Mayor Jorge Elorza Inspires Paul Cuffee Middle Schoolers with Uplifting Words


Left: Middle School principal, Mr. Charlesworth (left) and 8th grade advisor, Ms. Alvarez (right), along with Aaron Alves-Southern, Dany Andrade and José Pagan greet Mayor Elorza at a recent Wednesday Morning Meeting.
Right: Mayor Jorge Elorza explains that his role models are athletes, especially those who, through practice and hard work, turn their weaknesses into strengths, and his hard-working parents who immigrated to the United States with only a grade school education.

Mayor Elorza visits a Providence school every week. But his recent visit to Paul Cuffee Middle School on Barton Street brought him back to the familiar neighborhood where he himself attended middle school at the Samuel W. Bridgham Middle School.

The mayor was welcomed warmly by the PCS community and was hosted by three 8th graders from Ms. Alvarez’ advisory, Aaron Alves-Southern, Dany Andrade and José Pagan. Prompted by their questions about his goals, his education, his upbringing, his conflict resolution strategies, the mayor spoke of his commitment to “a city that works” by having constituents’ questions and complaints handled in a friendly, resourceful, efficient way.

Like many Cuffee students, he is the son of Guatemalan immigrants, and was the first in his family to go to college. Confessing that he had not been a good student in his early years, through hard work and practicing turning his weaknesses into strengths, he graduated from URI and went on to Harvard Law School.

“Never in my life, did I ever think that I would go to college, never mind law school and I never ever dreamed that I would one day be major of Providence,” Elorza said.

His parting message to the students, “never limit yourself. You can achieve things through hard work and practice that you never dreamed of.”


Average Class Size: 20
Current Enrollment: 820
Students of Color: 96%
Female Students: 51%
Male Students: 49%
Free/Reduced Price Lunch Eligibility: 82%
Multi-Language Learners: 19%
Students Receiving Special Education Services: 13%
Total Employees: 168
BIPOC: 45%
Female Employees: 75%
Male Employees: 25%