See You At The Pole

New youth group brings Christian students together, gathers for global event


Madeline Rotarius

While most were still on their way to school, approximately 65 students gathered around the flagpole at 6:45 in the morning as part of See You At The Pole, a day of prayer recognized world wide. “It’s so cool to be able to come together without getting yelled at,” sophomore Anna Hoffman said, “especially in such a public setting with so many different students.” Although Utica High students have always gathered by the pole for the annual event, The Tribe’s advertising and tweeting helped attendance reach an all-time high.

handsStepping out of her car early Wednesday morning, senior Courtney Kola could hear the faint sound of guitars. As she approached the main entrance to the school, voices joined the music, which seemed to be growing louder.

Following the music, Kola was led to the flagpole, where students, staff and community members were gathered in a circle, singing along with worship songs. Spotting a familiar face in the crowd, Kola squeezed in next to her friend, sophomore Anna Hoffman, and asked what was happening.
“Gathering around the pole with everyone made me feel great,” Kola said. “I’m glad Anna called me over and I joined them.”
See You At The Pole is an annual, global event for students to gather before school in prayer, and this year, approximately 65 people met at the flagpole next to the main office.
“A pastor that I know used to go to Utica,” senior Jared Olewski said. “Back when he attended See You At The Pole, only four people participated.”

With these large numbers, this year’s event was the best turn out Utica has seen. Worship leaders from Shepherd’s Gate Lutheran Church volunteered to play guitar and sing with participants.
“When the guys were playing their guitars and singing songs of worship, everyone joined in,” senior Pauline Mansour said. “It was a really good way to start off the day.”
Many credit Utica’s new Christian youth group, The Tribe, for the successful turnout. The group, led by seniors Olewski, Lizzie Wilson, Kyle Teller and Saeed Habeb, meets every week to plan fun outings with like-minded peers, such as a Haunted House night.
“The haunted house was really sweet and scary,” senior Erin Claeys said. “I’m glad some people actually came to hang out and have a fun time.”
The Tribe also plans service events. In addition to running game nights at nearby Shelby Villa Retirement Home, the youth group is planning one-time events, such as a Rake and Run, where they anonymously rake and bag leaves for those who may not be able to do it themselves.