2013 Queens Message

Bishop Desmond Tutu once said, "You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." So to start, I would like to thank God for giving me the gift of my family. I cannot think of a more supportive, loving, hard-working, and kind-hearted group of people.

 Until now, my life has been a culmination of moments. I've experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, none lower than the moments I found out that my grandfathers were sick. The relationships that I have with my grandparents are unlike any other relationships in my life. So you can imagine the devastation that I felt when I found out that my Avô Alvaro, on my father's side, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. At just ten years old, it was hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that he was sick and that over time he would be changing. Throughout these past ten years my Avô has faced many challenges, but his strong will has propelled him through it all. He's an amazing man, someone I look up to immensely. I hope that during this year the Holy Spirit watches over him and gives him the strength he needs to battle this disease.

On a similar note, recently my grandfather on my mother's side started to lose his vision. My Avô John B. is my biggest soccer fan and by far the loudest one in the stands at my friday night games in Torero Stadium. Over the roar of the crowd it's hard to hear anybody, but my grandfather's voice rings out above them all. When I'm tired or the game is a struggle, I hear my grandfather and he gives me strength. So when he started to lose his vision, I was crushed. The idea that my Avô would eventually no longer be able to watch my games was a huge blow to me. But I honestly believe that God pulled him through it. Slowly, my Avô regained his vision and the possibility of watching me play in my senior season at USD became within reach.

 I think it goes without saying that I am grateful for my amazing parents who have instilled in me such great pride in not just our Portuguese traditions but our family traditions as well. When my parents approached me about the possibility of becoming the 2013 Festa Queen I was initially worried that it would be a lot to take on. It's my senior year at the University of San Diego where I am majoring in Biology and minoring in Chemistry. My college experience has been a balancing act of school and soccer. But the idea that one day I will follow in my Tio Tino's footsteps and become a Dr. Ferreira as well, drives me to excel. I know being Festa Queen is a huge commitment, one in which I was honored to accept, knowing the experience would further my love for our Portuguese traditions and our community.

When it was announced that my family would be the 2013 Festa Family I knew this journey was meant to be. It was another way I could not only give thanks for the many blessings that the Holy Spirit has given me throughout my life, but also ask the Holy Spirit to watch over my grandparents and give them strength. I truly believe that this Festa will bring my entire family closer in ways we could never imagine.

 We are all family and as I stated previously Bishop Desmond Tutu said 'family is the greatest gift God can give you.' I am thankful not just for the family I have been given but also the greater family of our Portuguese Community. I am very proud of my heritage. It is what makes me who I am. I am extremely honored to be your 2013 Festa Queen and cannot wait to proudly share in the experience of this amazing tradition.

 - 2013 Festa Queen, Sierra Claudia Ferreira