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Paulo Alcantara

“I realized that if I quit, I would be giving self-doubt control over the direction of my life and my happiness and that’s not me.”

Paulo Alcantara and his family moved from Brazil three years ago looking for better opportunities, especially educational ones. Once they arrived Paulo immediately began taking advantage of all that his school, the Academy of Engineering and Green Technology at Hartford Public High School had to offer. He was very motivated to not only learn but also to participate in the activities his school offered where he excelled. He joined the robotics team and quickly earned the role of captain. Paulo also learned to play the tenor saxophone and was chosen to be the student band director and excelled to first chair of the saxophone section. He credits both of these experiences with bringing him out of his shell. In addition to this, Paulo is an exceptional student, earning Salutatorian of his graduating class.  

One remarkable project that Paulo worked on was a community service project that helped Nepal after its earthquake in 2015. Paulo, along with his peers designed and built wind turbines and solar panels that generated energy in areas impacted by the earthquake. They then had to design a way to deliver these wind turbines and solar panels to some of the most remote places in Nepal; a task many thought would be impossible. They decided to use yaks to transport these items which gave way to their word yakable which means “doing what others think is impossible.” He and his friends provided people of Nepal with hope evidenced in the pictures and videos of their own system bringing a smile to the face of many in Nepal. Paulo will attend University of Connecticut in the fall to study aerospace engineering which is another passion of his.