See You at the Pole Event Offers Students a Chance to Pray
Students across the U.S. and other nations gather every third Wednesday of September at the flagpole of their school, as part of the annual See You at the Pole event, to pray for their classmates, school and country.
See You at the Pole is an event that has been around for 21 years and every year the crowds vary from one student to hundreds of students.
It originated in Texas when a small group of teenagers gathered on a Saturday night and visited three different schools. They had no idea what exactly they were going to do.
They arrived at the school flagpoles and began praying for their friends, schools, country and leaders. Little did they know it would grow to be an official day one year later in the U.S. and continue to gain national recognition 20 years later.
Over the years this event has grown and every year, according to syatp.com, more than 3 million students participate worldwide.
This year 10 students, from both East and West, participated in the annual event by meeting at East Leyden’s flagpole.
According to the First Amendment students have the right to pray. In 2000 a court in Santa Fe, Texas found that public schools cannot prevent students from praying. “Nothing in the Constitution, as interpreted by this Court, prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school day,” Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 313 (2000).
This law is protected all over the U.S., including East Leyden High School. Students cannot be discriminated against for praying before school.
On Wednesday, September 26th, at 7:30 a.m. ten students prayed for their classmates, teachers and country with the desire for things to get better and not have so much violence in the schools.
Principal Markey was aware that students were participating in See You at the Pole and was also supportive of the students.
He added that, ¨the idea that it is a student led event, I think it is great any time students take the initiative, especially for something positive they believe strongly.¨
To these students, God is the one they depend on. They believe there is someone out there that can help.
This is not the case for everyone at East and West. There are many who don’t believe in God, some that are confused, and others who are stuck somewhere in the middle.
“I don’t believe there is a God because I never felt like there was anyone out there because if there was, the world wouldn’t be so violent. If God was as strong as He says He is in the book (Bible) we wouldn’t have as many problems,¨ an anonymous student said.
Some students, like senior Nicole Muench, respect what these students are doing. Even though she doesn’t ¨believe in a legit God.” She thinks it’s a good thing what these students are doing though.
¨Our school does need a better environment, and if there is a God and He does help these people out and it gets better than what it has been the past 2-3 years, then they’re making good choices,¨ Muench said.
Students at Leyden have different opinions and different religions, but everyone should respect each others’ ideas.
Senior Jeremy Mercado agreed and added that ¨all religions should have a voice in this school, but I really believe that all people should come together so we can learn about everyone else’s opinions regarding what you think of whose God is correct or whose God truly is God.¨
Although teacher and staff can not take part in this event Mr. Aguilar, a security guard at East, said that outside of work and his job at East Leyden he thought, ¨that it was an awesome event. It’s great when people can get together and pray without being worried about being prosecuted or bothered. I think we should have the right, especially in our beautiful country, to have the right to express ourselves religiously without trying to change anybody’s mind.¨
To those who don’t agree with the event or her belief in God, freshman Priscilla Mercado would like students to know that she still “loves them!¨ Mercado and the other 9 students would be happy to spend some time with anyone who has questions and listen to what others believe.
I think it is amazing how even though different views are mentioned many respect each others’ beliefs. This is a student led event and no one is forced to participate, but if you are interested and want to know more you can ask Mr. Dominic Manola and he can direct you to some of these students who are working on getting a group together to meet once a week.