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The Valparaíso Artizan School (1857-1877)

The aim of establishing the school was to provide a specialized education for the children of Britons, Americans, and particularly Scottish artisans of limited means who worked in the railway workshops in Valparaíso in the mid-19th century. Thus emerged "The Valparaíso Artizan School Society."

Peter Mackay, a teacher in Glasgow, Scotland, accepted the position of Headmaster and moved to Valparaíso, arriving on October 8, 1857. Due to the rapid growth of the school, in 1861 an assistant and successor teacher were sought. George Sutherland arrived in Valparaíso from the "Moray House Training School" in Edinburgh.

By 1866, the school already had an average of 140 students. Thomas Somerscales was hired as a painting teacher and worked for nearly 20 years, in addition to providing private drawing and painting classes. It was only in 1871 that the first course for Chilean children who did not speak the English language was opened.


Due to religious disagreements with some members of the British community, Mackay, Sutherland, and Somerscales resigned from the Artizan School and formed a new school. To accommodate the teachers and students, Sutherland had a large building constructed and purchased the property that had been the boarding house and residence of the Headmaster since the early years, the Quinta Los Olivos on Cerro Alegre.

In 1894, Peter Mackay travelled to Scotland to find a replacement and chose George M. Robertson.


After Mackay's death in 1905, Sutherland and Robertson changed the institution's name to "The Mackay School," as a tribute to its co-founder and former partner. After Mr. Sutherland's retirement in 1912, George Robertson inherited the leadership and ownership of the institution.

As Headmaster, George M. Robertson took a special interest in the teaching of mathematics. He taught not to fear anything and to conquer oneself to triumph over weakness. He conveyed the need for rational thinking and understanding the "why" of things. These principles were later expressed in the motto "vincit qui se vincit".

The Mackay School was preferred by Chilean and foreign families in the early 20th century for its tolerant atmosphere, quality business education, and character development in its students.

In the realm of sports, around 1925, the Mackay School was mentioned in the national press as the "birthplace of Chilean football." The Valparaíso Football Club and Victoria Rangers Club were the first organized clubs in Chile, consisting mostly of teachers, students, and alumni, who enjoyed the game and the honour of victory.

The Robertsons decided to take a break and indefinitely close the establishment in 1928 to return to England. Ten years later, on October 1, 1939, a group of alumni gathered at Quinta Los Olivos with the purpose of reopening the school. The objectives were to create an Alumni Society, a school with a tradition of British scholastic education, and the formation of a sports club for Old Mackayans. That same year, The Mackay School Old Boys Association was founded.

The Association purchased a large piece of land on Los Castaños Avenue in Viña del Mar in 1946 to develop a project for building a school that would accommodate all its students and boarders, as well as sports fields and recreational areas. In Viña del Mar, the development of football and basketball was overshadowed by the rising popularity of rugby. By 1957, the school achieved the position of "Runner-up" (vice-champion) in the Rugby Association.

William D. Kinnear was appointed Headmaster in 1962 when the building had already become too small. With a forward-looking perspective, a significantly larger piece of land was found in Reñaca, the Quinta Hamel. The relocation and construction took place between 1963 and 1968.

In the years 1973 and 1974, the institution expanded its educational coverage by admitting a group of female students, making the school coeducational.

In 1986, Mackay joined the International Baccalaureate organization, allowing students to receive international accreditation for their secondary education. Similarly, in 1981, the first Cambridge English exams were taken.

In the mid-1990s, it became necessary to find a different physical space to implement the projects of the new strategic plan of the school. A building was constructed to meet current requirements, expanding from the original 5,000 square meters to 22,000 square meters. In this context, 12 hectares of land were purchased in the Mantagua area, north of Concón, to develop a sports field.

The new millennium finds The Mackay School with an entirely new infrastructure, offering families and the community numerous opportunities for academic, cultural, and sports development.

Excerpt from "History of The Mackay School"

Marcela Wilson S.


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