A Day in the Life of Principal Yu

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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By Zifei Zhao

From greeting students outside the bridge entrance to attending after school sports games, Principal Yu is always looking for ways to be involved in the school community. How does he manage it? What else does he do, besides stand ominously in front of the school building during first period every once in a while? Does he secretly play Minecraft alone in his office? In order to answer these questions, we spent a day shadowing Principal Yu to gain a deeper insight into his schedule. Take a dive into Principal Yu’s daily life and learn about what it's like to be a principal at Stuyvesant High School.

4:00 a.m.:

Principal Yu wakes up after a restful night of sleep, ready for another day at school.

4:30 a.m.-6:30 a.m.:

Principal Yu starts his day early by reading and replying to dozens of emails. He does other important work such as checking the quarantine list and sending out emails wishing students good luck on their APs.

6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m.:

Principal Yu gets ready for work. He used to take the train to school, but he now drives to school with his wife and children so he can spend more time with his family. Before arriving at Stuyvesant High School, Principal Yu drops his children off to elementary school.

7:30 a.m.-8:30 a.m.:

After Principal Yu arrives at school, he drops his bag off at his office on the first floor and greets students and teachers coming into the building. Occasionally, he will have the opportunity to do one of his favorite tasks at school, standing by the second floor bridge entrance to either welcome students into the building or hand out COVID test kits. He keeps an energetic demeanor in hopes of livening up the sleepy students that pass by him.

Principal Yu helps set up the Teacher Appreciation Day bagel stand on the first floor and then goes up to the sixth floor gym to wish all the seniors good luck on their AP English Literature exam.

8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.:

On Mondays, Principal Yu will sit down with his secretary to look at his weekly calendar, which is filled with various meetings and tasks. Even with all of his responsibilities, he makes sure to leave empty spaces in his calendar so he can adjust to last minute changes easier. Today, he has two morning meetings.

Principal Yu replies to his emails and phone calls. One of the emails he writes is addressed to a parent he met during the school’s baseball game yesterday. Principal Yu enjoys connecting with parents inside and outside of school, especially when they don’t know him.

10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.:

Principal Yu originally had an Alumni Gala meeting planned at 10:30 AM, but it was moved to 11:30 AM by the other party..

Principal Yu meets and is interviewed by Danny Xiong, one of the Spectator editors. Before the interview, Principal Yu provides the unprepared Danny with a pen and notepad to take notes and treats him to some bagels and a cup of orange juice from his special refrigerator.

11:10 a.m.-11:20 a.m.:

Principal Yu has a brief meeting with Assistant Principal of Organization Dr. Gary Haber to discuss the current status of AP examination and any problems that occurred while administering the exams. Dr. Haber and Principal Yu have meetings very frequently to ensure that everything in the school is running smoothly, which is one of Principal Yu’s most important jobs.

11:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.:

Principal Yu meets with Director of Family Engagement Dina Ingram and two members of the Alumni Office to discuss plans for the upcoming Alumni Gala.

12:00 p.m.-12:10 p.m.:

Principal Yu walks around the school building, picking up every single piece of garbage he comes across and tells students to watch their language as he walks by them.

He greets a class of elementary school students from P.S. 150 as they prepare for their performance at Stuyvesant. He cracks jokes with them and encourages them to apply for Stuyvesant when they grow older.

12:10 p.m.-1 p.m.:

Principal Yu visits panicking students outside the sixth floor gym before they take their AP Computer Science exam. He goes around calming students down and guides the confused students to their right places. He enters the gym to wish the test takers good luck before they take their very disorganized four-hour-long exam.

1 p.m.-2:30 p.m.:

Principal Yu finally gets a chance to eat his lunch, which consists of fries and burgers. He generously offers Danny some fries. He continues to do his usual work like replying to emails, visiting classrooms, and wandering the hallways.

3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.:

Principal Yu attends the conference day meeting while the rest of the student body enjoys their shortened school day.

4:30 p.m.-6:00 p.m.:

Principal Yu goes to a lacrosse game at Randall’s Island. He makes an effort to attend around 90 percent of all school events because he loves interacting with students and having deep conversations with them.

7:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.:

Principal Yu attends his last meeting of the day, a Zoom call surrounding getting accommodations in college. Even after the school day ends, he still has meetings to go to. He will either attend them at school or at home depending on when the meeting is.

He now finally gets to spend time with his family.

10:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.:

Principal Yu goes to sleep quite early compared to the majority of his students. He used to also pull all-nighters (just like us!) but unfortunately, with age, his body cannot handle it anymore.