Vania Cerqueira


My name is Vania Cerqueira and I am the current President of the Portuguese
Language School of Union.  I was born in Lisbon but my family is originally from Arcos
de Valdevez, in the Minho Region of Portugal.  I moved to the United States when I was
6 years old and even at that young age I understood the enormity of this move, leaving
family and friends and the country I loved dearly.  I completed my undergraduate
studies at Rutgers University, majoring in Accounting and minoring in Portuguese.  Most
of my professional career has been in the Financial Planning & Analysis area of
Financial intuitions with a focus on data and project management.
Fast forward roughly 30 years and my emotional connection to Portugal remains the
same.   I grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark and was always very active in the
Portuguese Community. Whether I was attending Portuguese School, dancing in a
Portuguese Folk Group (“Rancho”) or participating in the local High School Portuguese
Club “Os Lusiadas”, I was always very conscious that I did not want to ever lose the
connection with my roots, the language, and most importantly the culture that defines
me.    I now have 2 daughters who attend the Portuguese School of Union and though
life is busy, I am adamant about exposing my children to the Portuguese Language and
Culture.  If nothing else, at a minimum I want them to be proud of where their ancestors
came from and appreciate the sacrifices made by Portuguese immigrant families like
many of us.  I am very honored to be a part of this school community and proud to be
able to assist in leaving an imprint in the lives of Luso Descendant children.