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W. Islip students to leave for Peru mission

Nine students from St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip will leave Sunday for a weeklong mission trip to Peru to care for sick children.

This is the second year a group from the school has traveled to Hogar San Francisco de Asis, a home for 50 children in need of medical attention in the district of Chaclacayo, organizers said.

The students, accompanied by three faculty members, will feed, bathe and care for children  with health issues including tumors, cleft lips and palates, and cerebral palsy. The children are often orphans or children whose parents cannot afford their medical care, officials said.

“It’s very humbling and very rewarding,” said Richard Costa, a religious studies teacher who is making the journey and who led the school’s first trip last year. He said as students provide daily needs for the children, they gain a sense of themselves.

“We want our students to discover who they are, and you can actually see them doing it,” Costa said.

Last year, 18 students and six faculty members made the trip after learning about Hogar San Francisco de Asis in a film. The trip cost each participant $1,400, Costa said.

Thomas Routh, 15, a sophomore who is making his first visit, said he was pulled in by other students’ stories of Peru.

“It’s almost their loss of words that got me,” said Routh of Sayville. “It’s a life-changing experience.”

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