LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - Thousands of students in southeastern Kentucky joined millions more nationwide Wednesday morning in circling around their schools' flag poles to celebrate their Christian faith.
The appropriately-named "See You At The Pole" events are held annually on the fourth Wednesday in September. What makes them so unique is that the rallies are led entirely by students.
Some come to visit with their fellow Christians. Others to pray. And some show up just to see what "See You At The Pole" is all about.
"You can teach kids more about Christ that they don't get in their churches," Laurel County Middle School eighth grader Madison Roark said. "Because it's kids preaching, so they will understand it more."
And it's a way for students of faith to reinforce their bonds with each other.
"It's a great opportunity for those who are in a life crisis or aren't close enough to Christ," said Cara Hibbard, a seventh grader. They can get closer to Him."
But make no mistake, the top priority of "See You At The Pole" is to evangelize.
"I'd really like to spread the word about God," said Connor Burns, a student at LCMS. "He's the Creator of Earth and does all things for us."
Saylor Harrsma, another student, said, "I'm here today just to show people what God is all about."
"See You At The Pole Rallies" have been around since 1990, before any of the students at SLMS were even born.
"I just want to show the light to others," seventh grader Christian Helton said. "That even if you don't have Christ or you don't go to church, you can always come here."
Tessa Manning, a seventh grader, said, "There's a lot of people in this world that don't know God and our school is just trying to get them to follow God. That's why I participate in it."
Many southeastern Kentucky students who participated are members of the Christian outreach group "First Priority." The group's supervisor, Tim Bargo, estimated there were 2,500 students at SYATP rallies at 30 schools in the tri-state area.
Here are some comments from other students at SLMS:
Katie Gaines:"The more followers God has, the better place it will be at school and at home and just everywhere."
Hannah Gay: "Today is important because many schools around the nation have come together to pray around the pole and I think it's just really important because God is important in everybody's lives."
Parker Ebertshauser: "It kinda gets everybody who doesn't know the Lord to come out and get to know Him because they don't know, this could be their last five minutes on Earth."
Tori Sizemore: "We need to start spreading the Word more and try to make a bigger impact on kids."
Megan Ford: "It means getting to come together with our friends and worship the Lord because you're with your friends seven hours a day and want them to be followers of Christ."
Hannah Sears: "I'm out here so we can show that it's cool for kids to be able to know God and that you don't have to be shy about it."