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The UAM Hub

Migrants living in NY
April 12, 2024

The New Face of UAM High School

Alex Blackstock
JJ Penalo Santos interviewing Mr. Paulo Fonseca.

In an interview with the new principal, Mr. Paulo Fonseca, who started his job as Principal of Urban Assembly School for Media Studies (UAM) in early December, expressed his eagerness to bring change. 

Returning after some time away, he hopes to make a significant impact on our school. Mr. Fonseca has stated that he had some unfinished business when coming back to UAM, and from that point, he knew that he wanted to accomplish his dream. 

Mr. Fonseca explained his vision, saying “I think that the school from when I first started until now has been on this path towards becoming one of the premier high schools, public school options, and unscreened public school options for New York City kids.

He went on to say,  “It’s been a dream of mine to make Urban Assembly School for Media Studies and MLK Campus one of the crown jewels of the New York City Department of Education in the same way that people will think positively when they hear LaGuardia High School.” 

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MLK Memorial Sculpture (Uknown)

Mr. Fonseca has been given a passing of the torch from the last well-respected Principal, Ms. Cordelia Veve, and he believes that he was left with a great blueprint to work from to make UAM a school with leaders. 

“I think Delia, Principal Veve, is one of the best, most influential, and important teachers that I’ve ever had. So, if it wasn’t for her approach of creating leaders, and (her) trusting us and giving us the responsibility to be able to take on whatever our specific roles were, we wouldn’t be here having this conversation.” 

Mr. Fonseca reflected on how he left a place he’s been in for years, and was very surprised to be asked to return to UAM. He knew that he would be leaving people he made great connections with when he moved to Los Angeles, but it was not going to be a goodbye for him. After all, he made it his number one priority to be at home with his family, valuing those connections along with others in his community in L.A.

“I did make some friendships. But, really my priority was to be at home and be a dad, and a good husband. I did make some friendships at the school that I was working at, and while I was in Los Angeles, I was doing stand-up comedy, which was another one of my passions.” 

Mr. Fonseca’s headshot from LinkedIn

Los Angeles wasn’t forever, as he went on to explain, “Ironically enough, when I started making those friendships, I ended up leaving, but I’m still in touch with those folks. And you know, it’s not goodbye, it’s a see you soon. That’s the general attitude.”

Mr. Fonseca believes that this school can change with the right choices and the right voices, becoming a place that can be lifted from the ground up with him as principal. He emphasized student integrity and providing support. 

Principal Fonseca hopes to build a great school community and make our school the best there is at what it does, helping students become leaders and find their purpose in this world.

“I’m honored and humbled to be in this seat. And I want to continue to lead in a way that carries on some of the most important lessons that I’ve learned, which is to help other people to grow, become leaders, and develop their practice, which is what this community needs.”

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About the Contributor
Alex Blackstock
Alex is a sophomore at Urban Assembly School for Media Studies in Manhattan, New York. He is very devoted to his work and an intelligent person. Outside of school he can be found watching cartoons like The Powerpuff Girls. Alex is also autistic.
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