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    • *This timeline is based on the book “125 Años de Historia” (125 Years of History) written by the former students Denise Baumgarten Muñoz and Carolina Rutllant Feliú.

    1880: “The Foundation”

    Santiago College was inaugurated at a decisive time in Chilean history, especially for Chilean women.  The country was involved in the Pacific War, which meant that many women had to replace men in different activities.

    On July 1, 1880, the house at number 17, Vergara Street began to be rented for one thousand pesos per year. It was a three-story building with ample gardens and play yards and became the place of origin of a school founded by American Methodist missioners who placed the first stone of a state-of-the-art educational establishment, free from religious influences and with a high level of academic demand.  The principles guiding our founders and Santiago College teachers lie at the statement that “all educational systems must develop and exercise physical, intellectual and moral capabilities in order to prepare young people for important responsibilities as citizens, members of social, political and business communities, the family and home, and as sincere followers of God.”

    Santiago College was founded on October 1st, 1880 with the support and supervision of the Board of Foreign Missions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As stated in the school incorporation deed, “its purpose is to provide girls and women in Chile with a Christian education, but without sectarianism, and reach the highest ideals in education.” Additionally, the SC was fully bilingual from the start, encouraging both teachers and students to speak English at all times.  The founders considered that the English language was “the true golden key to modern education.”

    Despite the advertising campaign and the substantial efforts made by the organizer, Ira Haynes La Fetra, the school started its classes on October 4 with only 7 pupils, most of them foreigners’ daughters.
    When the school opened its doors, the Santiago society was shocked by the gym lessons for girls. It was difficult to convince the parents about the benefits that these “modern practices” would bring to health, but the founders were firm and true to their mission of marching ahead in the Chilean educational system.
    Another innovation that caused a great stir during the opening of the school was the kindergarten, established for the first time in the country according to the revolutionary educational system for children created by the remarkable German educator Friederick Von Froebel. This system intended to make the most of the first years of a child’s life, when his mind is much more flexible and trainable to build the basis of his/her future education.

    1881: “First childhood: a difficult period”

    The first years were very difficult times, of great efforts and sacrifices. First, teachers were scarce, so the workload for those who were teaching was often excessive.  Additionally, keeping the building at Vergara St. was very costly and the house did not have the necessary facilities to install the so desired boarding school.

    On the other hand, the religious tolerance encouraged by the school was considered as a threat by the traditional Chilean families, as it was against the customs of the time. However, all these obstacles only made the Santiago College founders more determined to accept the new challenge, as shown by the considerable increase of students in March 1882.  This required moving to a larger building located at 219, Alameda de las Delicias.

    1887: “Own building”

    In 1886, the Transit and Building Fund Society, formed by Bishop William Taylor for the payment of teachers’ and missioners’ transportation and led by the school management, acquired a piece of land located at the corner of Agustinas and Brasil for $ 35,000 where a new building would be erected. The building would later shelter Santiago College for 45 years. It was inaugurated at the beginning of the school year of 1887 and, according to documents of that time, it was the best establishment for women in terms of modernity, space and equipment.

    Apart from the luxury facilities sheltering the boarding school dorms, the new building had a huge dining room, spacious and illuminated classrooms and special music and painting facilities.

    Seven years after its foundation, the school had 184 students, compared to the initial 7 students. Amongst them, the daughters of former President Anibal Pinto, former President Manuel Balmaceda, as well as the children of Captain Arturo Prat and four grandchildren of former President Domingo Santa María, were included.
    The consolidation of the girls’ school was causing the gradual disappearance of the men’s school, which was fully closed in 1884 by the La Fetra couple.

    1904: “Founding Fathers’ Farewell”

    In the beginning of 1904 Adelaide Whitfield announced her departure for the United States with her husband Ira La Fetra. Even though it was a voluntary trip, it was difficult for her to leave her school duties, where she had worked for over 20 years and had seen it grow from scratch. In her farewell letter, Mrs. La Fetra reaffirmed the main qualities that gave the School its reputation while she was the School Principal and then became imprinted forever in the students’ minds: academic excellence, moral education, state-of-the-art teaching, highly qualified teachers, obligatory gym and bilingualism.

    1920: “Miss Swaney and the transition”

    After Mr. and Mrs. La Fetra left the School, a very nostalgic air filled the corridors. The school had lost the drive of its first decades and the founders’ charisma imprinted during the years they were in Chile. The school management changed many times, which was frequently not beneficial for the SC.

    Since 1915 until the first years of the 1920’s, the school suffered many changes with lots of conflicts and difficulties. Even though this was not reflected in the increasing amount of enrolled students, the prestige reached by SC during the time of the La Fetra Principals was slowly fading.  It was at this time when one of the main characters of the Santiago College history arrived in Chile.

    Mary Firebaugh Swaney became a widow when her husband struck dead by lightning.  28 years old and in full sorrow, this teacher graduated from Wesleyan College, got on board and departed for South America to begin her life anew.

    “In a cold day of July of 1920, Mrs. Mary F. Swaney arrived in Chile. 20 years have passed and I can still see her charming smile when she greeted all of us and spoke about our pretty city and our beautiful mountains, instead of complaining about humidity and coldness. And since then she has always been this way, looking for the best in all things and people, helping everyone to give the best from themselves,” one of her pupils described Mrs. Swaney in the College Mirror, the students’ school bulletin at the time.

    The American colony resident in Santiago was proud of her and the former students were encouraged to return to their Alma Mater after remaining a long time away from it.

    Mrs. Swaney was considered as the Transition Principal, because led by her hand the school made the biggest step in its history. It was transferred to a new modern building located at the corner of Lota and Los Leones Streets.

    1925-1930: Elisa Parada de Miguel

    Elisa Parada de Miguel, a member of the 1893 class, was the main benefactor of the new facilities located at Los Leones street.  As a wedding present, her husband, the American philanthropist Moses Miguel, offered to sponsor a project in Chile. She travelled from New York to her country of origin and chose to give new appearance to its beloved Santiago College.

    The buildings and the equipment of Agustinas did not meet the needs of a state-of-the-art education at the level of American standards, so the school had to move to the east side of the city, where the new residential neighborhoods were located.  “Mr. Miguel agreed. We will have the best school in South America. It will be an example of the best education offered in North America… I am already sending 20 thousand dollars as a sign of my commitment to the project,” she wrote enthusiastically upon her return to the United States.

    According to the plans, the school would have classrooms for 500 students and a boarding school for 150 girls, library, music halls, modern physics and chemistry laboratories, a full department for home economics, gym, ample gardens and facilities for practicing sports in the open air.

    Thanks to Elisa Parada’s donation, at present, former students of Santiago College are partially heirs of this institution.  The by-laws stated:
    “Once the Foundation ends – for any reason – its assets will pass to the Santiago College Alumni Association, which, by mutual consent with the Board of Trustees of Santiago College, will give it a purpose similar to that of the Foundation.”

    1930: “The fiftieth anniversary and construction”

    On October 1st, 1930, the school became 50 years old.  The Golden Years party began with a ceremony where the principal, Mrs. Swaney, officially presented the Santiago College flag donated by Elisa Parada de Miguel. It was light-blue and in the middle it had the symbol of education: a woman seated on a throne, crowned with laurels, surrounded by books and with the motto “Education dignifies” embroidered around her.

    From that day on, the school flag has always been present in all school ceremonies and has become emblematic for all former students and future generations.

    The celebration lasted three days and the most important ceremony took place on October 3rd, in the Providencia plot, where the first stone of the new school was placed on Lota Street. The President of the time, Carlos Ibáñez del Campo, attended the event, also the Minister of Education, general Bartolomé Blanche; the ambassadors of the United States and United Kingdom and other diplomatic authorities.  
    The construction of the important new building for Santiago College was difficult and full of inconveniences that lasted more than one and a half year. The architects Josué Smith Solar and his son José Tomás Smith Miller were retained. They were the most prestigious duo of the time and had the greatest experience in building educational establishments. They chose the Spanish colonial architectural style of the 16th century, with some modifications, such as larger windows and other modern additions.

    1933-1960: “Elizabeth Mason Governance”

    “God bless each one of you and always keep the school in His heart.  With this phrase, Miss Elizabeth Caton Mason ended each of the ceremonies she presided over. She directed the school during 27 years and knew how to inspire young students to preserve the values that had guided the institution from the start.

    Elizabeth C. Mason was trained as teacher and professional in the United States and Europe. She graduated from A. B. Goucher College for girls in Maryland and also studied at the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York where she became Master of Arts. In the latter university she also specialized in “modern education for the youth” and became a true authority in the matter.

    For many, the golden age of the school began with her arrival in 1933.  With her push and determination she consolidated SC’s prestige by giving the school her own spirit. During her governance period, the Santiago College grew and became known as one of the most important educational establishments for girls in Chile.

    Miss Mason always worked to make the school become an establishment of excellence. One of her big achievements was to adjust SC education to modernity and progress in order to favor women. Additionally, she gave great importance to culture.  She passed on to the students her knowledge of history, theater, literature and art and hired the best singing, dancing and drama teachers. Elizabeth succeeded in causing that SC girls were known everywhere for their great culture.

    In terms of religion, Miss Mason encouraged openness and tolerance of creed in SC, and this prevails till today.  For ceremonies, she invited representatives from all churches, because school values were most important to her and they were not exclusive to any particular religion.

    No doubt Elizabeth Mason left an indelible imprint in the heart of all generations that have graduated from SC. She created many school traditions that are still practiced, such as the Last Chapel and the Commencement ceremony with caps and gowns, and the Evergreen Chain.

    1972: “The Co-ed school”

    Santiago College opened its doors to boys in March 1972, thereby starting a new period in the school history. The first boy students came to school from pre-kinder to fourth grade, and the first co-ed class graduated in 1980 when the school became 100 years old. 

    It should be noted that in 1881 the founders had opened a section for boys in an adjacent building. This section operated independently from the girls’ school and closed some years after due to differences between Ira La Fetra and Fletcher Humphrey, the boys’ school principal.

    The new co-ed school brought a number of repercussions.  At the beginning it was difficult to adjust the spaces and the minds of all involved.  The teachers were used to train girls only and used to refer to the group in feminine and had to quickly correct themselves.  Likewise, during some time the term for former students was also feminine, even though after the entrance of several former boy students it was changed to Alumni, a positive change in the end.

    In an interview published in the Alumni News in 1984, Rebeca Donoso, head of the SC at the time, gave her opinion about the introduction of boys:  “Supposedly we live in a mixed society where men and women naturally coexist.  Co-ed schools train children better for the future, teaching them daily co-living habits that will help them throughout their lives.” she stated.

    1980-1985: “The 100th anniversary and the land in los Trapenses”

    The centenary of SC was received with joy and emotion by the community, not only because of the amount of years of the institution, but also because it coincided with the fact that the school governance was in the hands of the former student Rebeca Donoso Palacios, 1959 class, trained under the teachings of Miss Elizabeth Mason.

    In the beginning of this decade, the Los Leones building began to be limited for the amount of students and there was no further space where it could grow. Additionally, as it was co-ed, it needed more space for the practice of the different sports. Given this reality, the search for a more adequate land started.

    On October 29, 1985, a purchase promise agreement was signed between the Trapenses monks and the Santiago College Educational Foundation for a land located beyond Lo Curro. The plot was three times bigger than the Los Leones land and was acquired with the commitment to build sports facilities and classrooms within the next 20 years.

    The challenge then was to build a 21st-century school, but without losing the Santiago College traditions and hallmark. The architects decided to use elements from the past and at the same time meet the needs of the new century by introducing all necessary technological advances to implement the most modern educational system.  The SC tradition was represented by three elements that would be in the access to the new school: a rose garden, the entry arch and the façade have the same monolithical character of the cloister on Lota Street.

    2014: “The 21st-Century Santiago College”

    The start of the 21st century brought a period of transcendental changes to the SC.  The person who had an important role in this new phase was the Principal designated by the Senior Board in 2004: the former student Lorna Prado Scott, daughter of the well-remembered teacher Lorna Scott.

    “Loly”, as those close to her call her, graduated from Universidad de Chile as Primary School Teacher with a Major in English and Physical Education. In 1979 she received a Scholarship in Education and Sports and travelled to Germany where she lived for one year.  Additionally, she has a Master in Educational Administration and Management and in 1999 she was accredited by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) as teacher of the Primary Years Program (PYP) to lead educational workshops in North America and Latin America.

    Lorna Prado established important goals when she was designated principal for Santiago College. Her first priority was to create, together with the Senior Board, a strategic plan to define the physical place where the school would be located during the next 100 years: the Los Trapenses land. “The school needs new facilities where we can have more technological advances, more green areas, entertaining places, parking places, safer accesses and exits,” explained Lorna.

    Thus, the new educational establishment was inaugurated on May 8, 2013. A very modern architectural project that validates the past and looks to the future while preserving tradition.

    The ceremony was attended by the main school authorities, such as, Colette Saieg, Chairman of the Senior Board; Arturo Valenzuela, member of the Board of Trustees; and Lorna Prado Scott, Principal.

    “From us to those who follow us: an inheritance full of responsibilities that, protected by these new walls, leaves behind the huge task of progressing with an intact memory of history, with the perfect compass of the present times and, especially, walking to the future supported on the deep roots of the Santiago College legacy.  These roots cannot be cut and cannot be negotiated; instead they are passed from generation to generation through the centuries without losing the Alma Mater,” emphasized Lorna Prado Scott in the inauguration speech for these new building that would be the new 21st  century school house.

    Another important objective for this new Principal was to emphasize the significance of the values taught in SC to its students throughout its long history:  responsibility, honesty, respect, tolerance, integrity, loyalty, courtesy, solidarity, leadership, commitment with a high academic level and joy of life.

    Feeling profound love for her school, Lorna wants to emphasize SC traditions and roots. Her progressive mission is one of the fundamental pillars that will help her keep the academic excellence that has prevailed at Santiago College since its foundation and has placed it amongst the Chilean educational leaders.

    More than 100 years have passed since Ira and Adelaide La Fetra started with the challenge of founding the SC and making it the school of excellence it is today.  The passing of the years and the development of a more globalized, competitive and technological world have not been obstacles to continue to deliver highest educational ideals, a Christian education -but without narrow-mindedness-, and bilingual teaching marked by firm values and principles.


  • SC ceremonies are part of a tradition that has over one century of history and give a special imprint to Santiago College spirit. They characterize by their formality and mark important moments in the school life, while distinguishing the different phases seniors have to go through in their last year as students of this school. 


    This is a day for giving thanks. In this ceremony the SC community remembers the pilgrims who came to North America and after one year of hard work gave thanks to God for the fruits they had collected. The act is commemorated with an assembly held during the fall season. In this opportunity, students make a symbolic delivery of the collected nonperishables that are given to charity institutions. The celebration takes place in the school auditorium where the stage is decorated with the whole lot of collected products. 

    4th of July

    With this ceremony, the school celebrates the Independence of the United States of America, country of origin of the SC. The different school levels organize their assemblies with songs, dances, typical outfits and speeches related to this date. 

    September 18th

    This date is also celebrated with the corresponding solemnity. Teachers choose different subjects related to the historic events that marked the Chilean Independence process, ramadas are built and speeches are given on the spiritual values of our nation. 

    School Days 

    The School celebrates its anniversary in October and the Student Council is responsible for its organization. During these days, the alliances or houses parade on the SC sport fields in floats representing the different themes chosen by the students.

    Senior Traditions and Ceremonies

    Tie Ceremony

    At the beginning of the school year, 12th-graders are anxious to receive the tie that distinguishes them as new seniors and start to enjoy the privileges they have as such. Amongst these new advantages they can stroll around the School singing the melody: “So we are seniors, seniors are we, singing together, happy are we”, in a way to show their joy for having reached the end of a period. Additionally, and given their condition as seniors, the students can go out of school to have lunch and use a cardigan designed by them that identifies them as members of the senior class. However, all these privileges carry a responsibility the students cannot forget, which is that they must behave at the level of the circumstances and prove that both the tie they wear and the special treat they receive are the result of years of respect and fidelity to the principles and values taught by the School.

    Ring & Medal Ceremony

    In November, the School hands in rings and medals to its seniors. These items were introduced in 1980, the year when the first boys’ class was created in SC.

     These distinctions refer to the cycle of the school life as a vital period that determines the students’ future. Both the rings and the medals are engraved with the school seal which shows a female laureate figure together with the motto: “La educación ennoblece” (Education dignifies). They symbolize the commitment acquired by the students with the School and distinguish them wherever they go as members of Santiago College. 

    Alumni Supper

    At the end of November or first days in December, the Alumni Association officially receives the senior class of the year as the new members of its institution. This ceremony takes place annually with a dinner in the School gardens and is attended by former students of all years. In this occasion, generations of alumni will meet celebrating 25, 40 and even 50 or more years since they graduated.

    The price “English Award” is given in this ceremony. Created by Graciela Balbontín de Bravo, class 1931, this price distinguishes the student with the highest grade average in English during the last four years. The price consists in a golden medal handed by the President of the Alumni Association

    Last Chapel

    This is the celebration that moves the students’ hearts more deeply. It is called Last Chapel, as this is the last religious ceremony attended by seniors at school and is based on the SC spiritual life. In the past, students attended a number of assemblies or chapels during the year, where they read a passage of the Bible and the headmaster or headmistress talked about important subjects from the spiritual point of view. In addition, beautiful religious hymns and Christmas carols were sung to create an environment of preparation to celebrate the birth of Christ

    Last Chapel is a farewell given by the School to its seniors at a ceremony where the three religions taught at school are present: Catholic, Protestant and Jewish. Attended by twelfth-graders’ parents and guardians, teachers and eleventh-grade students, this ceremony is characterized by its deep spiritual sense.

    Traditionally, seniors enter the auditorium dressed in their caps and gowns and singing Father Almighty. Then, first-grade students give a flower bouquet to the girls and a school banner to the boys while the “The Sweetest Flower” is sung. This moment emphasizes the cycle and continuity of the new generations that replace those who leave the school.

    Junior - Senior Picnic

    Once the Last Chapel is over, juniors invite seniors to a picnic somewhere in the open air.  There they enjoy an afternoon by the pool accompanied by their homeroom teachers. As a souvenir of this day, each senior receives a small present from his junior (an 11th-grade student who has been chosen based on kinship or affinity). 

    Senior Breakfast

    Once the Last Chapel is over, juniors invite seniors to a picnic somewhere in the open air.  There they enjoy an afternoon by the pool accompanied by their homeroom teachers. As a souvenir of this day, each senior receives a small present from his junior (an 11th-grade student who has been chosen based on kinship or affinity). 


    This word refers to the end of a phase and at the same time the beginning of a new life.  Traditionally, a special person is invited to give a speech to seniors.  It is always an outstanding person, either the chancellor of a university, an ambassador, a religious authority, or a distinguished member of the national community.  This solemn act takes place at the school in the Rose Garden, where everything is organized to receive the seniors’ families and friends.

    Commencement starts with seniors coming in wearing their caps and gowns and escorted by the juniors who carry the “evergreen chain”. This chain is made of pine wood and represents the future of new generations. In previous years, Pomp and Circumstancewas played as background music by the Police Corps band, but nowadays this march is played by the school band.

    Seven distinctions granted by the school at the end of the school life are awarded during this ceremony, namely:  Finer Humankind Award (the most significant one), followed by Valedictorian Award, Salutatorian Award, Sportsmanship Award, Creativity Award and ECIS Award.

    Junior Prom

    Upon finishing the Commencement ceremony, juniors attend the so-called Junior Prom. Girls wear the white dress had worn when they escorted the seniors, and boys, in turn, wear the official school uniform.  The dining-room is decorated with flowers and balloons and juniors happily celebrate their coming closer to the goal:  the senior class.

    In recent years, the Junior Prom celebration has taken place in the school dining-room.

    Senior Ball

    This is the last party attended by the entire graduated class accompanied by their parents and guardians.  Girls wear party dresses and boys wear a suit. It usually takes place in a large hall with room for many people and especially decorated for a great occasion.  Music is also an important item.  The event is organized by the parents, and the Headmaster (headmistress) and each homeroom teacher are invited as special guests.

    The party begins with a cocktail followed by a father-daughter or mother-son waltz.  The parents and guests leave before dinner is served.  The party and the dancing go on until early hours and end with a nice breakfast.

    The Senior Ball is the last opportunity when the entire senior class can share and say good bye to their school life.
  • Finer Humankind Award

    This award is the maximum distinction conferred on the student that best represents our school values.

    Winner 2016

     Sebastián Morales

    Valedictorian Award

    It is awarded to the student who has achieved the best average during the years in the Upper and High School, demonstrating high academic commitment and responsibility.

    2016 Winners

     Rodrigo Susaeta Francisca Viñuela

    Salutatorian Award

    It is awarded to the student who has achieved the second best average during the years in the Upper and High School, demonstrating high academic commitment and responsibility.

    Winner 2016

     Arturo Saffie

    Sportsmanship Award

    This award is given to a girl and a boy of the graduating class who is not necessarily the best athlete, but the one who has demonstrated a high commitment in the field of sports, giving the best of him or herself for their team and the school.

    2016 Winners

     Daniela Ebner Pablo Dabovich

    Elizabeth Mason - Mary Swaney Award (Creativity Award)

    It is awarded to a student who, throughout the school years, has demonstrated a creative spirit in academic and extracurricular activities.

    Winner 2016

     Diego de Vits

    International Understanding Award (ECIS)

    Awarded to a student who is a good representative of their own country, with a positive attitude toward the life and culture of others, able to converse in at least two languages, a contributing force in the life of the school, with the ability to bring differing people together into a sense of community, thus furthering the cause of international understanding.


    Winner 2016

     Sofía Correa