead or what’s around the corner.
What advice would you give to current high school students at Clapham?
Don’t be wise in your own sight. In high school, I thought I had “made it”—there’s a weird sense of autonomy that comes when you hit your teens. Learn, learn, learn; listen to advice and accept instruction and you will be wise, says Proverbs. Love your teachers, listen to the Lord through his Word, honor your parents. Though at times they cross your will, their authority and leadership in your life is a loving gift from your heavenly Father.
Know that God wants us to stay children in our souls, though we grow up in stature. As you get older you’ll gain responsibility, and be tempted to think that more in your hands means you can handle more. No, it just means there’s more for you to carry to the cross, more to trust into Jesus’ hands, more you need to be taught, more for you to hear than to say. So be a good listener, of all to God through his Word.
Eden joins the brave young men and women who chose a road less traveled for their high school education, an education designed to develop the whole person. In the words of Émile Zola, Eden is a pioneer, a vanguard, a risker full of faith and hope, and we wish her all the best.