See you at the Pole offers students opportunity to express their faith

Students+gather+at+the+base+of+the+flagpole+to+pray+together+on+National+See+You+at+The+Pole+Day.+%28Kennedy+Stidham+photo%29

Students gather at the base of the flagpole to pray together on National See You at The Pole Day. (Kennedy Stidham photo)

Students gather at the base of the flagpole to pray together on National See You at The Pole Day. (Kennedy Stidham photo)

It’s early Wednesday morning. Students gather around the flagpole, laughing and engaging in small talk. But as the students take each others’ hands, the mood becomes solemn. A student leads the first prayer, and “See You at the Pole” Day begins.

“See You at the Pole” Day is an annual event that occurs around the world on the third Wednesday of September. Christian students gather around their school’s flag pole to worship and pray in unity.

“This event gives students a chance to learn about the other Christians at their school,” Greg Bowman, youth pastor at First Baptist Church in Duncanville, said. “It also gives them a chance to pray together and encourage one another.”

Bowman said the idea arose in 1990 with the Crestmont Baptist Church in Burleson, Texas while the church’s members were at a youth retreat.

“One of the groups decided that they wanted to pray for their school,” Bowman said. “They decided to pray in front of the school near the flagpole. Later that year, word got out to other churches in Texas and it became more organized. Someone came up with the phrase “see you at the pole” and it stuck. Now, it is a worldwide event.”

Bowman said meeting at the flagpole is significant because it allows students to display their faith.

“The flagpole is a rallying point – representing our country, the school, and the education system,” Bowman said. “It’s a public place where people can see the students praying for their school. It’s not supposed to be a political rally of any kind or make a political statement. It’s just about students displaying they care enough for their fellow students to pray for them.”

Frank Alegria, senior pastor at First United Methodist Church in Duncanville, said he believes that students leading the worship makes it a more effective experience.

“When it is entirely student led, it has a greater potential to be longer lasting,” Alegria said. “It becomes a grass roots movement, and history will tell us that any time there is a grass roots movement, it takes empowerment, ownership, and a greater direction.”

Kate Wynn, junior, said that the time of worship allows her to form a stronger bond with her peers.

“It’s really cool being able to pray with other students,” Wynn said. “We experience unity, and that is an amazing feeling. I think see you at the pole is a blessing. I know it is for me.”

Bowman said the time of worship makes a difference for the students and their school.

“Prayer is good for the school,” Bowman said. “I believe that God answers prayer and works through his people praying, and His presence grows in the school as students show they care about their school enough to ask Him to make a difference.”

Alegria said he hopes that the event will see growth.

“Holding See You at the Pole one time a year is a good beginning,“ Alegria said. “But I also feel that once is not enough. Students should be praying for each other throughout the year. Today’s students are faced with a lot of stress and problems. Now more than ever do they need prayer.”