Saint George's College, Santiago
Saint George's College, founded in 1936 and run by the Congregation of Holy Cross, is among the most exclusive and upper-class schools in Santiago, Chile. According to Seminarium Head Hunting, fully one third of the CEO's of the top 200 companies in Chile are graduates of the school.
Three Holy Cross priests arrived in Santiago, Chile, on March 1, 1943, at the invitation of Cardinal José María Caro, Archbishop of Santiago (Chile), to administer Saint George's College. Fathers William Havey, Alfred Send, and Joseph Doherty believed they were going to do university work. Little did they know that "college" in this context meant a school of first through 12th graders.
Today, Saint George's College serves 2,650 students. Its history is rich and is closely tied with the history of Chile, including the 1970s when the school was taken over by the military government and Holy Cross was ousted. St. George's was the only private school in Chile to be taken over by military authority following the September 1973, coup. The Congregation returned to the school in 1986. Strong faith formation and service have been a hallmark of Saint George's. Over the decades, the college has formed many influential leaders in Chilean society. Also Holy Cross' first Chilean vocation, Fr. Jorge Canepa, was a 1946 graduate of the school.
Originally an all-boys school, Saint George's College was made co-educational in 1973. First located in the then-exclusive Pedro de Valdivia section of Providencia, in 1970 it was relocated to Vitacura. St. George’s students have a traditional reputation of outdoorsy, athletic, boisterous, prankish, and occasionally delinquent. Academically, its students have consistently ranked in the top 20 in terms of mean and average college entrance exam scores.
Its traditional rival schools are Colegio del Verbo Divino and Colegio San Ignacio, which were originally located near one another in the Pedro de Valdivia neighborhood of Providencia. Its traditional sister school was Colegio Santa Úrsula ("Ursulinas"), which was originally next door to St. George's in Providencia
A splinter group of parents and teachers, dissatisfied with the Liberation Theology measures imposed by Father Gerard Whelan (known locally as the Padre Gerardo) during the early 1970s, broke off in 1972 and formed Colegio Tabancura, an Opus Dei-run boy's school. Since then, St. George's College has had a reputation for social and political activism, which is unusual among the group of exclusive schools of Santiago, and the generally conservative Chilean upper-class.
Among Saint George's College's internationally renowned alumni are José Miguel Insulza (Class of '61, Socialist politician, Secretary General of the Organization of American States), Andrés Pascal Allende (Class of '62, Marxist revolutionary), Andrés Wood (Class of '83, film director/producer, who directed the film Machuca, a fictionalized account of Saint George's College around the time of the military coup of '73), Gonzalo Lira (Class of '85, author, film director), Marco Enríquez-Ominami (Class of '90, leftist presidential candidate).
Machuca, A 2004 movie connected to events at the College