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Lineman Andrew Perez of Cathedral shows he’s a true Eagle Scout

Andrew Perez (left) unveils headstone at L.A. Cathedral with principal Brother John Montgomery at his side.
Andrew Perez, left, unveils headstone at L.A. Cathedral that he raised $5,000 to pay for as part of his Eagle Scout service project with principal Brother John Montgomery at his side.
(Rene Perez)

Since 2016 when he entered L.A. Cathedral as a freshman, Andrew Perez has envisioned that his service project to become an Eagle Scout would be creating a headstone on campus to honor those former Phantoms who served their country. His grandfather graduated from Cathedral in 1966 and became a Marine and his father graduated from Cathedral and joined the LAPD.

After raising $5,000 over the last four years, Perez saw his planning and hard work become a reality on Saturday. The headstone went in adjacent to Cathedral’s new theater arts building. Cathedral was founded in 1925 and has had more than 1,000 graduates serve in the military, Perez said.

The reading explains everything: “This is dedicated to those who entered these school gates as boys and left as men to serve and protect our country.”

For Perez, a 6-foot, 275-pound starting offensive lineman for the football team with a 4.29 grade-point average, the project puts him on the verge of reaching Eagle Scout status. That should happen in two months after some final interviews. He’s been a boy scout since he was 6 and is a member of Troop 438 in La Mirada. He has learned so much about life.

He learned to scuba dive, sharp shoot and survive camping on his own. More importantly was a trip as part of an international leadership group as a sophomore to Tanzania, where he helped teach English and build a home at a small village.

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“My views changed,” he said. “It shocked me how appreciative they were in what they have and how little they had.”

Perez intends to keep moving forward. He wants to play football in college, then perhaps join the Marines or become an orthopedic surgeon.

“I believe in helping people,” he said. “I love helping people.”

Despite school and workouts being halted in March because of COVID-19, Perez bought a weight set to use in his backyard and has been training while waiting to rejoin teammates.

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“I think it’s important we listen and be patient in doing what we have to do to have a season,” he said.

What a leader Cathedral has developed in Perez, a 17-year-old senior who’s just getting started in making an impact.


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