My Portuguese School
April / May 1992
by Irene Ribeiro
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Because Canada is a multicultural nation, it was found that more and more people wanted to preserve their cultural background and most of all their language. The Heritage program was designed to respond to the needs of the numerous communities that appealed to this fact.
This program now has classes in more than 36 languages. In the Kitchener-Waterloo area there are a diversity of languages being taught through the Heritage program, one of them is the Portuguese. This program is offered on Saturday mornings at St. Joseph elementary school. We have classes that go from junior kindergarten to grade 6. Our numbers are increasing year after year, parents believe that their children need an education in their ancestral language also. Most of the children do not like the idea of waking up early every Saturday morning and missing their favourite cartoons, but this concept changes as they grow older.
At the Portuguese program, the proper teaching of the language and culture is an aspect that is very stressed. Our staff consist of 15 teachers, volunteers, and a supervisor. These are really dedicated people who give their maximum so the program can run smoothly. This program owes most of its success within the Portuguese community, to Mr. Inacio Mota, who is the Assistant Supervisor and is responsible for its “booming” and rejuvenation.
Portugal Day : The Origin of June 10th
June / July 1992
by Irene Ribeiro
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
When celebrating one more Portugal’s Day in this year of 1992, it is appropriate to remember the why of Portugal, Camoes, and the Portuguese Communities’ Day.
During Portuguese Communities’ Day, Camoes is simultaneously a symbol of unity: the unity of the people whose ancestral language is Portuguese.
Camoes, himself a foreign Portuguese, an emigrant, an exile, never forgot his origins and immortalized the deeds of his country – Portugal – through his greatest work Os Lusiadas. Camoes became the symbol of national pride in many different moments of the Portuguese history and this fact has been unchanging throughout the centuries.
With June the 10th, Camoes appears as the patron of one nation, of a people, and the mirror of Portugal, the highest symbol of its citizens, even of the ones that left their country, the emigrants, the foreign Portuguese, the exiled or the children of Portuguese who never forgot their roots. The Portugal, Camoes, and Portuguese Communities’ Day signifies, without a doubt, what is the most profound and noble feeling that touches the heart of the Portuguese, since it honours the ‘land of birth’, the culture that represents us in the world and the nation divided that is the thousands of Portuguese spread throughout the world. Because of this fact, this day is extended to all the Portuguese communities that can be found everyone in the globe. It is within the communities of emigrants, in all five continents, that June 10th is more traditionally rooted as a festivity than in Portugal.
The celebrations are still being held with the same ardour as three decades ago, when the communities were still in embryo.
In Kitchener, this festivity is not only a simple official homage imposed by the calendar, but it reached a projection worthy of recognition with the Portuguese-Canadians.
Portuguese communities dispersed throughout the earth are living and dynamic witnesses of the wisdom of life and adaptation to new lands and new people. Without damaging their participation in the welcoming society, in this case Canada, the Portuguese race also contributes to the betterment and strengthening of an identity that the country has not stopped looking for.