Hundreds of students will make the trek to school 20, 30 or 40 minutes early Wednesday to make sure their day starts how they want it to.
Dozens of students at nearly every school district in Johnson County will go to their school’s flag pole, grab each other’s hands and bow their head in prayer.
In the minutes before they start their school day, they will pray for themselves, their friends, their school, their community, their leaders and the world.
Story continues below gallery
For more than a decade, local schools have been participating in See You at the Pole, which is a national movement to get students praying at their school. The 25-year-old event will have local students join students from all across the nation in prayer.
The appeal is to get students thinking about the bigger picture in their lives by praying for things bigger than themselves, organizers said.
“It is just time we can spend together, lifting each other up. It just makes you feel closer to the community and closer to God,” said Jennifer Wilson, a parent who helped organize Union Elementary School’s event.
Local schools at every level are participating. Elementary school students will be praying at the same time as high school students. Middle school students will be praying too.
High school events are mostly planned by chapters of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Teachers and parents step up and help students at lower levels plan their event.
Organizing the event means letting their peers know that they are planning on meeting at the flag pole before school to worship. Some schools plan larger worship events, where students recruit musicians to play and sing Christian songs, pick their favorite Bible verses to be read and share donuts.
They print flyers and tell their friends that on the fourth Wednesday of September, they will be found at the flag pole, praying.
“I feel strongly about the importance of prayer and that it does things,” said Amanda Ray, a fifth grade teacher at Custer Baker Intermediate School.
Part of why teachers and parents work with students year after year on the event is that they see the positive influence on the students’ lives.
Students are specifically praying for their community and country as a whole, which also helps create awareness of those things.
“They have a feeling that they are a part of something bigger,” said Ray.
And meeting at the flag pole is significant to get students thinking about their country and how communities in the country need prayer, said Taylor Alexander, a junior at Franklin Community High School.
Having the ability to share with the world and their school that they are Christians is a large draw to event for some students, said Lily Tarvin, a sophomore at Franklin Community High School.
God and religion can get lost in the day-to-day of high school. See You at the Pole helps snap students back to God, Tarvin said.
“Being able to pray in school and being a Christian in school is important,” she said.