Christian students across the nation and the East Valley gathered in front of their school’s flagpole Wednesday to pray for their country and fellow classmates.
The See You At the Pole event began 15 years ago. Yet many East Valley students said they’d never heard of it.
At Fremont Junior High School in Mesa, 13-year-old Dodi Lason said she and her friends distributed fliers and placed an announcement on the school marquee.
Twenty students and faculty stayed for the hour-long session. They held hands while encircling the flagpole at 8 a.m.
Melissa Mason, 12, waited near the circle for her friend to finish praying. "I don’t know what it’s for," she said.
Once it was explained, she said "I think it’s nice," but wasn’t interested in joining.
A church youth group in Fort Worth, Texas, started the public prayer effort in 1990. They wanted to pray for their leaders, schools and families in hope of bringing "a moral and spiritual awakening to their campuses and countries," according to the See You at the Pole organization’s Web site
One of the main purposes is "for Christian students to find each other at the beginning of the school year," said Doug Clark, spokesman for the National Network of Youth Ministries.
By identifying other Christian students, they can organize other prayer meetings and events at their schools, Clark said. The event occurs in September every year worldwide, with students in countries as far away as Hong Kong.
Students’ prayers for protection of soldiers, hurricane victims and courage to stand in front of their peers were nearly eclipsed by the sounds of school buses roaring by and students filing noisily by. Some snickered and smirked at the group. Others stood and watched.
Krystle Andersen, 14, prayed for strength for students to stand in front of their peers even though "kids will laugh" and thanked God for the freedom to express themselves in front of the school.