By Regina Sears

On Wednesday, September 23, ICSU participated in the annual worldwide prayer rally, also known as See You At The Pole™ or SYATP. Unlike previous years where students gathered in prayer groups around the neighborhood, students resorted to staying inside the school building due to COVID-19. 

Mr. Forster Praying During SYATP

The virus posed new challenges to the students hosting the event; however, they took on the issues by designing effective solutions to lead the school in prayer. National Honor Society President Steven Park (12), who was in charge of hosting SYATP at ICSU, expressed the hardships he and his team faced. 

When asked about how different SYATP was, Steven replied, “It was a twist– we did SYATP inside. We also did our presentations on Google Slides, instead of paper-posters like every year before. SYATP is a tradition here at ICSU, so we try to keep it as similar every year.” Apart from the differences, Steven Park remarks, “But, doing our presentations online helped students– it was easier to organize, bigger screens for students to actually look at the information, and much more. I feel like this year’s SYATP was an absolute success.”

Changes were not only visible to the NHS members, but also to students. Lucy Bae (10), who participated in last year’s and this year’s SYATP compares the two in retrospect. “I liked last year’s SYATP because we got to go out during school and walk around outside– it was so refreshing!”, Lucy said. She adds, “This year, we unfortunately had to stay inside, but it actually was more comfortable– the station leaders moved around instead of students moving around different stations like last year.” Although SYATP didn’t bring the refreshing, outside walk students could take before, it still was an enjoyable experience. 

NHS President Steven Park Prays for His SYATP Topic

Apart from COVID and the restrictions it presented to people all over the world, the main purpose of SYATP has not changed. “The main purpose of SYATP is to provide an opportunity and platform for students to pray together concerning their personal needs and world events.”, the school chaplain Mr. Padgett explains. 

When asked why ICSU is hosting SYATP, Mr. Padgett replied, “SYATP is a student-initiated, student-organized, and student-led event. It allows student leaders and students to provide an opportunity to participate in this global movement. We are not just praying together here at ICS but we are joining our voices and prayer requests with hundreds of thousands of other students in dozens of nations.”

Despite the concerns with COVID, SYATP was successfully hosted by ICSU’s NHS members and marked the start of a new school year on-campus through the power of prayer.