Joseph Conroy, a Devon Prep junior, worked on a house in Delaware during the school’s summer mission trip organized by Catholic Heart Workcamp.

Although the school year ended in mid-June for 28 area Devon Prep students and five chaperones, summer vacation had to be delayed just a bit. Barely two weeks into the summer break they traveled to Delaware for a week-long mission trip organized by Devon Prep religion teacher Joe Lewis through Catholic Heart Workcamp.

They didn’t have to go too far to find a need for their services. The job sites were located throughout the state of Delaware — as far north as Delaware City and as far south as Milford. During the trip they slept in classrooms in St. Thomas More Preparatory Academy in Magnolia. That’s also where they ate morning and evening meals and attended a number of liturgical events such as daily prayer and Mass.

The young men, in grades seven through 11, spent their days working on a variety of projects such as: building handicap ramps; repairing homes, decks and porches; working with Habitat-for-Humanity to build a new home and helping stock the organization’s local warehouse; working for local parishes and schools to maintain their buildings and property; and helping local residents by landscaping, power-washing, painting and laying brick and stone patios at their homes.

Although the work was tiring, it was also fulfilling for the boys. “Trips such as these give our students the opportunity to meet others who are not as fortunate as themselves and to be of service to them,” said Lewis. “It gives them a greater appreciation of the blessings they have.”

Their contributions did not go unnoticed. “Many of the residents we helped visited us at our final-day gathering to thank us personally for a job well done,” Lewis said. “A number of local charitable organizations also expressed their appreciation for the work we contributed to.”

Groups of Devon Prep students have participated in summer mission trips for many years, previously working in Eastern Kentucky helping local parishes and the Piarist Fathers’ school in that area. Last year’s mission trip took 18 students and three chaperones to Oil City, Pa., to work on homes of residents.

Catholic Heart Workcamp is a non-profit organization established to offer quality service projects and evangelical programs for Catholic young people and their leaders. Their mission is twofold: First, to share the love of Jesus and serve the neglected, brokenhearted and marginalized; and second, to empower participants to live as disciples of Christ through serving others.

The Devon Prep students participating in this year’s trip included: Seventh grader Andre Tiglao of King of Prussia; ninth graders G. Willson Camp of Spring City, Timothy Coble of Downingtown, Luke Farnsworth of Royersford, Kevin Holmes  of Ardmore, Tyler Keough of Collegeville, Jake Klick of Wynnewood, Brian Long  of Wayne, James Lucas of Downingtown, Jack Marquis of Wayne, William Schultheis of Ardmore, Arnold Tiglao of King of Prussia, Paul Yoo of Gulph Mills, and Mitchell Young of Springfield; 10th graders Andrew Barella of Lansdale, Andrew Betts of Wayne, Joseph Conroy of Media, Michael Nicolas of Exton and Anthony Walker of Springfield; 11th graders Andrew Dawson of Audubon, Daniel Crowe of West Chester, Landon Farnsworth of Royersford, Stephen Lewis of Exton, Daniel McCallister of Exton, Sean O’Brien of Downingtown, Andrew Stauffer of Downingtown, Andrew Walheim of Malvern and Samuel Young of Springfield.

Devon Prep is a private, Catholic, college preparatory school for young men in grades six through 12 conducted by the Piarist Fathers and located on Philadelphia’s Main Line. For more information call 610-688-7337, email admissions@devonprep.com or visit www.devonprep.com.