Mr. Perez

Nancy Cuevas, Author

Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history.

To Mr. Perez, Black History Month is a celebration of people and culture and highlights the contribution of men and women of color. He said, “I am blessed to be what I am, and we do not get to pick our race.”

Mr. Perez is a math teacher at Anaheim High School and has been teaching here since 2005. “What are my weaknesses? Well, because I like working by myself and getting things done how I want, it’s hard for me to seek or ask for help, and my strengths, I have many strengths, too numerous to mention; however, one of my greatest is patience.” Mr. Perez decided to be a math teacher because he wanted to make a difference. He had many teachers throughout his life, and he could count the ones who cared on the one hand. He continued with, “That’s right, teaching chose me, and I love it. Aside from all the politics around teaching, it’s a great Occupation/Career.” Mr. Perez can still remember his math teacher from high school busting out her pom-poms and dancing in class singing “The FOIL Song.’ He continued with, “It’s moments like this when you appreciate a great teacher.” When Mr. Perez presents a lesson to his students, he does it with passion and gives real-life situations whenever possible. He never became a teacher for the money; there are countless careers where he could be making more.  

Nancy Cuevas

Mr. Perez and Mr. Storm both agreed to teach together; they complement each other. He said, “You know, just like Ebony and Ivory side by side on the piano keyboard.” They both share some of the same pedagogy for the most part when it comes to educating their students, and they differ on others. They also have different personalities. Mr. Perez is the calm one, and Mr. Storm is not. Mr. Perez likes teaching with another teacher, especially when they both get along and focus on educating their future world leaders. 

Mr. Perez grew up in Santa Ana. “Go Falcons,” as he always says. He also said, “I am a graduate of Valley High whom we face every year because we are in the same sports league.” He continued with, “I see no difference between the demographics of Anaheim and Santa Ana; it feels like home.” Mr. Perez grew up with his cousins and his grandmother. He continued his response with, “Like most families with a Latin background, our grandparents play a major role in bringing us up.” He also has four sisters and is the only male of his siblings.

As mentioned before, Mr. Perez was raised by his grandmother. His grandmother was very strict in that they were not allowed to hang out at school or even go to parties unless it was with family. They went to church every Sunday and rarely missed school. “She was tear tear,” said Mr. Perez. He continued with, “Always encouraging us to do better in school; she said she never had the opportunity as we did, I can still hear her telling me, “Hold onto to whe yu gat an grab fi mo,” in her Creole accent.” Furthermore, he continued with, “Don’t get me wrong; she was a really smart woman; she had four businesses and started it all with nothing.”

The picture was sent from Mr. Perez Himself.


Mr. Perez’s lifestyle compared to his new one, especially with his kids, is different than before. He said. “I mean, I don’t even shop in the same stores as I did when I was a kid because many of those stores don’t exist anymore; I also don’t live in Santa Ana anymore.” He and his family are the only family of color in his current neighborhood, but no one says anything to him or even looks at him funny because they know that Perez doesn’t play. He said, “You know some people just know.”

“Racism was always around us, and it’s sad that some parents or people hate, but for some people, you have to put others down so you can be up; I never had that problem,” is what Mr. Perez said. I asked Mr. Perez if there had been a time where his race had ever been the reason for not being able to attain something, “Not that I can remember; I have always been able to accomplish what I set out to accomplish. Remember, one door is closed, many more open, don’t ever let a locked door stop you from reaching your goals.”

“I never really saw the ugly face of racism at a young age. I believe that my grandmother sheltered us for the majority of it. I mean, we never had to use separate water fountains or bathrooms, but I am sure we did not go and eat at various restaurants because of it,” said Mr. Perez. I asked if jokes between him and Mr. Storm ever got too far. If they ended up being hurtful or upsetting, “Well no, because I don’t take everything seriously, and if you remember from sophomore year, we do a lesson at the beginning of the school year where Storm and I talk about racism, and we don’t tolerate it.” He continued with, “We do joke around without students, but we do not cross that imaginary line.”

Mr. Perez’s oldest daughter has been bullied because of her skin color. Mr. Perez’s comment on that was, “I remember when my oldest daughter said some girl was being mean to her because she was brown, so I went to school, had a parent conference, and got to the bottom of it real quick.” Mr. Perez would do anything for his family and for the people he loves and cares about.