More students gather for prayer during See You at the Pole
BY BILL SHERMAN World Religion Writer
Thursday, September 27, 2012
9/27/12 at 8:28 AM
A double rainbow added color to the sky over Edison Preparatory School on Wednesday morning as about 60 students and a handful of teachers gathered for the annual See You at the Pole prayer initiative.
"This is incredible. Last year we had a much smaller turnout," said Aubree Jones, a junior and president of Eagles for Christ, Edison's only Christian club, who led the event.
Similar student-organized events were held at Edison, Jenks Southeast Elementary School and other schools across the city and country.
At Edison, students sang worship songs and broke off into small groups for prayer, some of them sitting on the sidewalk in tight circles holding hands, others standing. They prayed for the city of Tulsa, for other schools and for their own school and teachers.
In an interview before the event, Jones said See You at the Pole is important because every school needs prayer.
"Especially schools like Jenks that are going through really hard times right now," she said, referring to three Jenks students who died of unrelated causes this month. "There are always people at school that need help. If we can help people through our prayer, then that's what we're here to do."
Asked if it is hard to be a Christian in high school, Jones said: "I don't think so because I believe my faith and I live it out. If you truly believe in it, then it's easy to not rely on other people's opinions."
Seventh-grader Kaleb Green said he attended See You at the Pole to drum up support for a Christian club he hopes to start at Edison Middle School, which shares a building with the high school.
David Slatton, Edison's athletic director, said: "I think our society is suffering moral decline. ... It does me good to see our young people here in prayer for our schools."
Jacob Bice, the associate pastor at Memorial Baptist Church, who had some church members at the event, said more students were at the Edison rally this year than he has seen in the several years he has attended.
Matt McClure, a minister to students at First Baptist Church downtown, said the rallies are an opportunity for students to not think about themselves but to pray for their schools, their friends and the government.
"This is important for them," he said. "It's the only time there is a national effort for them to meet."
It makes them feel that they are part of something bigger, he said.
McClure said it has never been easy to be Christian in high school or to be an adolescent, but "it's harder today than it's ever been. ... It's the accepted practice to leave your religion at home when you go to public school. It's easier to just be quiet."
In addition to the morning prayer rallies at many local schools, several churches hosted citywide Wednesday evening youth events with prayer, music and worship.
See You at the Pole started in 1990 with one school in Texas. Organizers say it now draws about 3 million students all over the United States and in 20 other nations.
Original Print Headline: Students gather for See You at the Pole
Bill Sherman 918-581-8398
Students at Jenks Southeast Elementary School say the Pledge of Allegiance during the See You at the Pole event at the school on Wednesday. The event is part of the national annual student-led prayer gathering. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Fourth-grader Andrei Salay, 11, reads a Bible verse and prayer during the See You at the Pole event Wednesday at Jenks Southeast Elementary School. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World