A trip to Bourke was a life-changing experience for students at Loyola Senior High School.
A group of 20 students from the Mt Druitt school's trade training centre travelled about 1000 kilometres to test out their carpentry, childcare and other skills on a five-day social justice project at St Ignatius Primary School in the north-west NSW town.
The students demolished, rebuilt and painted a kitchen, cooked multicultural food for pupils and taught them skills including tae kwon do.
Year 12 childcare student Hannah Webb led year 5 and 6 pupils in a contemporary and hip-hop dance and helped with their English lessons. She said the experience gave her a chance to learn more about dealing with older pupils.
"With our childcare qualification we focus on ages 0 to 5," she said.
"With the older kids we had to find other ways to entertain them so there were some new skills we learnt.
"You just need to find out what they're interested in, have some music on hand and have fun."
Automotive student Chris Rhodes, 17, was part of the group which demolished and rebuilt the canteen kitchen.
He said reflection and making new friends were highlights of the trip, where they also took a late night ghost tour of an old convent on St Ignatius school grounds.
"Even though we go to the same school and are in the same year none of us were in the same friendship group," he said. "Before the Bourke trip we were strangers and now we're like a family."
Ashleigh Fulwood painted the outside of the new canteen.
The commercial cookery student plans to be a chef and said the visit was a life-changing experience.
"Every night we'd reflect on the day," she said. "We all bonded and became close. The students loved us and they enjoyed playing footy and other games with the boys."