2011-10-05 / Front Page


Morning prayer becomes ritual at Burke County High
By Anne Marie Kyzer annemariek@thetruecitizen.com

Students across the county gathered in front of their schools for prayer before the morning bell last Wednesday.

Just like others nationwide, they observed See You at the Pole, an annual event that brings students together for prayer.

At public and private schools across town, students and teachers traded turns lifting up prayers for their schools, classmates and community. At Edmund Burke Academy, they incorporated scripture and two students strummed their guitars for a hymn.

But the sight of students bowing their heads on Burke County High School’s front lawn last Wednesday wasn’t a whole lot different than it had been on many other mornings this school year.

Since the school year began, classmates have been gathering for prayer before school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, thanks to the leadership of three friends who had strong faith in common.

Over the summer, marching band drum major Nakia Williams shared with fellow band member JaLeah Jordan and Bears running back Orlando “Dre” Howard his hope for organizing morning prayers to affect change in their school. After principal Sam Adkins gave them his wholehearted support, the three spread the word on facebook and watched in awe the first week of school.

Students gather on the front lawn of Burke County High School for morning prayer. Students gather on the front lawn of Burke County High School for morning prayer. “The first day, we had fiftysix,” Williams said, his eyes shining. “And that Friday, I’ll never forget, we had seventythree.”

Initially, students would take turns praying, mostly for their school, their safety and that of their classmates, their teachers and their administrators, but then wanted more for their morning.

“We started out with a prayer for everybody to receive a quality education, but most importantly, to be covered under the blood of Jesus,” Williams explained.

“Now we do a full devotional and a song. We felt like it was pointless without a scripture.”

And just as they had hoped, Williams said they have watched their prayers being answered.

“We’ve seen our test scores rising and better grades, and I believe overall everyone just has a more positive attitude,” he said.

Adkins agreed and said he’s touched to see students place such an emphasis on the power of prayer.

“Our student body believes they can be successful and this is another way they are building that capacity,” he said. “Our school is really changing and it’s exciting to watch.”

As for Williams, he’s mostly excited to see so many of his classmates exercise their faith, opening their hearts and their school to Christ.

“You can always take the prayer out of schools but not out of the students,” he said. “And like the Bible says, where two or three are gathered, He will be in the midst of them.”

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