It took just minutes for students from St. Augustine Academy in Ventura to show the world — at least, their part of it — how they felt about the election of a new pope.Soon after they had watched and prayed with Pope Francis I, the 151-member student body (from grades kindergarten through 12) dashed outside where they waved flags of the Vatican, the U.S. and California, and hand-made celebratory banners. Numerous passers-by along Wells Road in east Ventura honked their horns as they smiled at the happy students, whose enthusiasm was clearly infectious.While the impromptu display of joy isn’t part of St. Augustine’s standard curriculum, “it is certainly in line with what the WCEA [Western Catholic Educational Association] has looked for in terms of increasing and demonstrating the Catholic identity of our schools,” said Michael Van Hecke, headmaster at the 17-year-old school. “They were genuinely excited to participate in this historical moment.”Students made their banners while they watched the EWTN broadcast from Rome in the school hall, where several teachers had been monitoring the broadcast.“As soon as white smoke appeared, it took — well, not many seconds for the students to gather in the hall,” smiled Van Hecke, a cofounder of St. Augustine Academy. “They made the banners, they cheered for the new pope when he was announced, and they prayed with him. And then off they went.”St. Augustine Academy, located across the 126 Freeway from Sacred Heart Church, has several times (including 2012) been named among the top 50 Catholic high schools in the U.S., as judged by the Acton Institute’s Catholic High School Honor Roll.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/0315/popelocal/{/gallery}