Greenbrier High School students were packed like bees around a hive for Wednesday's See You at the Pole prayer rally.
It was Assistant Principal Roger Williams' third time attending the annual event. He and others agreed the crowd was bigger than last year's.
"It was a very large crowd," Mr. Williams said.
The size of the crowd at Greenbrier High's pray-in -- estimated at 100 students -- also took Krystal Till, 17, by surprise.
"It was big at 6:30 a.m. And at 6:45 a.m., they were still coming," said Krystal, who waited until her senior year to participate.
Greenbrier High's event was one of several rallies in the Augusta and Aiken areas before class Wednesday. Students prayed for teachers, classmates and the coming school year.
A Texas church youth group held the first flagpole rally in 1990. The movement has spread to every state and 17 countries. Organizers expected See You at the Pole to draw 3 million students Wednesday.
The rallies were initiated and led by students. They concluded before the first bell of the school day.
"I thought it was neat to see everybody there -- wanting to be there and wanting to pray together," said Krystal, who attends Christ the King Lutheran Church in Evans. She and schoolmates had an opportunity to offer a word of prayer at an open microphone.
Students brought guitars and sang before breaking up into small groups for prayer.
There were some new faces and some unexpected ones in the gathering, said Deana Johnson, 17, a Greenbrier High senior.
The See You at the Pole rally "is a good way to let others know I am a Christian," said Lindsay Carter, 17, a Greenbrier High senior who attends Pine Grove Baptist Church in Thomson.
Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336.