Philadelphia Catholic high school service project has hip-hop flair

PHILADELPHIA — Through their school’s Operation Katrina Team, students at Mercy Vocational High School in Philadelphia have spent their last four Easter vacations on the Gulf coast of Mississippi, helping victims of Hurricane Katrina.

The funding for next spring’s service trip has already gotten a big boost, thanks to a rap and hip-hop video of the 2009 trip produced by the school’s music instructor, Michael Cain.

True Hero, a Cleveland-based nonprofit that rewards community service by young people, gave the school a $5,000 check for being the best high school service project in the nation and the most viewed service video posted on during June.

A sampling from the Operation Katrina Team video: “Gettin’ work done in the hot ‘sippi sun, Painting houses, servin’ food, helpin’ everyone, From the Gulf of Mexico to the Back Bay, Mercy changin’ people’s lives, baby, all day.”

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