Navy Veteran Founds Classical Catholic School to Counter Woke Education

A Navy veteran who rejects the secularist and woke education agendas prevalent in public schools and some parochial schools launched a classical Catholic school in Maryland.

“We’re a military family,” Lt. Commander Ali Ghaffari, founder of Divine Mercy Academy in Pasadena, Maryland, explained to Fox & Friends Weekend Sunday. “We’ve traveled around the country seeing lots of schools, and we settled at the Naval Academy, that was my last tour.

Put my kids in the local schools, I thought they’d be well off and doing well there, and then realized I was not getting what I was hoping for.”

Ghaffari said he was looking for a deeper level of education for his three daughters:

For me, I want my kids to go to heaven. I want them to love Jesus, to be saints, and to live lives of virtue. And that wasn’t the path that I felt they were trodding. Moreover, my middle daughter, she was struggling, they were doing Common Core math at school, and every night was a battle, crying, screaming at the dinner table, and I said we can’t, we can’t do this.

Ghaffari said he heard about classical education, and considered starting his own school.

“I went to visit one and I was absolutely amazed by what I saw: the depth of the questioning by the teacher asking the question why, why, why, and kids going deeper and broader,” he observed, finally deciding “and that’s what I want for my kids.”

Ghaffari explained classical education “comes from the Greeks,” and uses the great works of Western civilization – “these books that are so inspiring and have inspired generations for 2,000 years,” he said.

“The Greeks wanted to know, ‘What does a good life look like? How do we live our lives?’” he noted. “And they came up with living lives of virtue, and asking the big questions, and living a life that is honorable.”

Living such a life, he said, “frees you to have many choices and to do many things.”

“Classical education focuses on training children in virtue, and it does it through the greatest works of Western civilization,” Ghaffari added.

The Navy veteran said he is disappointed in the education agenda in most public schools and even some parochial schools, describing them as “very focused on the here and now – and it ignores heaven and the eternal.”

Ghaffari said he believed God must be brought “back at the center, where He belongs,” and explained he embraces that value by attending Mass and praying the rosary each day.

“God’s at the center of our curriculum,” he said, now that his daughters attend the school he founded.

His daughters, he said, “love their homework,” and “love studying and discussing big topics.”

“It’s wonderful to see,” he added.

Since the school’s founding in 2019, enrollment has doubled each year.

“A program of liberal arts in the classical tradition is designed to help our students to grasp and to communicate Truth,” the school’s educational philosophy states. “The primary means to this end is the acquisition of basic knowledge (grammar), often by memorization; the mastery of the art of sound reasoning (logic); and the mastery of the art of discourse (rhetoric), the effective expression of ideas in both the written and spoken word.”

“Focusing on the intellectual tradition of Western Civilization, Divine Mercy Academy aims to provide our students with an integrated study of the Humanities, Theology, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, the Fine Arts, and Physical Education,” the school’s literature adds.

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Ali Ghaffari” by Ali Ghaffari.


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