A Massapequa High School student recently worked to improve the lives of families in Costa Rica through a community service effort that included students from around the globe.

Kate Fahy, a senior, was one of 18 students participating in projects that ranged from moving large rock piles to building a concession stand for people to sell their goods in the village of San Jose de Rivas, which is home to about 160 people.

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"I knew that I wanted to do something to help others, and I wanted to do it in a Spanish-speaking country," said Fahy, 17, who has studied the language for six years. "It was amazing to speak the language outside of a classroom setting."

Fahy said she slept in a sleeping bag in the village's community building and awakened at 5:30 a.m. to begin working with the other teens. The two-week summer trip was coordinated by Vermont-based Putney Student Travel.

A highlight, she said, was the opportunity to mingle with the residents.

"When we weren't working, we had time to bond with the villagers," Fahy said. "A couple of women would prepare food and we had a welcoming party. They taught us how to dance to their music."

Fahy also is in her third year of studying American Sign Language.