Welcome to our portuguese school
The idea began after a short visit from the then Secretary of State of Portugal in 1982, Dr, José Vitorino, where, with the promise of some aid, encouraged the community to create a school of Portuguese language and culture.
In Somerville, under the direction of SPAL, headed by the Executive Director Michael Bishop, and with the support of a handful of citizens, the community called for a public meeting. As a result, the Executive Director of SPAL and Mrs. Angelina Costa took a leading role as Chairman of the Parents, encouraging cultural activities and as an extra-curricular teacher. The teachers at the time were also Mr. Armando Ferreira Milheirão, D. Maria Inês Gonçalves who would later be replaced by D. Isabel Melo. Classes in Somerville started on October 12, 1982 with 50 students, working temporarily on the premises of SPAL and later in Lincoln Park Community School.
While the school took shape in Somerville, simultaneously in the city of Cambridge there was also a movement set forth for a Portuguese School. Thus, on July 17, 1982, under the direction of Fr. José Ferreira, Mr. Amadeu Cruz da Quelha, and Dr. Jose Figueiredo, at the time Board Director of COPA, created a public meeting at St. Anthony's Church in Cambridge. As a result, a formal school committee was comprised of Father José Ferreira, Dr. José Figueiredo, Mr. Amadeu Cruz da Quelha and Mr. Antonio dos Anjos. Thus was born the Official Portuguese School in Cambridge which came into operation on December 6, 1982 at Harringhton school in Cambridge. At the time, the school had a total of 33 students and as chairman of the Parents Sr. Amadeu Quelha and teacher Mr. Antonio Fontes assisted by Mrs. D. Nazare Teixeira. The biggest problem at this school was the lack of space. So when the premises of St. Anthony's Church was completed, thanks to the support of Reverend José Ferreira, pastor of this parish, and one of the main founders of the school, ceded space.
Subsequently, due to the proximity to each other, the lack of space, and the desire to create a stronger school, the two schools decided to merge. As a result in May 1983, the two schools merged and became and became officialized by the Portuguese government taking the name of what is know today as the "Escola Oficial Portuguesa de Cambridge e Somerville, Inc.", with over 80 students. The faculty of school: Mr. Sérgio Soares, D. Olga Silva, D. Angelina Costa, and Ligia Fontes and headed by Mr. Amadeu Quelha as President of the school until 1997.
Due to cuts in funding and general support, the school, which at one time enjoyed the support of the Portuguese government, became an independent body. As a result, in 2009, with declining enrollment and funds, the school applied for and was approved to become a non-profit. The school began robust efforts at fundraising and enrollment.
School is grateful for the continued support of Naveo Credit Union (then known as Cambridge Portuguese Credit Union - CPCU) as we all learn and continue to improve our fundraising and enrollment efforts. The Escola Portuguesa is also grateful to the Portuguese community who so generous has supported us throughout the years, through donations, in kind assistance, attendance at our events and for sending students to the school. In the last few years, we have been also been quite grateful to the Camões Institute for the donation of books.
In 2012, after much thought and discussion, the school decided to move its classes to the modern, state of the art buildings of Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School because of the ever-increasing need to be able to use technology as a teaching tool.
In 2016, we also added Saturday morning classes at MAPS (MA Alliance of Portuguese Speakers), generously providing a space to hold another first level session of Portuguese at their Somerville office in Union Square.
Dozens of teachers and hundreds of students have gone through the school welcoming doors throughout its 30+ years. Many dedicated and energetic individuals strived to maintain its doors open even when other Portuguese schools in other areas closed theirs.
During 30+ years, the school has had approximately 800 students and a dozen teachers.
Throughout its history, the Portuguese school has been awarded various participation and congratulatory prizes (including winning 1st prize in a literary competition between all community schools throughout the world at Expo 98, Lisbon, Portugal) and its students have gone on to professional careers where they report that their ability to speak Portuguese was very beneficial in pursuing careers in medicine, engineering, education, art, business, finances, travel and more. As we look to the future, we hope that the Portuguese community will continue to support Escola Portuguesa de Cambridge e Somerville, Inc. with enrollment students and financial support because without it the descendants of the Portuguese speakers will loose touch with their language and heritage.
Cambridge Portuguese School founded
Somerville Portuguese School founded
Cambridge & Somerville Portuguese Schools merger:
"Escola Oficial Portuguesa de Cambridge e Somerville, Inc."
Naveo (previously CPCU) provides funding to the School
School becomes a Non-Profit Organization
School moves installation to CRLS
School celebrates the 30th Anniversary
School adds additional elementary Saturday morning class
By popular demand, Adult Classes added
School adds Pre-K class, ages 5+
Adult Book Club
School goes virtual