BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - It's not often that students in the classroom can watch history unfold. But Wednesday provided one of those moments. Students at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Biloxi watched Pope Francis deliver his speech in Washington D.C.
Students we talked with find Pope Francis humble and inspiring. They like his stance on the environment and his modest lifestyle. They're also excited he's on social media and has a Twitter account.
It was a lesson far more powerful than reciting from a textbook. Fifth and sixth graders in Cindy Grammar's class witnessed the historic visit and speech of Pope Francis in Washington.
"It was very exciting and I could tell his speech was from the heart. And it's a really good example for us young Christians," said sixth grader, Gracyn Yelverton.
For the young Catholics, the Holy Father is a familiar figure. His picture graces the main hallway of their school. They've been studying about and preparing for the pontiff's first visit to the United States.
"I think he's very caring because he cares about the environment and he wants everything to be good and clean," said student Ann Lauren Schmidt.
The pope's approach to material goods and worldly possessions has also made an impact on these youngsters.
"He's modest," said Aden Smith.
When pressed to explain what he meant, the youngster summed it up nicely.
"That he doesn't want to live in a fancy house and drive really cool cars and be fancy."
For their teacher, this historic visit not only provides an occasion to study the pope, it also invites delving into worldwide issues like immigration and poverty.
"We try to have a world view. Not only as students, but as Catholics, you know we have to look at the universal church being the thing that brings us together as one people," said Cindy Grammar.
This generation likes the fact that Pope Francis is no stranger to social media; that he has a Twitter account: @Pontifex But on a deeper level, this leader of their faith speaks to their hearts.
"I thought it was great and it really influenced me to become closer to God and nice to my neighbors," said Schmidt.
By the way, Pope Francis has 7.2 million followers on Twitter. One recent tweet from the pope said, "God loves the lowly. When we live humbly, he takes our small efforts and creates great things."