Purposeful Passions with Astrid Code: a sense of style

I’m Astrid, the Editor-in-Chief of the Northern Light. In my column Purposeful Passions, I want to tell the stories of PN students who are passionate about making a difference in the world. In this installment, we meet freshman Elijah Parker, whose passion is expressing himself and inspiring others to do the same.  Email me at [email protected] if you have or know of a story that I should feature!


You might have noticed freshman Elijah Parker in the hallways, wearing high heeled boots, a crop top, or even a corset. “I’ve dressed weird, well not weird, but I’ve dressed differently than others in the past few years. Style wise, eccentric is a good word to describe it,” explains Parker. “I dress how I feel. Like if I feel down one of these days I’ll wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt, but if I’m feeling more confident in myself, I will probably wear something more along the lines of a cute little crop top or something like that.” 

Freshman Elijah Parker’s passion is self-expression, and he hopes to inspire others to be more confident. Photos by Jaclyn Brubaker, Abby Hosler, and Spencer Kadlec.

Parker’s passion is self-expression, and he hopes to inspire others to be more confident. “If you see everybody online being themselves openly and not caring about other people, you’re probably going to want to do the same, right?” said Parker. “So I kind of try to do that. If you see others being themselves, you will probably also want to be yourself.” 

In wearing more traditionally feminine clothing, Parker connects self-expression to being part of the LGBTQ community. “For me, it means being myself no matter what. In a huge connection to the LGBTQIA+, what I do, what I wear, who I am, who I love, will only ever involve me. I mean quite genuinely, I have had my fair share of people that hate me, I am a feminine, gay identifying, male. I got a letter, quoting bible verses at me … as a Christian, I would never involve myself in somebody else’s clothing taste. It’s just horrible, I mean, I am a fourteen year old kid, just wearing what makes me feel comfortable in my own skin.” 

“I think Elijah expresses himself definitely in the way he dresses but also in the way he interacts with other people, the way he treats others, and the way he truly cares about everyone he talks to,” said freshman Ava Grunder, Parker’s friend. “I think his most admirable quality is his ability to help build other people’s confidence and be genuine while doing it.” Grunder recounts an example of Parker’s passion for helping others be more confident in themselves. “I remember one time we went to the beach and he told this woman that she looked good in her bathing suit. She replied, ‘Oh, do you think so? I mean I’ve had 3 kids and I don’t feel like I should be wearing a 2 piece bathing suit.’ Then Elijah continues to have a full conversation with her, telling her that she looked amazing and I could tell it meant a lot to her. And as we walked away he continued to talk about how good she looked even when she couldn’t hear us anymore,” Grunder said.

“I absolutely love Elijah and his outfits, he is just such a fun energy to be around and his style really pushes that,” said freshman Natalie Edwards, who also likes to express herself in what she wears. “I like to replicate a lot of modern trends but add a little flare of my own touch in it. I hope everyone wears what makes them happy. I used to be so scared to wear the outfits that I wear now, but at the end of the day all you have to do is be confident, wear the outfit, and don’t let the outfit wear you.”

Overall, Parker hopes to keep setting an example to be yourself, whether that means being authentic in your clothing, talking about the issues you care about, or focusing on your goals. “More individual people in general would just make the world better,” said Parker. “You’d understand other people more if you could just be yourself.”