CHICAGO (CBS) — Some Chicago high school students returned home Friday from a spring break trip to New Orleans, where they painted houses, hung drywall and installed insulation in homes being rebuilt nearly six years after Hurricane Katrina.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, for most kids, spring break is a time to hang out, to sleep in and to do a whole lot of nothing.

Then there are the volunteers from three Chicago Public Schools: Thomas Kelly High School, Greater Lawndale High School For Social Justice and Percy Julian High School.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser Reports

For the fifth year, the students raised money to go to New Orleans and get their hands dirty, helping people who need help.

“These are pretty special kids,” said Kelly High School social studies teacher Bill Lamm.

Students from three Chicago Public Schools – Kelly, Julian and Social Justice high schools – spent their spring break in New Orleans, helping work on homes being rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina six years ago. (Credit: Xian Barrett)

“We were hanging drywall, putting in insulation, painting houses,” Lamm added. “They like helping other people. We make personal contact, we oftentimes meet the homeowner and that really makes the connection tighter with the kids. These are amazing students.”

Lamm said a highlight of the trip was painting the home of a Korean War veteran and his wife.

“Their house had about eight feet of water in it. And they came out and were so gracious to us and our students worked so hard for them,” Lamm said. “85 degrees in the hot sun painting their house. It was just, it was wonderful.”

They kids also met with student groups and met with activists.

“That are trying to solve the problems down there in New Orleans and why that city has been so neglected,” Lamm said. “It was wonderful because they were so grateful and the students were really interested in them. It’s just a wonderful moment to see.”

While in New Orleans, the students slept in a school gym and made their own meals.