UTICA — While Notre Dame Jr./Sr. High School students have discussed the pope and St. Francis in religion classes, Denise Tan, art teacher at Notre Dame, challenged them to express their interpretation of either man in pencil drawings.

“We’ve talked about how Pope Francis took a vow of poverty and chose to live simply while caring for the impoverished. The kids also know about the life of St. Francis and his love for our world and everything in it,” Tan said.

Eleventh grader Keri Manne said that through discussions she “found inspiration in Pope Francis’ work and beliefs.” This was reflected in her portrait of the pope surrounded by doves.

Ness Guo, a senior and one of Notre Dame’s international students from China, said learning about St. Francis was completely new to him and that the saint was an unfamiliar figure in the culture he grew up with. “I think St. Francis would be a cool guy because he could talk to the animals,” he said.

Pictured with their art from left are Amy Cheung, 12th grade; Linda Yang, 11th grade; Keri Manne, 11th grade; and Ness Guo, 12th grade.

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