TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Japan, the Philippines, Honduras: these are some of the many locations students from Bishop Thomas K. Gorman High School have visited on mission trips every year.
For 10 years, juniors at Gorman have participated in a series of mission trips as part of their curriculum.
"You know I've been on many trips now and it's always a great thing to watch them as they mature into people that start thinking about life differently," director of student formation Jane Manley said.
This year's theme was helping those affected by natural disasters in 2017. Students were able to stay in Tyler or choose from Honduras, Puerto Rico, Tampa, Florida, Middle Keys, Florida, and Rockport, Texas.
"Just knowing that we were actually helping a community that was in need," junior Jose Cavarrubias said. "It was emotionally satisfying and it kind of gave us a sense of happiness."
Those working abroad helped repair homes affected by the hurricanes, pick up trash on beaches in Puerto Rico and bring food and water to those in need.
"There a bigger impact that you can do than you'd think you could do" junior Brooklyn Wageman said. "'Cause we walked in thinking 'yeah, we're gonna go impact someone's life.' But I wasn't expecting such a big smile from Ms. Lopez."
The students who stayed local say they never realized how much work needs to be done right here at home.
"You know, there's always the thought that people are less fortunate," junior Robert Stroud said. "But realizing the situation and circumstances of people's lifestyles, it's awakening."
By spending a week working with their peers and being exposed to other cultures, Manley says the students are able to work together and problem solve, and the labor-intensive work they are able to put forth is amazing.
"I hear all the time people are concerned about this next generation," Manley said. "I'm not at all concerned about them; they know how to get it done, they know how to think and they care, and that's awesome."
Students are responsible for raising money to go on the trip, along with planning everything from room and board to transportation.