Students' faith drives events
by Mark Andrews
Sep 27, 2012 | 1759 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
See You at the Pole
More than 250 Cartersville Middle School students arrived at school early Wednesday to join in prayer during the annual See You at the Pole event. MARK ANDREWS/The Daily Tribune News
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Thousands of students across Bartow County joined with students across the nation Wednesday during the annual See You at the Pole, a student-led prayer event held before school hours near the flag pole at participating schools.

According to the See You at the Pole website, www.syatp.com, “Within the first few years, the movement began to spread to other nations through missionaries from the U.S. Now each year, more than 3 million students from all of the world participate in See You at the Pole. Students in more than 20 countries take part. In places like Canada, Korea, Japan, Turkey and the Ivory Coast, students are responding to God and taking seriously the challenge to pray.”

The event is sponsored by Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Gary Lovingood, choir instructor and FCA huddle coach at Cartersville Middle School, said student groups like FCA and events like See You at the Pole provide various opportunities to students who wish to participate.

“[FCA and See You at the Pole] gives an opportunity for students who participate in religion within the community to have that fellowship at the school as well and come together as all denominations and even different religions,” Lovingood said. “We’ve had a variety of religions come to FCA in the mornings ... and it gives them time to come together and hear a positive message about God and have fellowship with each other.”

Asked about media reports nationwide regarding the debate between what is considered unconstitutional religious practices in schools, Lovingood said he remains positive about the goals of religious student groups and activities.

“This is a unique community. The different school systems I’ve taught in Tennessee and Georgia, I think this one is unique because not only does one denomination stand together, but several denominations and churches stand together in our community and support prayer in our schools, support FCA and support prayer at football games,” Lovingood said. “There may be a day when that’s challenged and that’s a possibility because that’s our world today, but I don’t think you’ll ever take prayer away, you just might take it away from the audible voice.”

Lovingood said it’s important to remember the schools themselves are not sponsoring FCA and See You at the Pole.

“The nice thing about FCA is it’s student-led rather than teacher-led and that keeps a teacher from influencing a student,” Lovingood said. “It’s kids influencing kids.”

To celebrate the success of See You at the Pole, students met at The Church at Liberty Square Wednesday night for more fellowship, music and to raise food products for the BackPack Buddies weekend feeding program in Cartersville and Bartow school systems.

CMS eighth grader Matthew Greene spoke about Proverbs 3:1 through 8 during the morning event.

“[The scripture] is saying trust in the Lord with all your heart and make sure you keep on the path of God and not fall to the world,” Greene said.

He said he appreciates the outpour of students involved. More than 250 students attended the event at CMS.

“I think it’s very important because I think it’s good to be praying in groups because it gives more prayer power, to me personally,” Greene said. “It really helps me personally ... because seeing all these people here really touches me, to be honest.”