Religious leaders say whoever is selected to succeed Benedict XVI is going to have a significant influence over what happens to us in the next few years, even decades.
That is grabbing the interest of Catholic youth.
Students at Rapid Cities Saint Thomas More High School are actively watching the process.
The students most recent and ongoing homework assignment over the past couple of weeks is to adopt a Cardinal.
The freshmen class wore name tags of their Cardinal as a reminder to say a prayer for him while sophomores created posters of their assigned Cardinal, and did a little research to help them understand the importance of the election.
"This was really cool for me to experience," said sophomore Caitlin Oster. "And I only hope that other people are taking as much time to learn about it as we are."
Students say their studies have opened a whole new realm of understanding concerning the papal process. For instance, Cardinals can come from all across the world including Africa, Europe and the United States.