Herald JournalHerald Journal, Sept. 26, 2005

HLWW, LP students join in national prayer day

By Liz Hellmann and Ryan Gueningsman

Public school students from Howard-Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School and Lester Prairie Schools participated in a national day of prayer, known as “See You at the Pole” Wednesday morning, before school.

“‘See you at the pole’ is designed to be a day students pray for our nation, school, and friends,” said Zach Godel, who is a 2005 graduate of Lester Prairie Schools and came back from college to participate in the event. “Obviously, it’s something we can’t do in the classrooms, but it’s a way for Christians, and even those who just want to be there for something, to express their ideas.”

The national event began in 1990 with 10 students and has grown to include millions around the world.

Every year on a set day, early in the school year, students gather around the flagpole at their school to pray.

“Basically it’s a time to pray for our nation and come together,” Godel said.

The event is organized and publicized by students. Because it is not organized by the schools, no one is sure how long it has been going on at HLWW and Lester Prairie.

Mike Entinger, a senior at HLWW, estimated the event has been taking place for at least five years.

This year, about 60 people gathered in the front of HLWW, which was a big difference from last year.

“Last year, it was raining and we ended up standing under the awning,” Entinger said. “We started with about five people, and ended with nine.”

Youth Pastor Scott Yates from Howard Lake Christian Church and Karen Egeberg from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake came to support the students.

Young children, high school students, and adults all joined hands to form a big circle, taking turns to pray out loud.

“It was fabulous,” Egeberg said. “I started to cry as more and more people came.”

Prayers at both the schools focused on asking God to bless the school, teachers, and the nation, and thanking God for His blessings.

Lester Prairie Schools eighth grader Josie Bull said she felt the observance was “a public statement of a united nation.”

See You at the Pole was publicized in the schools by students hanging posters and using word-of-mouth.

The focal point of the day was to unite with all students, everywhere, not only the students who were present at each school.

“We weren’t the only ones doing this,” said Kate Bergquist, who is a 2004 graduate of Lester Prairie Schools and also came back for the observance. “It’s a nationwide thing – that’s a strong feeling.”

Entinger felt the day was necessary – a way to do something positive.

“Our school needs a lot of prayer,” Entinger said. “It seems there is a lot of complaining, but people don’t do anything about it.”

At the end of the prayer session, Yates and Egeberg gave the children See-You-at-the-Pole T-shirts and CDs by tossing them into the crowd for the students to grab.

Egeberg hopes this year’s event will help establish a firm tradition in the future.

“It was so cool to see so many younger kids. Maybe that will mean they will continue to do this year after year,” Egeberg said.

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