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The GFA Difference

Transforming lives since 1908

“We ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth… so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought; for this is right education.”
Nichomachean Ethics Book 2

Greenleaf Friends Academy was founded in 1908 by members of the Friends Church committed to an excellent Christian education for their families.  For over a century GFA has remained faithful to the vision of those original founders of an education that shapes and forms the whole student: heart, mind, and body. Our own unique approach to classical Christian education does exactly this by emphasizing the six Desired Outcomes of a GFA Graduate. The Desired Outcomes are:

  1. Sound Reason and a Sound Faith – It is our hope that while our students are at GFA they will build a deep and meaningful relationship with the Lord Jesus, that they will come to trust Him in all things, and that they will know what they believe and why they believe it. Our hope is that they will then go out into the world well equipped to defend their faith and speak powerfully and persuasively to an unbelieving world.
  2. Virtue and Mature Christian Character – Greenleaf Friends Academy focuses on the cultivation of virtue and mature Christian character in students as the central part of education. We aspire to produce students who love the Lord with all their hearts and their neighbors as themselves, and out of that love they seek to selflessly serve others. Through the careful process of shaping their affections, we hope our students come to love what God loves and be pained by what God is pained by.
  3. A Masterful Command of Language – GFA aspires to produce students who recognize, as Proverbs 18 states it, “life and death are in the power of the tongue.” Words have the power to bring life or death, to build up or to tear down, to persuade or to confuse. We want our students to recognize that words have meaning, that language is power, to be able to tell when someone is using that power against them, and to turn that power back around and use it for God’s glory.
  4. A Broad Exposure to Books and Ideas – Great books and the ideas they contain have the power to shape and form who we are.  GFA aims to bring students into contact with the greatest minds the world has produced and let them engage with what the educational philosopher Robert Hutchens has called “the Great Conversation”: the long, storied exploration of truth and all that it means to be people made in God’s image.
  5. A Well Rounded Competence – GFA believes young students should have as broad an education as possible for many reasons; first, a man who is dependent upon another to do what he himself should be able to do has made himself subject to another unnecessarily; second, a broad education is necessary for students to discover what God has called a student to do life-long; third, there are life lessons that can best be taught outside of core curriculum; fourth, a broad education provides students with an entire life of metaphors, analogies, and connections; and finally, the rapid rate of change in the world make it foolish for a student to specialize too early.
  6. A Carefully Cultivated Aesthetic – The world is full of beautiful things and ugly things. One of the darkest developments of the age in which we live is that the culture has largely forsaken the idea of beauty and has instead devoted itself to what philosopher Roger Scruton has called “the cult of ugliness”; in art, entertainment, architecture, and music, ugliness is everywhere. GFA aspires to train our students to recognize and be inspired by beauty wherever they encounter it in the world.

Chris Browne

Head of the School