The first recorded group of Portuguese immigrants arrived in the United States in 1820. The majority of these immigrants were Azorean men who worked on American whaling vessels. An expanding whaling industry and poor living conditions in the Azores increased the level of Portuguese immigration during the 1860’s and 1870’s, which was the heyday of U.S. whaling trade.
There are almost 250,000 residents in Massachusetts who claim Portuguese as their primary ancestry, which is 4.3% of the state’s total reported ancestries.
Shana Silva's grandparents immigrated to the United States from a small island located in the Azores of Portugal, in hopes to create a better life for their children - "I am very grateful to have grown up a first generation Portuguese-American. I I have learned many values by my immigrant Parents such as how to work hard and fight for everything you want in life. I want to inspire others to never settle for anything less then deserved, my families determination to work hard for better opportunities is proof of that" - she explained.
Shana is employed at a local Credit Union while studying at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in which she will graduate this December. Since the age of 16 she has been working and attending school full-time - "I am very thankful of the upbringing my family provided me. I have been able to mature and work diligently towards my dreams."
I had the opportunity to interview the beautiful Shana about her preparation for the upcoming pageant. Lets know a little more about this beautiful and inspiring woman through this interview!