"Pedro da Silva" Award recognizes outstanding student in Portuguese

June 10, 2020 by Berenice Villagómez

The Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Toronto is proud to announce Octavia Andrade-Dixon as the 2019 recipient of the Pedro da Silva Award, sponsored by Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

This award aims to recognize academic excellence in the Portuguese program courses offered in our department. Andrade-Dixon obtained the highest grade average completing a Minor program in Portuguese during the academic year 2018 / 2019. The award includes a scholarship payment of $750.00 CAD, courtesy of the Portuguese bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

Octavia Andrade-Dixon completed her Bachelor's degree with a Specialist in Human Geography, focused in Planning, and a Minor in Portuguese. She was delighted to learn that she is the this year's recipient of the 2019 Pedro da Silva Award, given that she started her journey with no previous knowledge of the language:

My journey through the Portuguese Minor program has been both challenging and rewarding. As my connection to Portugal is many generations past, learning Portuguese has been a passion project. I have gained so many opportunities, met amazing people, and gained a deeper understanding of the world through Portuguese. Receiving the award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work I have put in over the last four years.

She added:

For any incoming students of the Portuguese program know that you are coming into one of the richest language experiences UofT has to offer. Although small, the department is full of wonderful professors, courses and opportunities. Learning any language takes practise, discipline and the willingness to make mistakes. If you are coming in with little or no background knowledge like I did, you can come out of the program and proudly say you speak Portuguese.

The Pedro da Silva Award, sponsored by Caixa Geral de Depósitos, was created in 2012 in honor of the very first postman in Canada, of known Portuguese ancestry, in order to recognize the academic commitment and merit of Portuguese students in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. The official award ceremony will take place next year, with details to be confirmed.

Caixa Geral de Depósitos is the Portuguese state bank and, being the top bank in the country, is a reference both to Portuguese citizens, in Portugal and around the world, as well as to all of those wishing to invest in the country. As Canada represents a significant share of the Portuguese immigration abroad, Caixa Geral de Depósitos intends to be present within the communities, and very close to those dedicated to teaching and promoting the Portuguese language. It is our pleasure to join the prestigious University of Toronto (Department of Spanish and Portuguese) in rewarding the best student in one of the Portuguese programs.  Through this award, we aim to recognize good performances in the Portuguese language, which year after year gains international prominence. Through the Pedro da Silva Award, we reinforce our commitment to support the Portuguese community, to promote the Portuguese language and to strengthen the ties with Canadian institutions.


Congratulations to Octavia Andrade-Dixon.