It was a sea of red, green and yellow Sunday as the streets were lined with excited and passionate residents during the village’s annual Portuguese Day parade. At this year’s parade the Grand Marshal was village deputy mayor Paul Pereira—a familiar face to most residents.
“I was very humbled to know that I was nominated and selected to be this year’s Grand Marshal of the New York State Portugal Day Parade in Mineola, which began in 2014,” said Pereira. “The Village of Mineola is a fitting host for this, the largest single gathering of Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans in the state, and I am proud to be representing the Village of Mineola in front of so many Portuguese and Portuguese-Americans, and of course all of our friends and neighbors in Mineola too, from all over New York and from Portugal as well. I am also honored to be marching with so many other award recipients, including Mayor Scott Strauss, who received this year’s “Friend of the Community” award from the New York Portuguese American Leadership Conference (NYPALC). I would like at this point to thank and congratulate the organizers of this parade that worked tirelessly to make sure that the Portuguese and Portuguese-American culture is on full display in this beautiful parade.”
Renamed as Portgual Boulevard for the special occasion, the village board, Senator Anna Kaplan, Assemblyman Ed Ra and Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello marched down Jericho Turnpike along with many local organizations including the Sons and Daughters of Portugal, Portugues Recreativo Clube de Jamaica, the Portuguese American Center, the Mineola Portuguese Soccer Club and more. The Chaminade High School marching band, the Mineola Fire Department and the Mineola Junior Fire Department also marched in this year’s parade.
The two-hour parade ended at Wilson Park where the Mineola Portuguese feast and carnival was held all weekend long.
This Year’s Grand Marshal
Pereira was born in Veiros, Portugal, where he lived with his family until 1977, at which time, he immigrated to the U.S., but returned to Portugal from 1979-81 to study and complete his primary education.
Pereira has been a resident of Mineola for more than 40 years and is a high school social studies teacher. He attended Jackson Avenue Elementary School, Mineola Middle School and graduated from Mineola High School in 1989. While in high school, Pereira was a four-year member of the wrestling and soccer teams and was also involved in student government and the student service center. Outside of school, Pereira played MAA soccer and PAL roller hockey.
After high school, Pereira’s studies continued at Adelphi University from which he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1993 followed by a master’s degree in history from Queens College. Pereira also holds a certification in school administration from The College of St. Rose and began his teaching career in the Mineola School District in September of 1993 as a member of the high school social studies department. He also led the successful boys varsity soccer program for two decades, becoming the “winningest” soccer coach in the school’s history. This year, Pereira is completing his 26th year as a teacher in the district.
Pereira has been involved in several school, community, and charitable organizations for many years. From the beginning of his career, he took on many additional responsibilities in his school, including as an advisor of several clubs and classes. In addition, he coaches athletic teams and has coordinated international student exchange programs, including four exchanges with Jose Macedo Fragateiro High School in Ovar, Portugal. Pereira was a member of the Site Based Management Team at the high school for several years and is one of the original members of the MHS Alumni Foundation. He is also a member of several parent organizations. Outside of school, Pereira is a dedicated member of the Long Island Portuguese Lions Club for the last 22 years, having served as club treasurer for two years. Because of this unwavering dedication as a Lion, Pereira received the organization’s highest honor, The Melvin Jones Fellowship, in 2016. Last year, the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo Sousa, awarded him the “Order of Merit” medal in recognition of his service to the Portuguese community and the promotion of the Portuguese language and culture in the U.S.
Pereira first ran for and was elected to the position of village trustee in 2008. He decided to run in 2008 because he wanted to give back to the community that has given him so much, personally and professionally, and was subsequently reelected in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. In 2011, Pereira was designated deputy mayor by Mayor Scott Strauss.
Pereira, his wife Diana and their children Andrew, Sofia and Ana live in Mineola.