WAGONER — Crisp wind snapping at bare necks and ears was no match for the chain of believers circled under the flag of freedom.

“They tried to take prayer out of school, but they can’t,” Peggy Bruce said. “Just look at us.”

At first glance the glassy eyes of Bruce, a Wagoner citizen, looked like a result of the early morning bitter cold, but it was the warmth of hands gripped in hers that caused tears.

“I think it’s so awesome these kids have faithfully continued to show the community that God can make a difference,” Bruce said.

An event that most schools participate in, See You At The Pole, is usually organized by a school staff member for students to gather together and pray around the flagpole once a year.

The difference between that event and what Wagoner High School is doing is the students have taken it upon themselves to meet at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday to pray.

“We know there is a need in schools for this, and we should set the example,” said 18-year-old senior Daniel Parent. “There are people lost and dying spiritually in the world, and there is help.”

Jeremy Hinson, 18, said he feels when he is gathered with the other students, their interlocked hands provide a barrier from evil.

“I really think that if we are around each other the devil can’t attack us,” Hinson said.

Joyce Newby is another Wagoner citizen who chooses to rise early and gather with the students to pray.

“It is so important to see boys and girls stand up for what they believe in, and all the blessings they portray,” Newby said. “These days are tough, and we need to pray for the boys’ and girls’ safety. It is such a good feeling, and it makes my day to come out here.”

Britney Hopper, 16, said she feels like the group is an extended part of her church family.

“I love it and it helps me so much,” she said.

Jamie Sivak, 22, is another community member who comes to support the students on most Thursdays.

“I have to work in Tulsa,” Sivak said. “I try to come every Thursday.”

Kevin Garcia, 17, said he would like to see the circle of friends eventually expand to around the school building.

“This really helps people. It creates a huge impact for our school,” he said. “I would love for the prayer circle to stretch around the whole building.”

If you go

WHAT: See You At The Pole.

WHEN: 7:30 a.m. Thursdays.

WHERE: Wagoner High School, 300 Bulldog Circle, Wagoner.

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