Gimnasio Moderno

Gimnasio Moderno

The Gimnasio Moderno is a private all-male traditional and liberal, primary and secondary school located in Bogotá, Colombia. It was founded in 1914 by various prestigious Colombians following the leading initiative of Don Agustín Nieto Caballero. Some of the remarkable personalities who acted as co-founders of this New School (Escuela Nueva) were: Don José María Samper Brush, Don Daniel Samper Ortega, Don Tomás Rueda Vargas, and Ricardo Lleras Codazzi. These gentlemen were predominant "freethinkers" at the time in Colombia. Since it was established, it has been considered one of the better schools in the country. Most of the students are among the elite of Colombian society, and many of them are sons of former alumni.

The main influences for the development of the New School in America, the first of its kind in South America, were mainly those of Ovide Decroly, Maria Montessori, and to a lesser extent, Jean Piaget. Don Agustín met all of them personally and engaged in intellectual conversation with them while studying in Europe. He carried their ideas back to America, and applied and modified them in a novel way according to the spirit and environment of Colombia in the 20th century.


The school's principle of conduct is based on what is called a discipline of trust (" _es. disciplina de confianza"), following the lines of Montessori's "active discipline". This fundamental principle seeks to instill self-confidence and inner discipline in students, as well as developing in them a deep sense of responsibility, honesty, loyalty and friendship through the active development of freedom. The "Gimnasio Moderno" was awarded a national monument status due its longevity and historical stature.

The educational program is divided into four sections. The first section includes Montessori 1, 2, and 3, first Decroly, and second Decroly. The second section includes the third, fourth, and fifth Decroly grades. The third section includes the sixth through ninth grades, and the fourth section includes the tenth and eleventh grades.


The school's traditions include:

A marching band (winners of the Silver Baton (Batuta de Plata) competition in 1999 with Sebastián Devis being drum major or leader, and again in 2006 with Nicolás Medina as drum major. A Football Soccer championship between Gimnasio Moderno and Gimnasio Campestre, called the 'Tradition Cup' (Copa Tradicion). The school also hosts the Sparrowhawk Cup (Copa Aguilucho), a Football Soccer league made up of teams from other schools in Bogotá.

Excursions around the whole extent of the country. Following the ideals of Robert Baden-Powell.

Sports Teams: The school has traditionally encouraged and supported its sports teams, such as the, football, basketball, volleyball and swimming teams.The school gives annual recognition to those students who excel in different areas. These areas are called, personal effort, kindness to others, 'excursionist spirit' and a group recognition of friendship.


*Juan Carlos Bayona Vargas - Headmaster
*Félix Antonio Gómez - Academic Vice-Headmaster
*Jairo Gómez Borda - Discipline Vice-Headmaster
*Gonzalo Mallarino Florez - Finance Director
*Juan Sebastian Hoyos - Secretary General
*Esperanza Chia - Coordinator of the Second Section
*Doris Leon de Díaz - Coordinator of the First Section


*Alberto Corradine Varela (1914)
*Pablo Vila Dinares (1915-1917)
*Tomás Rueda Vargas (1918-1920, 1922-1924, 1927-1933 and 1937-1943)
*Erich Heincke Hoyer (1921)
*Aurelio Tobón Mejía (1925-1927)
*Julio Carrizosa Valenzuela (1934-1936)
*Daniel Samper Ortega (1943-1944)
*Carlos Lleras Restrepo (1944)
*Agustín Nieto Caballero (1945-1975)
*Ernest Bein (El Prof.) (1975-1980)
*Mario Galofre Cano (1981-1984 and 1986-1994)
*Germán Pardo Sánchez (1985)
*Leopoldo Gonzalez Chaparro (1995-1997)
*Juan Carlos Bayona Vargas (1998 - )

Marching band

The marching band of the Gimnasio Moderno is the one of the oldest school marching bands in Bogotá, it is more than 50 years old.The instruments played in the band are:

*Small Drum
*Medium Drum
*Big drum

*The drum major, or leader, of the band is selected by democratic process in which band members cast a secret ballot. Such process has taken place every year since 1952 and all members of the band vote.This is one of the most traditional school bands in Colombia.
*The band won the Silver Baton (Batuta de Plata) competition in 1999 with Sebastián Devis as drum major, and again in 2006 with Nicolás Medina as drum major.

A Few months ago the band was suspended by legal problems, and they still without playing.

Notable alumni and students

Alumni and non-graduates but at sometime students of the school include, former Colombian President Alfonso Lopez Michelsen, (Ernesto Samper), Senators Álvaro Araújo Castro, House Representatives (Nicolás Uribe), recognized scientists (Rodolfo Llinas), Entrpreneurs (Julio Mario Santodomingo) and authors (Eduardo Caballero Calderón, Lucas Caballero Calderón (Klim), Daniel Samper Pizano, Ricardo Silva Romero), as well as sportsmen (Eduardo Pimentel) Actors (Diego Trujillo, Jorge Enrique Abello, Felipe Noguera, Carlos Manuel Vesga) and artists (Compañia Ilimitada, Mauricio y Palo de Agua, Sismo y Wamba.

Controversial alumni

Ernesto Samper Pizano (involved in the "Proceso 8000" scandal)

External links

* [ es icon]
* [ es icon Don Agustin Nieto Caballero]
* [ Montessori Schools in Science Magazine]

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