Mary Benson is a French teacher at McQueen High School in Reno, and once she heard about the Notre Dame Cathedral burning in Paris, France, she decided to show all of her classes the news coverage as a part of the lesson.

"I had to put the news on when I very first heard so kids would know," Benson says. "I just felt like I really wanted them to understand the magnitude of losing such an iconic structure with such history and art."

She says watching live news can help with that understanding.

"How the French people are reacting to it," Benson says. "When they see French people in shock or crying, or spontaneously singing Ave Maria in front of the cathedral, they see how it feels. They see how people are feeling about it and so it helps for them to understand how big it is."

Her French classes don't just cover the language, they cover the culture, and Benson says they actually covered the Notre Dame Cathedral recently. Still, part of her lesson today included some history of the building.

"It survived The Hundred Year War and World War II," Sophomore Ava Ryan says. "And it's crazy that this is happening and that this very important part of Paris's culture is dying in a sense."

"And now to see it crumble in a matter of hours is kind of unthinkable," Benson says.

Benson lived in France for three years, and says she would visit Paris essentially every month. She been to the cathedral several times, and while she can explain the historical and cultural significance, explaining the beauty of it is a different story.

"When you go into a building like that it's profound," Benson says. "Because it's so beautiful and magnificent."

Ryan was the only student in the class to have visited the cathedral. She was in awe of the size and beauty of the structure, and says those memories have a different meaning after the fire.

"So much [is beautiful], it's so huge, the windows are crazy," Ryan says. "I mean it's amazing when I have kids I'll probably show them that I went here and it's amazing and now it's not here."

Benson says this will not be the last lesson about the cathedral. She plans to discuss some of the art that was saved or lost, how officials went about gathering artifacts and trying to save them, and how rebuilding efforts begin.

She says on top of the cathedral, she hopes students learn a lesson that's a bit more big picture.

"One of the main thing that I hope students get is the sense of the larger world," Benson says. "The sense of the things in the world they don't know about that they can find out."