Local students from Miami Springs area schools have been participating for years in the globally recognized event, See You at the Pole. The event involves Christian students gathering in a student-led and student-initiated event with a common purpose: to pray and takes place every fourth Wednesday of September.
On Sept. 25 close to 100 students from Miami Springs gathered at the flagpole at their respective area schools. With administrators standing close by, approximately 70 students showed up at Miami Springs Senior High School. Miami Springs Middle School had 10 students, Doral Academy Middle Charter School had 13 students, and even Miami Springs Elementary School had three students who chose to stand together and pray before school began.
Miami Springs resident Oscar Soto, now a college student, has participated in See You at the Pole every year beginning with his eighth-grade year at Miami Springs Middle School. “Kids usually pray for their school, the administration, their city and country and really whatever is on their hearts,” said Soto. “It is a great experience. It really helps students to step out of their comfort zone. Holding hands around the flagpole with other believers and standing up for what you believe in is very powerful.”
See You at the Pole began in 1990 with a small group of teenagers in Texas who were compelled to pray for their friends and their schools. They drove to three different schools one night, gathered around the school flagpoles and prayed for their friends, schools and leaders. No one could ever imagine what began with the small group of teens in Texas, would grow into more than 3 million students from all around the world participating simultaneously.
Bible clubs, weekly prayer meetings, and other ministries have begun on campuses where students participated in See You at the Pole. Both Miami Springs Senior High School and Miami Springs Middle School have a club for Christian students called the F.I.G.H.T. Club. F.I.G.H.T. is the acronym for faith in God holds true.
While See You at the Pole is a student-led and student-initiated event, students find support from their church youth leaders, club sponsors, and their families. Every year during SYATP, you’ll find local youth leaders and other supporters standing across the street from the schools. They stand to show support and encouragement to the students, but respectfully stay off the school property.
“See You at the Pole is a great visual for the students that they are not in it alone,” said Pepe Mesa, director of Miami Springs Campus Life. “We encourage all of the kids to go out and to lift it up to God. God is interested in them. He’s interested in their friends and in their campus.”
“It is exciting to see the student leaders step up and take such an active role in the event,” said Louise Jagessar, youth leader of LinC Student Ministry at Poinciana United Methodist Church. “Over the years I have had the privilege of watching students gather together as one group, regardless of their specific denomination, with the sole purpose of worshipping God through prayer. The students are encouraged by each other, and gathering together in prayer helps them to know they can count on each other to pray for each other, not just that one day but throughout the year.
“One year there were almost 100 students gathering at the school flagpole,” remembers Jagessar. “On the other hand, I can remember watching one lone student have the faith and courage to stand at her school’s flagpole and pray by herself. When I asked her later that evening how it felt to stand alone, she said she didn’t feel like she was alone because she felt Jesus standing with her.”
According to student’s constitutional rights upheld by Supreme Court precedent, students have permission because it is student-led, before school hours, and outside of any school building. It does not cost the district anything financially for students to meet and pray, so they aren’t establishing religion with tax money. While there is no requirement to ask the administration or school board’s permission to meet, students are encouraged to inform the administration about it in advance.
After the students of MSSH finished their prayer and had a few doughnuts, Debra Davis of Miami Springs Senior School ushered the kids to class when the bell rang. “You can do this every day if you want to,” said Davis. “Just don’t be late to class.”