SHERMAN - Neither rain nor sleet nor hail kept Sherman Central School students from gathering at 7 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 26 to pray for their school, its staff, the students and their country.
Since it was raining, approximately 50 students gathered around the Sherman Wildcat's circle in the center of the gym instead of at the flagpole outside. A few parents and the new school principal, Michael Ginestre, also attended.
Kevin Gleason spoke to his fellow students giving them instructions as to their time together and spoke briefly as to their purpose in praying on that special day. Many of them prayed verbally for the school staff, teachers, students and the administrators. They also prayed for the Clymer Central School administration, teachers, staff, students, village and the family of their school's superintendent who was recently murdered. Then the students gathered in separate groups to continue praying.
Photo by Elaine G. Cole
Sherman Central School junior and senior high students join in a circle to pray during See You at the Pole on Wednesday, Sept. 26.
Following the prayer time, the students gathered in the foyer to enjoy doughnuts and hot cocoa before going to their classrooms.
See You at the Pole, or SYATP, is a completely student led event in which students meet at their school's flagpole before school on the fourth Wednesday of every September to pray for their school, the students, teacher, government and the nation. It's important to note it is not a demonstration or a political rally. It is not trying to make a statement for or against any particular thing, but is just a chance for students to get together to pray.
See You at the Pole was started in 1990 by some teens in Burleson, Texas. One Saturday night they felt compared to pray, and so they went to three different schools and prayed at each school's flagpole. Then a challenge was issued to students throughout Texas to meet at their flagpoles and pray simultaneously. So at 7 a.m. on Sept. 12, 1990 over 45,000 students met at their flagpoles to pray before school.
The concept grew from there. Word spread quickly across the U.S., and youth ministers reported students outside of Texas had heard about the event and were feeling the same burden for their schools as those Texas students had.
On Sept. 11, 1991, the students got their day of prayer, as over one million students from around the country gathered around their flagpoles at 7 a.m. to pray. Today that number has grown to 3 million students in the U.S., and there are also students in 20 other countries who participate in the event.
See You at the Pole is not a formal event. It is more of a prayer gathering. Most students meet at the flagpole at 7 a.m. However, some schools meet earlier because classes at their school start earlier. When the event takes place, students make a circle and join hands in prayer. Some people pray out loud while other students sing songs. Still others read from the Bible. It is truly an event that allows God to work in the hearts of students, prompting His word to be spoken at the flagpole.
If a student wants to organize a SYATP event at their school, they may visit the See You at the Pole website, www.syatp.com. It gives advice on promotion and planning the event in ones school. It also gives resources available on the Internet.
It is recommended one let their school administration know they are going to organize a SYATP and the event is legal. Should one be concerned about holding such an event, they can find out the legality of having prayer in school or on its grounds on the web under religious rights on campuses.