A Legacy of Service to God and Our Community
With a rich history spanning nearly 75 years, Eddlemon Adventist Christian Academy (EACA) is the oldest, continuously operating Protestant Christian School in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Founded in 1951 as the Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church School, EACA began as a one-room school in the basement of the Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church on High Point Road, just outside Downtown Spartanburg. In 1963, the school moved to its present location at 1217 Reidville Road (i.e., in 1998, Reidville Road would be renamed John B. White, Sr. Boulevard). The members of the church have always been strong supporters of Adventist Education, and they intentionally constructed the school first to serve the congregation’s families and the community. The school had three classrooms that were all entered from an outdoor covered breezeway. A small sanctuary was connected to the school and was utilized until the church’s current, larger sanctuary was built in 1977. After the new sanctuary was built, the previous, small sanctuary was converted into a multipurpose facility that served as both a recreational room for the school on inclement days and a fellowship hall for the church.
In 1965, Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church School was renamed Eddlemon Memorial School following the tragic and untimely death of Lawrence (Larry) E. Eddlemon, MD (35), his wife Carol Estes Eddlemon (34), and their two eldest children Lawrence Jr. (12) and Dottie Jean (10) in a plane crash. Their two younger children, Eugene (6) and David (4) survived them, as they were not on the trip that claimed the lives of their parents and siblings. The Eddlemon home was a demonstration of what a truly Christ-centered one could be, and its influence radiated happiness and inspiration to all who were privileged to enter it. Dr. and Mrs. Eddlemon were active in the church and held prominent roles on civic and cultural boards and committees throughout Spartanburg. They were strong supporters of the school, and their example of a Christ-centered home and family, servant leadership, and community involvement continue to be guiding principles of EACA.
As enrollment grew in the 1980s, it became apparent that a new, more modern facility was needed. Instead of moving to a new site, the church made the decision to tear down most of the existing, one-story school and rebuild a two-story facility; the original, small sanctuary and its basement were retained and incorporated into the new building. For two years, the school met in the church. The current facility opened in 1994, complete with seven classrooms, administrative offices, library, and full-size gymnasium with kitchen. The gymnasium was named the Stutler Center in honor of Pastor Don Stutler who championed the building of the new school. Around this same time, the school was renamed Eddlemon Adventist School. The bottom floor of the building has housed a sister preschool, Eddlemon Child Development Center for many years.
The Spartanburg Seventh-day Adventist Church is always seeking to improve its campus and the services it can provide to its membership and the community. In 2013, the former, small sanctuary building was renovated to serve as a meeting hall for school chapels, small groups, Bible studies, and church gatherings; it was named Colburn Hall in posthumous honor of Pastor Harold D. Colburn and his wife Violet (Vi) R. Colburn who led the church in the 1960s and 1970s. In 2015, the gymnasium kitchen was renovated into a full-service commercial kitchen, allowing the school to prepare daily hot lunches in accordance with state health standards. Additionally, in 2019, a new playground was constructed, complete with swings, slides, lookout perches, and a state-of-the-art cushioned, simulated grass surface.
Most recently, in 2021, the school’s name was changed to Eddlemon Adventist Christian Academy, complete with new branding, logo, and mission statement. The constituency desired to be more inclusive of our community. Realizing that not everyone is familiar with Adventists, it was important to include “Christian” in the name of the school. At the same time, our hearts long for the second coming of our Savior, so “Adventist” continues to come first in the name. There was also great support to be true to our legacy of service and community involvement, as well as acknowledge the name recognition of “Eddlemon” in the Spartanburg community.
While embracing our history and the legacy of those who came before us, EACA is focused on God’s continuous grace, His plans for the future of His school, and how He would have us serve our community. Our mission statement – His Light. In Us. Through Us. To the World. – is lived out daily by our students, faculty, staff, and families, as we know that God has called us to shine his light to the Spartanburg community and beyond. As we study, teach, inspire, and serve, may we always strive to fulfill Jesus’ call in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”