“This is the only way we can worship freely without being judged,” freshman Candace Wakefield said.
See You at the Pole is an annual student-led rally held across the nation at school flagpoles before the start of the day. Since it’s start in a Texas school in 1990, millions of students gather to bow their heads in unity on the fourth Wednesday of September.
In the midst of early morning school traffic and a caravan of buses, students sang along to praise songs led and lifted their hands to the sky. The students then broke apart for small group prayers.
Last year after the event, Greenbrier students decided to meet every week at the flagpole for prayer, said Kaley Holley, the co-vice president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Students said the event not only provided an opportunity to sing praises but also to meet students with similar beliefs.
Students gathered elsewhere across the region, including dozens at Harlem High School.
“We’ll pray for our sports teams; we’ll pray for our health; we’ll pray for our school,” Harlem sophomore Christina Rentas said of what she and her classmates might speak to God about at the 7 a.m. event.
About 40 students formed a semi-circle around the Harlem High School’s flagpole and sang along with a quartet of their classmates performing contemporary Christian songs. They then heard a short sermon and prayer from Steve White, the youth pastor at Journey Community Church, before breaking into prayer circles.
The event served as more than just a short worship service before school, Rentas said. It also gave the students a chance to encourage one another in their faith.
“It’s about us standing with each other for him,” the 15-year-old said. “It’s a chance for us to be there to encourage each other.”
Maintaining faith amidst the temptations offered at a public high school often proves too burdensome without someone to turn to, Rentas said.
“Even in school, we know we can go to God and, of course, he’ll forgive us,” she said.
White’s speech echoed Rentas’ sentiment of Christians empowering one another through prayer.
“Everything we put our minds to … if we do it with the power of God, we will succeed,” he said.