1950's: In 1944, Gladys Bryson, a foreign resident of Cali and educator by profession, converted a room of her home in the San Fernando neighborhood into a classroom. This is how the Colegio Anglo-Americano de Cali was born. In 1947, the school had students through the eighth grade and the tuition was $20 pesos for first through eighth grades and $15 pesos for kindergarten. Since the name Colegio Anglo-Americano de Cali was very similar to that of the Colegio Americano, it was officially changed to Colegio Bolívar in 1950. In 1955 each student brought his/her own desk. A kiosk was also built which the students used during their breaks and lunches. Years later, a larger one was built and while the school grew to almost 300 students, the kiosks were used as classrooms.
1960's: With a donation from the United States, in 1960 a parcel of land of 18 acres was acquired for the construction of buildings. In 1961, the school received the SACS-CASI accreditation. In 1963, with a total of 600 students and under the direction of Mr. Dale Swall, the school moved to Pance, where it is still located today, and six blocks for classrooms and basic general services were constructed. In one of the editions of “The Liberator”, the school newspaper of these times, there was an article from one of the students describing his experience in the new facilities; he expressed that the move to the new lot produced a type of chaos, since none of the students knew it well, so no one knew where to go to find their classes. This same year was the initiation of the traditional Sport´s Day. Besides “The Liberator”, the school also had a Science Club, a Photography Club and several choirs. In these years, when skirts were worn with tennis shoes and glasses had thick dark frames, there were parties like the Valentine´s Dance, where the twist was primarily danced. The tuition was $225 pesos and the bus cost $30 pesos (the buses were blue and white). In 1969, the Swall Auditorium was built.
1970's: In this time of flared pants, head scarves, and ankle socks, the John Lee Gymnasium was built in 1972, which was initially thought to be used as a cafeteria. Sports such as golf and tennis were being played and there was also a student government for both Middle School and High School established. There were also other activities such as the Chess Club, Scouts and the Band. In 1976 the Science Laboratory (G Block) was finished and in December 1978, the new cafeteria was opened. In 1979, the swimming pool was inaugurated and the soccer field was built. In the same year the library was began in the G block where they were currently teaching the 5th grade and had the History, English and Ethics classes for secondary students.
1980's: These were the years of neon colors, tube pants rolled up at the bottom, betamaxes and minicomputers. The difference from today was that in the 80s the parking lot was where the library is currently and extended itself to the administration block. Also in this area there were two lakes filled with a variety of fish, tadpoles and snails. In previous years the food offered at the school was from a snack food company. The cafeteria, which currently exists, began in 1984. At this time a hamburger cost $200 pesos, a hot dog or a slice of pizza cost $100 pesos, a complete lunch $300 pesos and a soda $25 pesos. Before the students purchased tickets in order to buy their food, but for the convenience of the students, they can now use either tickets or money.
1990's: In 1992 the current parking lot and library were built and in 1994 the Science Building, which consists of the Biology, Chemistry and Physics labs, was inaugurated. In this decade many improvements were made such as the Music Room for pre-primary, bathrooms at the soccer field, drinking fountains and an ecological park next to the river. There were also some changes done to the cafeteria, such as taking down the traditional kiosks and adding a roof and tables as well as adding the pre-primary cafeteria. As far as sports, soccer and volleyball were mainly played. Other organizations were formed like the Student Council, the Tribuna newspaper team, a Values Committee and an Ecological group.
2000's: The school is committed to staying at the vanguard in the use of technology for the integral development of our students. For this reason, all the classrooms, five computer labs, the administrative offices and specialized areas are equipped with computers, all connected to one solid data network and internet. Our curriculum from primary to high school is supported by the implementation of hardware and software focused on the student and appropriate for each of the age groups. Each decade, with its representative factor, has been a witness to the evolution of the Colegio Bolívar.
2010's: Our commitment for coming generations. Without a doubt, our 65th year marks a new era, new and challenging aspirations: to offer a unique learning environment for coming generations, where there is always room for improvement, innovation and creativity. Our 65 years of experience and accomplishments have prepared a unique learning environment for coming generations, ensuring an outstanding education for our students.
These are some of the principals who in their moment helped pave the way to what our school is:
- Gladys Bryson (1944 – 1946)
- Elizabeth Cooper (1947)
- Dorothy B. Hawkins (1949)
- Donald R. Thomas (1951 – 1954)
- George P. Young (1954 – 1958)
- Dale Swall(1958 – 1970)
- Alvin Foder (1970 – 1971)
- Dr. Phyllis Mullenax (1972 – 1976)
- Joe D. Winger (1976 – 1978)
- Dr. Curtis Harvey (1978 – 1983)
- Dr. Martin A. Felton (1984 – 2003)
- Dr. Joseph Nagy (2003 – Present)