Ali Ghaffari had reached a breaking point with the curriculum and secular notions being pushed in his daughters’ public school. So the Navy veteran took decisive action.
He started a school.
Lt. Commander Ghaffari established Divine Mercy Academy in Pasadena, Maryland, a K-8 independent private day school in the Catholic tradition, in 2019.
Ghaffari’s three daughters had experienced public education in several cities as the family moved during his various tours of duty. His sense of frustration grew along the way.
“I realized I was not getting what I was hoping for,” he told Fox News in an interview. “For me, I want my kids to go to heaven. I want them to love Jesus … and live lives of virtue.”
After learning about the concept of classical education – teaching students to learn and think, and focusing on such subjects as grammar, logic, math, geometry, music and art – Ghaffari found what he was looking for.
“Classical education comes from the Greeks,” he told Fox. “The Greeks wanted to know, ‘What does a good life look like? How do we live our lives?’ And they came up with living lives of virtue, and asking the big questions, and living a life that is honorable.”
Divine Mercy Academy began with 19 students, and today it has more than 90.
Ghaffari attributes his faith and passion for education to his upbringing. Raised by a single mother who struggled with drug addiction, he focused on his studies to achieve his dream of becoming a Navy fighter pilot. His mother taught him the power of prayer.
“Plato, Aristotle and the great books of the Western tradition had an enormous impact on my faith journey,” Ghaffari told local media last year. “In the end, it came down to the greatest book of all, the Bible. Now we’re passing these treasures on to the next generation through classical education, and they love it.”
Ghaffari told Fox News his own children now love going to school.
“They love their homework. They love studying and discussing big topics. It’s wonderful to see.”