Walpole High School Students Better the World One Trip at a Time


Manzo and other students visit a waterfall on their day off

Elizabeth Hinton, Staff Writer

This summer, senior Mathew Ferraro, an aspiring Physician Assistant, flew 10 and a half hours to Ghana, to do a medical internship in Ghana’s impoverished areas. Ferraro and other teenagers from all over the world, including the Netherlands and Spain, spent the month of July together completing over 100 hours of community service for the organization Projects Abroad. 

“It was a culture shock,” Ferraro said, “[that] people in the United States are so privileged and we don’t recognize it.” 

Ferraro stayed with a host family and worked Monday through Friday. Every day he went to either hospitals, community services, leprosy camps or local schools. At the schools, he taught about local diseases and how to prevent them. For community outreach, he traveled an hour and a half to rural areas and tested the villagers’ height, weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood type and for the diseases Hepatitis B and Malaria. He was also able to observe doctors and nurses at an under-resourced hospital.

“I was able to see real procedures and practices that doctors complete in the hospital, like putting in a tracheal tube, and performing an x-ray and ultrasound right before my eyes,” Ferraro said.

Ferraro wraps a child’s hand at a leprosy camp. 


Freshman Shannon Morris also ventured abroad for the first time, seven hours to Guatemala, with the program School the World. Morris’s main goal for the trip was to help build a school for a rural village six hours outside of Antigua, one of Guatemala’s major cities. Previously, the kids in this area did not have an indoor school to attend, so instead, they sat and learned outside.

“You have to be grateful for the fact that we get to go to school for free, and that we have a good school to go to,” Morris said.

Each day, Morris and her fellow travelers woke up at 6 a.m. and headed to the village. They worked for multiple hours on the school, then participated in some sort of activity, such as playing with the local children or visiting the local houses, followed by more work on the school.  Morris and the group were also able to go to the local markets and soccer games. 

“My favorite part of the trip was meeting the kids and getting to know them,” Morris said.   “It may seem scary because you’re going to another country, but it is a lot of fun, and it may be a lot of work but you do get a good experience out of it.”


Junior Grace Manzo also journeyed out of the country to Costa Rica, and like Morris, her favorite part of the adventure was meeting the local people and experience living in a different part of the world. Manzo and other teenagers from the United States traveled with Global Leadership Adventures. Her service work was mixed with fun activities such as surfing, hiking and white water rafting. Manzo’s work included reforestation efforts and beach clean-ups. Plastic is a big problem in Costa Rica due to tourism. 

“I’ve always felt a calling to do some sort of service and be a part of something bigger than myself,” Manzo said. “Most importantly, I learned that small actions can help a lot of people.”

Manzo and other students visit a waterfall on their day off.