A group of about 30 students gathered early Wednesday morning in front of Seymour Middle School.
Unlike other weekdays, the youth weren’t there just biding their time, talking and joking with friends while waiting for classes to start.
They gathered instead as part of an annual prayer event.
It began with fellowship and prayer at 7:15 a.m. with about 30 students at the flagpole, a number that grew to nearly 50 before it was over.
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Kathy Beavers, a seventh-grade teacher at the school, said the event called See You at the Pole is a global initiative in which participants pray as a community and for their communities.
Beavers also is one of the sponsors of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which sponsors the student-led event. Eighth-grade teachers Chris Kleber and Ellen Gentry are the other FCA sponsors.
Seymour First Baptist Church praise band members Nathan Parker and Jeremy Myers, who are both pastors, kicked off the morning by playing several praise and worship songs for the gathering that included other staff members, parents and local church youth leaders.
“It’s neat to see who all is interested in worshiping God at the school,” said Madelyn Busby, a seventh-grader and FCA member. “One of the things we can pray about is all of the damage that was done by the hurricanes.”
Sixth-grader Aleiah Findley said she also planned to pray for victims of the recent hurricanes.
Jason Poole, youth leader at Cornerstone Community Church in Seymour, said he thought it was awesome to see all of the kids who got up early to be there, including his daughter, Angel, who regularly attends FCA.
“The vision for this year’s SYATP is ‘Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus,’ so I’m hoping a lot of the kids are trying to figure out how they can do that today,” Poole said. “We need to make this world kind of blurry and make him our focus point.”
Eighth-grader Hayley Harpe is a part of the FCA leadership at the middle school and helps plan some of the activities and prayers for the group.
“I like this event and how we get to invite other people that don’t usually come to FCA,” she said. “The prayer I wrote for today is about friends, and then the others in leadership wrote prayers to read today, too.”
Marlo Cornn, a seventh-grader, attends FCA weekly and enjoys seeing her friends there.
She said she was looking forward to hearing the praise music at this year’s event.
There also were students from the Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center in attendance, including 11-year-old Caden Harriss.
“I come here every week for the FCA meetings, and my parents drop me off, then a bus takes us back over to our school,” Harriss said. “Today, everybody is coming together for this event to fix our eyes on Jesus.”
Allison Williams, youth minister at Reddington Christian Church, said she thought it was cool to watch the kids own their faith and run the event themselves.
Several prayers were given by members of the FCA leadership, including eighth-grader Katie Deppen, who prayed for a safe school environment and for guidance for the teachers and the administration.
Fellow eighth-grader Mary Higdon said a prayer for those in attendance.
“There may be certain people here going through things in their life that many of us can’t even imagine,” Higdon said. “Please be with the people in this prayer circle with hardships.”
More prayers were spoken, and then the event was closed out by one last song from the praise band, followed by doughnuts and juice furnished by St. Ambrose Catholic Church.
Youth leaders from The Point and Seymour Christian Church also were in attendance at the annual event.
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Seymour Middle School eighth-grade Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership wrote prayers for See You at the Pole.
Hiley Obermeyer;Hungry, homeless and sick people
Bailey Engel;Other nations and those without religious freedom
Hayley Harpe;Our friends
Sami Foster;See You at the Pole event and blessed the food
Katie Deppen;School and teachers
Addie Smith;Nation and government
Mary Higdon;People at the See You at the Pole event
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Seymour Middle School’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes meets at 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday in Gym 602 at the school. All middle school students are welcome, including those at the Seymour Middle School Sixth Grade Center.