Students and staff at Newman Catholic High School in Wausau said Pope Benedict's resignation has become a part of the lesson plan there. Teachers have used the historic event to teach students about the traditions of the Catholic church.
They said the situation has helped them teach about responsibility and integrity.
"We explained that, you know, the Pope is a human being, that he had limitations, he recognized his limitations and he was gracious and responsible in taking those limitations in stride," religion teacher Joy Orozco said.
Still, students and staff said they were shocked when the announcement was made.
"It did come as a surprise at first," student Juan Pablo Orozco said.
"A pope resigning hasn't happened for about six centuries so, kind of disbelief," junior Lee Peterson said.
Teachers said since the announcement, they've kept an open discussion with students.
Students said the talks have been helpful, offering lessons in responsibility.
"It's really cool because we have teachers who are very supportive and reassure us," said Peterson.
At a time when leadership of the church is in flux, teachers at Newman Catholic said they're focusing on faith.
"We are connected to each other. Here at Newman we say that we're a link in a chain and we all need each other to move forward," said Mrs. Orozco.
Students added that learning about Catholic traditions keeps them connected.
"Just like any other leader, you want someone new and fresh with different ideas coming through, but in the same sense you want to stay with tradition and make sure what has been taught over the period of time stays," said senior Kaetlin Hendzel.
"I think it really brings all Catholics together," senior Allison Brill added.
Students said incorporating the Pope's resignation into their daily discussions has helped them to better understand the Catholic church, and their faith.