Fifteen Charlotte students just returned from South Africa.
The Providence Day School students were in Cape Town to work with teachers and students when they came upon 19 pilot whales stranded on a beach.
They helped keep the whales wet while animal rescuers worked to get them back in the water.
Eyewitness News met up with the students when they flew in to Charlotte Douglas Airport on Saturday.
"As soon as we got down there the people had asked us to help so immediately all of us just jumped right in, they handed us some buckets, and we just started running water back and forth," said student Ashley McFeeley.
Students said they named one whale Charlie. He made it back into the ocean, but six other whales did not.