By Jaimie R. Silva
The Portuguese community on Long Island is looking forward to a month filled with excitement. The New York Portuguese American Leadership Conference (NYPALC) will be hosting the Portugal Day Gala on May 6 at the Portuguese American Center of Suffolk in Farmingville. At this year’s event, NYPALC will be honoring several people and businesses for their continued dedication, love and passion to the Portuguese community of New York.
Renato Tavares of Mineola will be honored as Man of the Year for the work he has done through his organization Community of Volunteers, which has served people from Long Island all the way to New York City.
Julia DaSilva of Yonkers will be honored as Woman of the Year for all her work as part of the Ladies Auxiliary team at the Portuguese American Center in Yonkers, her dedication to the advancement of Portuguese education at the Escola Joao de Deus and commitment to the Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Fatima.
The youth in the Portuguese community continues to make all those around them proud, as so many through the years have displayed enthusiasm to be a part of many events. This year it is with great pride to award Sonia Reis of Farmingville as Young Woman of the Year, Joseph Saramago of Mineola as Young Man of the Year and Luis Tinoco of Mineola and Ashley Pereira with the 2017 Young Promise Award.
The New York Portuguese American Leadership Conference will also be recognizing Dennis Walsh of Mineola with the Friend of the Community Award, Frank Texeira of Mineola with the Organization President of the Year, Tony DaSilva of Mineola with the Educator of the Year Award, and Jose Gil, of Mount Vernon in Westchester County, owner of Big Al’s Munchies in Yonkers. Each of these gentlemen have dedicated many hours and years to the betterment of forwarding the Portuguese American community with their knowledge and selflessness.
Eight academic scholarships (valued at $1,000 each) will also be awarded under the NYPALC Scholarship Program. The program was created with the aim of supporting Portuguese-American students to learn the Portuguese language and culture through a NYPALC member school. The merit scholarships are awarded to students of Portuguese ancestry who have demonstrated exceptional achievement at an academic level as students of our member schools. Among the winners was Sara Costa (Escola Julio Dinis) from Mineola.
Being honored at the Gala with leading the New York State Portugal Day Parade on June 11 will be the Vice President of NYPALC and President of the Daughters of Portugal, Rosa Leal. Leal has put in many hours into planning and executing the parade every year since its start. She also dedicates many hours to not only the Portuguese community but to any who needs a helping hand. The evening will also be home to a very distinguished guest who will be joining the lavish celebration, former Ambassador to Portugal from the United States, Robert A. Sherman. NYPALC is extremely excited to commence the “Festa” season with the annual Portugal Day Gala, which will be the introduction to the many family fun filled events there will be in the coming weeks.